What Legal Rights Do Landlords Have?
It’s important to be aware of your legal rights as a landlord and to understand where the law supports your actions and what you are able to do within its boundaries. Below we go into more detail about what legal rights landlords have.
The tenancy agreement signed by the tenant should include details about the reviewing of rental costs after a certain period of time. This does not mean the rent has to be increased, but it does give you the right to increase the rent by a reasonable amount in line with the current market. Rolling (or periodic) agreements allow you to increase the rent once a year provided you give a month’s notice in writing.
Entering the property
Before entering the property to carry out repairs or damage inspection you must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice. The only exception to this is in emergencies. Tenants are allowed to remain in the property while repair work is being carried out, except if the work is hazardous or dangerous, in which case you can ask them to move out on a temporary basis by putting the request in writing.
Dealing with difficult tenants
You should try to settle disagreements informally at first, but if this is not possible you can either put your concerns into a letter or email, or even suggest a mediation service. If none of this offers a resolution, you may be able to take the matter to the small claims court. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau is a good starting point to get helpful advice on how to approach a tricky situation. If you let your property with a letting agency, they should also be able to provide you with some guidance and may even be able to settle the disagreement for you.
Evicting your tenant
Every landlord has the legal right to evict their tenant. However, this cannot be done on a whim or out of the blue as there are strict guidelines that must be followed. If not, the tenant may be able to take the matter to court. Details about eviction should be laid out in the tenancy agreement.
Assured shorthold tenancy evictions
Currently, landlords are required to serve a Section 21 notice in order to evict tenants (the government is due to change this over the next couple of years). If the tenant remains in the property past the date on the order you can apply for a standard possession order via the court. If the tenant does not owe any rent you may be able to apply for an accelerated possession order. The final option is a warrant for possession that involves the use of bailiffs.
Excluded tenancy evictions
Landlords with an excluded tenancy – which involves a tenant such as a lodger – will have a more straightforward approach when it comes to evictions. You will have to give a ‘reasonable’ notice to leave the property, which in most cases is the same as the rental payment period. After this period has passed, legally you have the right to change the locks to prevent access, even if they still have possessions inside. Although ideally you want to avoid this sort of situation and find a more amicable solution.
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