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Top 5 Landlord Questions & Answers

My tenant has always been late in paying the rent, now they appear to be letting friends stay. I really don’t want them as my tenant any longer

If you have not already done so, serve a Section 21 Notice (claim form for possession of property). This requires the Landlord to give at least 2 months notice to the tenant, which MUST end on the last day of a rental period AND cannot end before the last day of a fixed term (Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement). This is one of the reasons we advise not to create an AST for more than 6 months.

As you can see it is most important that dates are correct – if you are unsure our Advice Line will be happy to help you – please have your tenancy agreement with you when you phone.

 

My tenant, whose tenancy started in October, is persistently late in paying his rent. He now owes rent for all of December and all of January - What can I do?

We suggest you phone or write to the tenant in the first instance. You are now in a position to serve a Section 8 Notice. This requires the minimum of 14 days notice and has the advantage that you can claim both property and rent from the court hearing.

Please note – if in Scotland, 3 months’ rent will have to be lawfully due, as set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. It would also have to specify in the lease that you can seek to recover possession of the property if the tenant breaches the agreement.

Again if you are unsure our Advice Line will be happy to help you.

  • We can help you with the letter you write to your tenant here
  • For more information on Serving a Section 8 notice, try our landlord library
  • You will soon be able to complete a Section 8 notice here:

 

My tenant will not allow me to carry out my Landlords Gas Safety Certificate, she keeps saying it is inconvenient, I propose to use my keys to let the gas engineer in next week, is that OK?

NO, I’m afraid it is not. A tenancy gives exclusive possession of a property to the tenant. You can therefore only gain access by invitation. If the tenant still refuses you are able to apply to the courts for an injunction to gain access to your property but generally we would advise serving a Section 21 to end the tenancy. Provided the Court can see you have made regular attempts to carry out the Gas Certificate you would not be prosecuted – therefore keep all paper work.

 

My tenant entered into a 6 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy, this is about to run out. Should I enter into a further 6 month agreement?

NO – In almost all cases it is better to allow the tenancy to become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy, this happens by default if you do not enter into a further agreement. The advantage is that you can, at any time serve a Section 21 Notice. This is a real advantage for a landlord, should a tenant become difficult. Please note that you may need to renew your tenancy deposit protection and re-serve the prescribed information about the tenancy deposit, following Superstrike Ltd V Marino Rodigues High Court ruling. Check with your chosen tenancy deposit scheme for details.

 

I own an HMO, (House in Multiple Occupation). I have let individual rooms to students for the last few years. As students they are exempt from Council Tax. One of the students has left university and has a job; the council are now approaching me for the Council Tax?

Where a landlord lets rooms in a house, it is always the landlord’s liability to pay the Council Tax (even though exempt in this case). Therefore, now one tenant works there is not 100% occupation by students and council tax liability kicks in. The only way to avoid this is to enter into a Joint Tenancy. This would make the household jointly and severally liable to pay the Council Tax (provided the Tenancy Agreement allowed for this).

  • Find out what NLA's view is on Council Tax here
  • Get the latest online AST here

 

Note: All advice applies to England and Wales unless otherwise stated.


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