Landlord and Tenant Solicitors
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, although a well-drafted tenancy agreement can reduce the risk of disputes and make it easier for you to deal with any problem tenants. We can prepare tenancy agreements and advise on all current Regulations.
Assured shorthold tenancies
Most residential tenancies are assured shorthold tenancy agreements for a fixed, 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. There must be a valid Gas Safety Certificate for any gas appliances in the property and the certificate must be renewed annually. There must also be a valid Electrical Safety Certificate for the electrical appliances in the property and these are renewable every 5 years. 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 first serving an appropriate Notice and then obtaining a court order. You could face a substantial compensation claim for unlawful eviction or even criminal prosecution.
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:
- 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, smoking or playing loud music?
- What are your duties as landlord to make repairs?
- What are your rights as landlord to enter the property?
- Whether the tenant can run any kind of home business from the property (which can have implications for the landlord's mortgage and insurance and may breach local planning laws)?
- 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?
- 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. The EPC must have a minimum rating of E.
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 and what to do if the property you want to rent out is mortgaged.