As a Landlord, your property represents a significant investment, and we recognise the commitment involved in safeguarding your current and future livelihood. If an issue were to arise, a prompt and proactive approach is best to avoid any financial losses or damages you might incur.
There are a number of ways in which residential Landlords can ensure they are protected from tenancy issues. As such, our Landlord & Tenant solicitors regularly advise on legal matters relating to many issues faced by Landlords on a day to day basis.
It can be all too easy to get lost in the legal complexities involved with letting out property, particularly when disputes with Tenants arise. Having an expert Landlord and Tenant solicitor on your side can help to keep things running smoothly and provide peace of mind that any issues can be resolved effectively, minimising any impact to you.
Whether it concerns an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or a bespoke Agreement, a Tenancy Agreement will clearly set out your rights and expectations as a Landlord as well as those of your Tenants. As such, the Agreement acts as a contract between the Landlord and Tenant and should be signed as an indication of acceptance of its terms and a willingness to comply.
Once signed, both parties enter into the agreement and can therefore be held accountable to their rights and responsibilities. If any terms of the Tenancy Agreement are broken, the breach of contract may mean that the other party are well within their rights to take legal action against the breaching party.
Our experienced Landlord and Tenant solicitors provide expert guidance on all aspects of Tenancy Agreements, offering a practical solution to every obstacle. We regularly advise and assist when terms have been breached, helping Landlords to safeguard their investment.
Landlords have the right to obtain a Rent Deposit from Tenants as a form of security and protection as the property comes off the market. The deposit should be held throughout the tenancy in a government-backed tenancy scheme and either returned to the Tenant at the end of the agreement or withheld to cover any rent arrears or repairs for damages caused by the Tenant.
Landlords must protect the Tenant’s deposit by placing it in one of three schemes within 30 days of receiving the sum and also provide the Tenant with certain prescribed information.
The scheme that is to be used must be disclosed to the Tenant. If you fail to pay the deposit into a scheme, the Tenant could take court action against you to claim compensation. A failure to comply with your obligations could also potentially affect your right to regain possession of the property.
In some cases, a serious dispute with a Tenant could result in eviction. In these circumstances, it’s vital that you have fulfilled your duties as the Landlord by providing the Tenant with all necessary documents and information, upholding the responsibilities outlined in the tenancy agreement as well as any others that are prescribed by law. Failing to do so can significantly delay the eviction process or strip you of your right to evict, posing a significant risk to your investment and livelihood.
Landlords may evict a Tenant with the aim of recovering the property through serving a Section 8 Notice or a Section 21 Notice. At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public, we offer a fixed fee for drafting and serving either type of notice. Typically, any court fees or fixed legal costs are recoverable from the Tenant.
A Section 8 Notice can be served in situations where a Tenant has breached their contract and you intend to repossess the property to avoid any further breaches, losses or damages.
Depending on the ground(s) it is served on, a Section 8 Notice can expire on the same day it is served or within a time frame of two months. The most common reason for serving Section 8 Notices is rent arrears, although there are many other valid reasons for doing so.
In order to serve a notice for unpaid rent which relies on a mandatory ground for possession, the Tenant must be at least two months in arrears. If the Tenant reduces their arrears to less than two months at any time before the matter comes to court, the court can refuse to grant a possession order. Our specialist Landlord & Tenant solicitors can advise you on the right approach to suit your circumstances.
A Section 21 Notice has to give two clear months’ notice and be in a prescribed form. There are also various legal requirements that need to be met. These vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the start date of the tenancy.
A Landlord does not have to specify any reason for serving a Section 21 Notice, and usually, no court hearing takes place. Many Landlords face complications in evicting their Tenants due to defective notices being served or the correct legal procedure not being followed by the Landlord on inception of the Tenancy. Once again, our Landlord & Tenant solicitors can advise on the most suitable approach for you.
At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public, we aim to make the eviction process as straightforward as possible. We will begin by assessing your situation and advise you on the best path forward. By tailoring our advice to your individual circumstances, we can help recover your property in the most efficient and effective way.
From there, we will draft all necessary letters and notice documents. Our expert Landlord & Tenant solicitors will submit the claim to court and draft related court documents using their extensive knowledge and expertise. If a defence is mounted during the process, we will act promptly and provide you with full details on your position as well as any additional costs you may incur.
In the case that court proceedings are issued, our specialists offer expert advice and representation throughout the process. Once a possession order is obtained, our team can guide you through the next steps of recovering your property.
A Rent Repayment Order (known as an ‘RRO’) is an order made by the First-Tier Tribunal requiring a Landlord to repay a specified amount of rent. An application for an RRO can be made by either the council or the Tenants of the relevant property.
On what grounds can an application for a Rent Repayment Order be made?
Your Tenant(s) or the council will have made an application for an RRO because they consider that you have committed an offence. They can make their application for the RRO even if you have not been prosecuted for the offence.
The person applying for the RRO must be able to demonstrate that the Landlord has committed one or more of the following offences:
It is often the case that Tenants make an application for an RRO because they consider that their Landlord has failed to obtain the relevant licence for the property (for example, a HMO licence) or/and have failed to comply with the housing management regulations.
How much rent can be recovered?
Tenants/Local Authorities can reclaim a maximum of 12 months’ rent. Once an order requiring rent to be repaid is made, the Landlord will be required to make the payment within 28 days. For some Landlords, this will be a substantial amount of money. If you have been notified of an application for a rent repayment order and you are concerned about the level of rent that the applicant is trying to reclaim, it is extremely important that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you protect your position.
Can a Rent Repayment Order be defended?
Any application for a Rent Repayment Order will be considered by the First-Tier Tribunal. If you have been convicted of the offence already, the Tribunal must order that the maximum amount of rent is repaid.
If you have not been convicted of the offence that the application relates to, the tribunal will have discretion as to whether to make an order and the amount of rent that you, as the Landlord, has to repay. You will therefore have the opportunity to:
If you would like advice on your legal position in relation to the Rent Repayment Order, it is important that you seek specialist advice as soon as possible. Rent repayment order applications are often dealt with swiftly by the Tribunal. Once an application has been received, the date of the hearing will be arranged and you will have various deadlines to comply with. Our specialist Landlord & Tenant solicitors can advise you on the correct approach to take to protect your interests, and assist you in dealing with the tribunal proceedings.
In some cases, disagreements relating to a tenancy may lead to a dispute. Whether the property in question is residential or commercial, conflicts between Landlords and Tenants have become all too common. Issues that may lead to a tenancy dispute include:
Landlord & Tenant Law is an extremely complex area, and it can be difficult to understand. In spite of this, you’d be surprised by the number of Landlords who attempt to serve notices, evict Tenants, and attend court hearings on their own, only seeking legal advice when the case becomes complex and protracted.
Attempting to resolve an issue without legal advice will cause problems, and fixing these problems is often more costly than paying for an expert to draft the documents correctly in the first place. Additionally, if the procedure is incorrect from the outset, you will lose even more money due to Tenants’ costs and lost rental income.
White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public we have the expertise, practical skills, and up-to-date legal knowledge required to provide you with commercially viable legal advice.
You must first serve a Section 8 notice or Section 21 notice. Then, if the notice has expired and your Tenant has failed to vacate the property, you must obtain a court order. Failing to follow the correct process can be classed as illegal eviction and the Landlord can be found to have committed a criminal offence.
If your Tenant owes you rent, you should try and resolve the problem amicably. If you are unable to do so, you should serve a Section 8 notice on your Tenant. This will give the Tenant 2 weeks to rectify the problem (i.e. pay the outstanding rent); if they still fail to pay, you should consider issuing possession proceedings.
Firstly, you should give your Tenant the opportunity to repair the damage. Take photographs of the damage, and get quotes for the repair – if necessary, you will then be able to deduct the cost of repairs from the Tenant’s bond or deposit (if you collected one). If the damage was done on purpose, you may feel that your trust in the Tenant has been damaged, in which case you can decide to serve a notice and evict your Tenant.
A lodger has no security and they can simply be asked to leave with a written notice. If the lodger pays monthly, you will usually have to give them one week’s notice. If, on the other hand, you are wondering how to evict a Tenant, the matter becomes more complicated which you should take legal advice on.
Unless your Tenant is willing to leave by mutual consent, you will need to follow the correct legal process. This always starts by serving notice on the Tenant. If the Tenant remains in the property after the notice has expired, you will need to issue Court proceedings to obtain an order for possession, which will require the Tenant to move out by a certain date. If the Tenant is still there after that, a warrant for possession authorising a Court bailiff to take possession of the property will need to be obtained. We can serve a fully compliant notice on your behalf.
No. It is a criminal offence to evict a residential Tenant without due process of law. In serious cases, unlawful eviction can carry a prison sentence.
It is also an offence to interfere with the Tenant’s occupation of the premises, even if you have asked them to leave. For example, you are not allowed to turn up at the property unannounced (genuine emergencies excepted), try to prevent the Tenant from getting in our out of the property or interfere with the utility supplies.
Only a Court bailiff acting in accordance with a warrant can forcibly gain entry.
We always work as fast as the system will allow us to get your property back as quickly as possible. Our average timescale for removing a residential Tenant is between 3 and 4 months, but this can vary, as it depends on a number of factors.
The reality is that evicting a Tenant can be a lengthy process and you should be wary of anyone who promises you that they can do it quickly regardless of the circumstances.
Some Tenants move out just days after we have served the notice requiring possession but others, for various reasons, do not. The first step is to wait for the notice to expire, which generally speaking is around 2 months, before issuing a claim at Court.
The length of the Court proceedings vary from Court to Court but as a rule, the hearing will take place between 4 and 8 weeks after the claim is issued. At the hearing, the Court will usually make an order for possession, which takes effect in between 2 and 6 weeks. However, if the Tenant raises a defence to the claim, the matter may be adjourned to a later hearing. We are experienced in spotting where Tenants are likely to defend claims and can normally advise you on how to prevent this but if you think the Tenant might have grounds to defend the claim, it is important to address this before commencing formal action.
It may be quicker for you to use the accelerated possession procedure which enables the Court in some circumstances to grant possession without the need for a hearing. We will advise you on whether this is an option before starting your claim.
If a warrant for possession is needed after the date set by the Court for the Tenant to move out has passed, the eviction date will normally be between 2 and 4 weeks after applying for the warrant. Again, this varies from Court to Court.
If you collected a Deposit on or after 6th April 2007, you are obliged to register it using an approved tenancy deposit scheme within 14 days and to notify the Tenant of the details of the scheme within 14 days of registering the bond. Failure to do either of these things could result in you being ordered to pay a substantial amount of compensation to your Tenant. What’s more, failure to comply with the requirements can render a possession notice invalid, meaning that possession proceedings can take longer and be costlier.
It is usually possible to seek a Court Judgment for rent arrears at the same time as applying to the Court for an Order for Possession. We will arrange for this to be done where appropriate. We are specialists in all kinds of debt recovery and can also help if the Tenant has left the property and still owes a substantial amount of rent.
The legal position is that you would usually be entitled to recover your losses – e.g. cleaning the property and repairing broken or damaged items – from the Tenant. Often, any Deposit held can be kept as part-payment towards these costs. It may also be worth involving the police in cases of serious criminal damage of theft of your belongings.