Articles

  • April 2015
    The Tenancy Waltz


    Jackamans recently participated in an event run by Barclays Premier.  Jackamans’ Senior Partner James Laband spoke on property law issues and Dispute Resolution partner Paul Stevens spoke on the litigation aspects of Buy to Let:

    I tried to summarise some of the key “steps” in this dance. For a start the main act applying to Assured Shorthold tenancies is the Housing Act 1988. This relates to residential tenants, occupying the premises as their main dwelling, and with a rent of under £100,000 per year. The form of the lease can be a standard one but it is a good idea to seek legal advice to ensure it contains all the essential elements.  For example how long the tenancy is. It is usually a fixed term of say 6 months, but it is important for a landlord to keep this diarised in the event they wish to terminate the tenancy and seek possession. A landlord should seek references for a prospective tenant for obvious reasons, and also consider if they require a guarantor for the rent and other tenant obligations if there is any concern that the tenant may be at risk of becoming unable to pay. Another key consideration is for a landlord to ensure that if the property is mortgaged his lender gives its consent to the granting of the tenancy.

    There are many responsibilities resting on the landlord including keeping the property in good habitable order. The gas fittings must be checked by an engineer at least every 12 months, and the electrical equipment should be safe. You must provide an Energy Performance certificate to the tenant. You must provide smoke alarms and ensure any furniture provided meets fire resistant standards.

    The requirement for any deposit paid by the tenant to be protected in an approved scheme began with legislation 2007. The tenant must be notified that this has taken place and in default a landlord may not be able to obtain possession through the Accelerated Procedure and may be ordered to pay compensation.

    If the landlord wishes to bring the ”tenancy waltz “ to an  end smoothly  it is necessary to do so by serving a Section 21 Notice Housing Act 1988 stating when possession is required. This must give no less than two months’ notice to the tenant expiring after the end of a fixed term or at the end of a period of the tenancy thereafter. It is advisable to seek legal advice on the form, content and service  of the notice as if it  is defective the courts will dismiss a claim for possession thus causing delay and wasted costs. If all the formalities are correctly followed then the court must award possession under the Accelerated Procedure.

    This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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