Landlords of rented residential property range from individuals with a single buy-to-let investment property to professional landlords with huge portfolios of properties. Managing agents are also heavily involved in the letting of residential properties. Whichever of these you are, we can advise you in this area.
Most residential properties are let on Assured Shorthold Tenancies under the Housing Act 1988 (the Act). Under the Act, tenants have statutory protection which means that landlords can only lawfully evict them and gain possession of their property in certain circumstances, and by going through the due legal process.
Tenancy issues are many and varied, but the most common one we come across is non-payment of rent. We can advise on the process for serving a notice seeking possession on the grounds of rent arrears (Section 8 Notice) and prepare and serve the notice. We can also advise on the alternative process (Section 21 Notice) and discuss with you which is more suitable in the circumstances, including the costs and timescales involved and the risks of each procedure. We can draft and serve the Section 21 Notice. We will advise you what steps must be taken so that the notice is valid, and will ensure that it is correctly served and you can rely on it if court proceedings are needed.
If the tenant does not give up possession by the expiry of Section 8 or Section 21 Notice, the next step is for the landlord to issue court possession proceedings. Whichever procedure you are using (Section 8 or Section 21) we will prepare the claim for you, and advise you step by step up to and including the possession hearing, at which the possession order will be made if your claim is successful.
When you have your possession order from the court, unfortunately, that is often not the end of the process. If the tenant does not give up possession when ordered by the court to do so you are not entitled to evict them without a Warrant of Possession. We will apply for the warrant for you. Bailiffs will then attend on the assigned eviction date together with your locksmith to change the locks, and evict the tenant.
We can also advise on other tenancy issues such as those relating to the condition of the property and anti-social behaviour. Most deposit disputes are best resolved via the deposit scheme’s own dispute resolution procedure.
We can also draft Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements, and give advice about the legal obligations landlords should comply with at the start of the tenancy such as the provision of the How to Rent booklet, a gas certificate, EPC and the protection of tenancy deposits.