Landlord & Tenant

Renting out your property may seem like an easy source of income but if you have problem tenants, it can quickly become a drain on your time and resources.

We deal with all areas of Landlord and Tenant law and our Dispute Resolution solicitors are skilled in evicting tenants from residential properties, but a well-drafted tenancy agreement can reduce the risk of disputes and make it easier for you to deal with any problem tenants.

Assured shorthold tenancies

Most people who rent from private landlords are assured shorthold tenants. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are for a fixed period, typically 6 months. It is fairly easy to evict assured shorthold tenants after the fixed period has expired.

By law, the landlord is responsible for maintaining and repairing the structure and exterior and the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation. You must have a valid Gas Safety Certificate for any gas appliances in the property. Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.

The tenant is usually responsible for looking after the interior, keeping it clean and tidy and not causing any damage.

Although assured shorthold tenants have little protection against eviction, the notice requirements and procedures can be tricky and mistakes can be costly. For further information, please see our section on evicting tenants from residential properties.

You should not try to evict tenants without getting a court order. You could face a substantial compensation claim for unlawful eviction or even criminal prosecution.

Assured tenancies

Assured tenancies are used mostly by housing associations and registered social landlords.  They generally give tenants greater rights to stay on at the end of the agreed tenancy period and greater protection against eviction.

Drawing up the tenancy agreement

We will cover the following issues with you:

  • Length and type of tenancy
  • What type of tenancy do you want?
  • What notice will you or your tenant need to give to end the tenancy?
  • How long will the tenancy last?
  • Is the property furnished?
  • What restrictions do you want about keeping pets or playing loud music?

Rent

  • How much rent can you charge? When can you increase the rent?
  • When must the tenant pay and what penalties are there for paying late?  
  • Are Council Tax and utility bills included in the rent?

Deposits

  • All deposits must be held in an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These schemes are designed to make it easier to resolve disputes.
  • You must tell the tenant in writing which scheme the deposit is being held in within 14 days of receiving their deposit. If you do not do this, you can be taken to court and fined.
  • In addition, you will not be able to evict your tenants using the usual Section 21 Notice procedure unless the deposit has been protected (please see our section on Evicting Tenants for further information).

Service charges and repairs

  • Will you provide any services such as laundry or maintenance?
  • Will you be making separate service charges for these?
  • What are your duties to make repairs?
  • What are your rights to enter the property?

Energy Performance Certificates

Landlords must provide tenants with an energy performance certificate (EPC). This contains a rating for the energy performance of the property and recommendations for improving it.

Evicting tenants

If you already have tenants and want them to leave, our Dispute Resolution specialists can:

  • handle the technical notices requiring your tenants to leave and
  • if necessary, issue court proceedings to evict your tenants

You should not try to evict tenants without getting a court order known as a Possession Order. You could face a substantial compensation claim for unlawful eviction or even criminal prosecution. For further information, please see our section on Evicting Tenants.

We can also give you advice on some of the broader issues involved in being a landlord such as tax liability and what to do if the property you want to rent out is mortgaged.