Frequently Asked Questions
I have let tenants move into a house without a written tenancy? should I issue a written tenancy?
A written tenancy agreement is not essential for an assured short hold tenancy created after 28 February 1997. Where you do not use a written agreement, the tenant will have a fixed term for the first six months during which you will not be able to ask him to leave unless he breaches the terms of the tenancy. However, if the agreement is not in writing, proving what the terms are between the parties maybe difficult. You should always use a written tenancy agreement.
My tenant seems to have moved out but has left his property in the house, What should I do?
You should not assume that the tenant as left the property. The law is quite liberal in its interpretation of whether people have or have not moved out where property is left at a property. To be safe, if you have any doubt that the tenant has not moved out you should obtain a court order before entering the property and taking possession. There is a risk the tenant may claim against you (alleged) missing items which were (alleged) removed by you and that the items were the same value of the crown jewels.
I have let someone a room in my house which I live in, what rights do they have?
If you rent out a room in the house in which you live (it must be your main residence) The tenant is what is known as a licensee. Although they do not have any security of tenure it is always a good idea to give them reasonable notice if you wish them to leave. Reasonable notice in these circumstances usually means a four week period required by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
I want to increase the rent for my tenant. Can I just increase the rent and what if they do not pay?
You cannot increase the rent during the fixed term of a tenancy agreement. If the fixed term has come to an end, you can increase the rent by asking the tenant to enter into a new agreement or if you do not want to renew the tenancy you can serve a section 13 notice on the tenant which is a notice informing the tenants of the new rent increase. If they fail to pay the new rent, you have the choice to bring the tenancy to an end in accordance with the law. If your tenant is an assured tenant, as opposed to an assured shorthold tenant there is a legal procedure which requires you to serve the appropriate notice on the tenant giving them the opportunity to oppose the increase.
I want to rent out a flat which I own but I have a mortgage on it. Do I have to inform the lender?
You should inform your lender that you intend to let out the property. Most mortgages have a prohibition on letting without the approval of the lender. Some lenders may increase the interest rate they charge you. You should also check your property insurance to see if it is adequate for letting.
I have moved into a new house but cannot sell my old property. I want to let it out for a year, what should I do?
You should get your tenant to sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement for either six or twelve months. It is always good practice to serve a notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 at the same time you issue a tenancy. Ensure that the tenancy has a clause to say you require the property back for your own purpose at the end of the fixed period and that ground 1 under section 8 is applicable. This should be done at the start of the tenancy and will allow you to recover possession easily if you need to get the tenant out to sell the property.
Can I enter the property to inspect the condition of the property?
This will depend on the terms of the tenancy agreement. Most written tenancy agreements allow the landlord to inspect on giving reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is usually no less than 24 hours and often requires the landlord to give the tenant notice in writing. What would not be acceptable is simply turning up and letting yourself in as this could be a breach of the tenant’s rights of quiet enjoyment.
I have served a section 21 notice and it has not yet expired. I need possession soon as possible. Can I start possession proceedings now to save time?
No you must wait for the notice to expire. If you instigate possession proceedings before it has expired your claim is very likely to fail.
The tenancy was for 6 months which has now expired. Do I need to grant another agreement?
No you do not. Where the initial fixed term of the tenancy has expired, there is no need to enter into a new fixed term agreement unless you want to bind the tenant to stay for a further fixed period. A tenant who does not sign a new agreement in these circumstances “holds over” as a statutory periodic tenant. The rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant remain the same as the expired tenancy.
What happens about insurance when I let out property?
It is usually the landlord’s responsibility to insure the property and it is wise to keep it this way so that you are sure that the property is properly insured for the full value. It is essential to inform your insurer that the property is to be let. If this is not done, the insurer may be able to avoid paying up if there is a claim. You should also make sure that the insurer is told when the property is empty. The general rule is that everything material to the risk which the insurer is asked to assume is disclosed to the insurer. If this is not done the insurer can refuse to pay on any potential claim.
The tenant has always been late paying rent but he pays eventually after a lot of chasing. What should I do?
You could serve the tenant with a notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act, read our section 8 page.
Does the Deregulation Act 2015 effect me as a landlord?
The Deregulation Act 2015 has a number of important elements that all landlords and letting agents ought to be aware of. The BLA – British Landlords Association has a rich legal resources section for its members which landlords will find useful. Their website address is:- www.thebla.co.uk
I did not protect the tenants deposit and I want possession under section 21 notice?
Please read our Deposit page … Read