Landlord and Tenant Acts

Becoming a landlord can be extremely daunting, especially when you hear that there are over 150 Acts of Parliament that you need to be aware of, in addition to the resulting legislation.

There are many different landlord and tenant acts, with the main ones being:

Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 – this is divided into two main parts. Part 1, the Landlord and Tenant Act is now superseded by some other Landlord and Tenant Acts. Part 2 is directed at business tenancies, and part of this is to provide security of tenure for business tenants who have been tenants of a property for a number of years.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – contains several miscellaneous provisions; for example, it contains provisions relating to information that must be given to the tenant, provision of rent books, and repairing obligations.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 – this Act grants tenants the right of first refusal if the landlord makes disposal. This right only applies if the tenant is ‘qualified and the disposal by the landlord is relevant. This means that not all disposals are covered by this Landlord and Tenant Act.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 – this Act is aimed at introducing a number of provisions relating to assignment. There are often a number of requirements within a lease to seek landlord’s consent, but this consent could be withheld by the landlord for no good reason. The aim of this act is therefore to that consent is only refused for good reason.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1995 – this Act is aimed at covenants in leases and has a number of aims. For example, when a lease is assigned, there may be many covenants that bind the assignor. This Act provides that upon the assignment of a lease, the assignor is released from the covenant. Furthermore, this Landlord and Tenant Act restricts the rights of entry in the event of the breach of a covenant.

Failure to comply with Landlord and Tenant Acts can result in court action and substantial fines, which is why the Eastern Landlords Association is here to support you. Our experienced staff help our members navigate the complicated Landlord and Tenant Acts and offer sound advice on achieving compliance within the legal requirements.

Our Advice

We provide advice mainly on the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. The Act refers to all short leases for residential property and tenancies agreed for a period of fewer than seven years, i.e. Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Short leases cover periodic tenancies where the tenant has no fixed term agreement but rents the property on a weekly or monthly basis.

The Act has several sections:

Sections 1 to 3a – require landlords to provide basic information to tenants regarding identity, including directors if the landlord is a company. Landlords must also disclose if there is a right of the tenant to acquire the landlord’s interest.

Sections 4 to 7 – these require information to be contained in rent books. This includes information such as the name and address of the landlord, rent amount, terms and conditions of the contract and any other regulations as prescribed by the Secretary of State.

Sections 8 to10 – these sections state that it is implied within the contract that the property must be fit for human habitation. Section 10 includes the state of “repair, stability, freedom from damp, internal arrangement, natural lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitary conveniences, facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of wastewater”.

Sections 11 to 17 – place mandatory duties on landlords to repair properties in leases under seven years that are dwelling houses.

Section 11 specifically sets out who is responsible for repairs to a property whilst it is being rented. It is stated that where a short lease or periodic tenancy is in place, the landlord is responsible for:

  1. To maintain the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes.
  2. To maintain and keep in proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity.
  3. To maintain and keep proper working order, the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water.

Sections 18 to 30 – these sections limit any ‘service charges’ that a landlord can charge. This is designed to stop landlords from imposing unreasonable charges. Section 19 states that any such charges must be strictly related to cost. Landlords must at all times provide relevant information, which must also be certified by a qualified accountant.

Section 20 allows for leaseholders to be consulted before maintenance and improvement costs can be recovered from leaseholders or tenants.

Section 30a and the Schedule to the Act were inserted by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 and give tenants the right to summaries of any insurance policy contained in a service charge. Section 30b states that a ‘recognised tenants association’ has the right to be consulted about any working as a managing agent.

Section 31 – states that the Secretary of State still maintains a reserve power to limit rents by order. Anywhere in England or Wales, an order can be passed “(a) restricting or preventing increases of rent for dwellings which would otherwise take place, or (b) restricting the amount of rent which would otherwise be payable on new lettings of dwellings” for any homes, anywhere. To date, this power has not been used in any significant way.

Sections 31a to 39 – these sections set out “supplementary” provisions. Sections 31A-C concern the jurisdiction of the leasehold valuation tribunal. Section 33 states directors of companies are jointly liable with companies for offences committed with their consent. Sections 36 to 39 contain definitions.

Sections 18 to 30 form the basis of the legal rights and responsibilities of English and Welsh leaseholders regarding variable residential service charges.

If you would like more information on the Landlord and Tenants Acts, our staff can be contacted Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm via phone or email.

If you’d like more information on membership, contact us today.