Being a landlord in these uncertain times can carry enough risk without falling foul of technicalities that can befall the unsuspecting Landlord when they seek to obtain possession of their property.
Here are my top tips for residential landlords. Some may appear obvious but it is common for Landlords to fall into these traps:
- This sounds obvious, but always ensure you have a written tenancy agreement. This clarifies the landlord and tenants responsibilities to each other and provided it is drafted properly engages legislation that is designed to make it quicker for a landlord to gain possession of their property when faced with a defaulting tenant.
- If you are taking a rent deposit, please remember to place this in an appropriate rent deposit scheme. Not only are you unable to start the process of obtaining possession until this is done but you avoid the risk of being liable to pay the tenant damages for failure to do so.
- Always make sure that you serve the right notice and that it is valid. More that one client I have been instructed by has been burnt when their possession claim has been dismissed for this.
- Following on from tip number 3, make sure the dates are correct in the notice. Failure to do so will result in the claim being dismissed and a fresh notice having to be served, effectively starting again from scratch. Such an mistake can result in severe delays to obtaining possession. If the tenant has had legal representation, a dismissal of the possession claim can also result in a costs order against you!
- Whatever you do and no matter how frustrated you get faced with a non paying or persistent late paying tenant, do not take matters into you own hands and kick the tenants out. This can result in a claim for substantial damages by the tenant against you for unlawful eviction. Such damages can be high so as to punish the landlord for the unlawful behaviour and to compensate for the distress caused to the tenant.
- Bonus time! If in doubt consult your solicitor to obtain the appropriate advice that is likely to save you time, money and take the worry out of the process.
For further information or legal advice for residential landlords get in touch with ORJ for a no obligation discussion.