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Landlord and Tenant Law

Owning and renting a second property can be a great way of getting a second income and for some; it is an opportunity to become their own boss. With the advent of televisions shows such as Homes Under the Hammer and Location Location Location it is becoming ever more popular but more often than not, these shows fail to go into the detail as to your obligations, rights and what to do when it all goes wrong.

At Edward Hands and Lewis we have over 100 years experience helping Landlords across the UK.

Evicting Tenants

For the majority of your time as a landlord you are likely to have good tenants who pay on time; especially if you have vetted your tenants thoroughly (please click here for details of our vetting services). Unfortunately, at some point in your time as a landlord you are likely to experience tenants that do not pay on time or at all, there will also be tenants who breach the terms of the tenancy agreement and cause untold damage to your property.

Find out more about the legal grounds and processes involved with eviction in our free guide here.

Download our guide on Grounds for Possession.

 

For more information please contact a member of our litigation team today.

Your Obligations

As the landlord you have certain obligations to your tenants, your main obligations are often found in the tenancy agreement but there are several statutory requirements that you have to comply with, the most common example of this is the repair obligations.

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places an obligation on the landlord to:

– repair and maintain the structure and exterior of the property including the guttering, drains and external pipes;

– to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity;

– to keep in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water.

The above places an obligation on the landlord to ensure that the gas and electrics are safe to use, these should be tested each year and the landlord should keep records of all copies of the Landlord’s Gas/Electrical Safety Certificates.

The landlord is not required to repair and maintain items that the tenant is responsible for, the tenant’s possessions or items that the tenant has damaged. If the tenant damages something owing to the breach of his duty to act in a tenant like manner the landlord is not required to repair the same.

Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies that the premises are fit for human inhabitation.

It is common to find obligations in the tenancy agreement that require the tenant to keep the property clean, only use fire resistant furniture, not to smoke in the premises, not to bring pets into the premises and to ensure that all the equipment in the property (including the central heating system) is used correctly.

It is prudent to check with the local authority if there are any additional obligations that they require from you before renting a property.

The Law

Below is a brief outline of some seminal cases and links to statutes that impact on Landlords and Tenants.

Street v Mountford [1985] UKHL – This case lays out the principles which are to be used when deciding whether someone in occupation of a property is a tenant under a tenancy agreement or merely holds a licence to occupy.

The court stated that it does not matter what you call the agreement, if it the terms of the agreement are such that they give rise to a tenancy agreement then it will be a tenancy agreement.

The fundamental difference between a tenancy agreement and a licence is that a tenancy agreement grants the tenant exclusive possession of the property for market rent thereby granting the tenant a legal interest whereas a licence does not require exclusive possession and does not create a legal interest.

Tulk v Moxhay (1848) 41 ER 1143 – This case states that restrictive covenants run with the land.

This famous case involving Leicester Square in London involved a restrictive covenant prohibiting any owner of the parcels of land now know as Leicester square from erecting buildings on the same. The court upheld the restrictive covenant and established the following requirements for a burden (restrictive covenant) to run with the land:

(i)                 It must “touch and concern” the land;

(ii)                The original parties must have intended that the burden run;

(iii)               The party to be burdened must have had notice of the covenant;

(iv)              The party to be burdened must hold or acquire the same interest in the property that the original promissor held.

It is important to note that tenants are bound by any restrictive covenants therefore it is prudent to contain the restrictive covenants in your tenancy agreement.

Tenancy Agreements

A tenancy agreement is a legal document that states the terms of the tenants occupation of your property. It grants the tenant and the landlord specific rights and obligations which are designed to protect both parties.

Whilst tenancy agreements are often simple documents, they are essential for any landlord as the obligations on the tenant contained within them will often go beyond the statutory requirements. Moreover, the additional obligations on the tenant can be used to help evict unruly and unreliable tenants.

To book an appointment to talk to us about tenancy agreements with us fill in this short form

 

 

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