If you are considering becoming, or have recently become, a landlord of residential premises, we have set out below our five top practical tips for avoiding litigation, and ensuring that problem tenants can be easily removed. Landlord and tenant litigation is notoriously lengthy and can be expensive, but taking note of the tips below should assist in the event that difficulties arise.
- 1. Carry out full checks on perspective tenants. Check that prospective tenants can afford to rent the property from you to ensure that rent arrears do not become a problem. Fortunately all tenants found via Martin & Co will be fully referenced with prior landlord, credit, identity and income checks. Landlords whom take out a managed service receive the first 6 months free Rent Guarantee compliments of Martin & Co, but even if you are managing the property yourself, the cost of this insurance is very reasonable.
- 2. Have a carefully drafted tenancy agreement. A carefully drafted tenancy agreement will set out the obligations of both the landlord and tenants and will provide mechanisms for termination in the event of default. Without such a written agreement, there may be a question at law as to the basis of the tenancy arrangement which can result in difficulties in possession/eviction claims.
- 3. Register any deposit paid with a tenancy protection scheme. Under the Housing Act 2004, all landlords of residential properties making use of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy are required to deal with deposits received in accordance with an authorised scheme for the purpose of safeguarding deposits. If the deposit is not protected in this way, a Court will not grant a Possession Order. This can result in considerable delays, particularly where a section 21 notice is required to bring a tenancy to an end which requires a minimum of two months notice to be provided to the tenant before possession can be ordered by the Court.
- 4. Deductions from deposits. If your tenant feels that you have unfairly deducted sums from their deposit at the end of the tenancy, they will be able to submit a claim to an adjudicator. In order to ensure that such claims are not successful, ensure that you prepare a detailed schedule of condition at the outset of the tenancy which includes dated photographs, and then prepare a further schedule when the tenants vacate the premises. Without such evidence, an adjudicator will have difficulty rejecting the tenant's claim. Martin & Co use an independent inventory company, who are members of APIP (The Association of Professional Inventory Providers) prior to move in, for inspections during the tenancy, and on check out.
- 5. Bouncing cheques. If a cheque paid to you by a tenant bounces, there is a relatively straightforward claim which can be made via the County Court once the appropriate notice has been served. There is usually no defence to this claim on the part of the tenant. If this does occur, rather than waiting to receive the monies from your tenant, seek legal advice as soon as possible in order that the appropriate action can be taken.
If you have any questions on letting your property, or would just like free, no obligation advice then contact us today:
0161 773 0949