Landlord Legal Advice

Landlord Legal Advice

Being a Landlord can be stressful, especially when navigating the legalities of rent arrears, problem tenants, eviction notices and housing law. That’s why we at Eastern Landlord Association offer discounted legal advice from local solicitors, as well as our free legal surgeries. We also offer a free advice line to help put your mind at ease. With over 300 rules and regulations governing property rental, it’s important to get the right advice.

Our legal advice service is here to:

  • Help you understand the legal obligations.
  • Provide guidance and documentation.
  • Save money by doing things yourself.
  • Avoid making expensive mistakes.

Why is legal advice important?

Over the last decade, the government have passed many new laws and regulations specifically targeting the private rental sector. This has only been exacerbated by COVID-19, and emergency regulations and laws that came with it. In 2021 alone, 8 new laws came into effect. These changes affect everything, from the model tenancy agreement, eviction notices, dealing with rent arrears, the eviction process and temporary updates to section 21 notices. 2021 also saw changes to how much letting agencies and private landlords can charge in fees to potential renters.

Without expert advice in property law, housing laws and the regulations surrounding assured shorthold tenancy you’re running the risk of breaking the law, and opening yourself up to costly legal battles with tenants.

Top issues that we can help with

  • Gas Safety Certificates – Landlords, by law, must have current Gas Safety Certificates for properties with gas appliances. This certificate must be renewed each year and can only be supplied by a Gas Safe registered gas engineer. The landlord must provide a copy of the gas certificate to the tenant/s before they move into the property. This should also be done within 28 days of the inspection.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – An EPC provides a rating of the property’s energy efficiency. A copy of the certificate should be given to the tenant on or before the tenancy begins. The EPC is valid for 10 years. After April 2018, Landlords with properties in the poor efficiency bands (F and G) are no longer permitted to let a property.
  • Deposit – If you request a deposit from a prospective tenant, you should be aware of the legal requirements of the tenant deposit scheme. The tenant’s deposit must be protected in one of the tenant deposit schemes available, and you must give the deposit certificate and other documents to the tenant or payee within 30 days of receiving the deposit. Failing to comply with these requirements can mean the tenant is eligible to claim 3 times the value of the deposit from you. Furthermore, you will be unable to serve a section 21 notice if you have not complied with tenant deposit legislation.
  • HMO Advice – Some local Councils are introducing licences for HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in addition to further licensing schemes. Check with your local council before you let your property.

Tenant Eviction

Questions relating to evicting a tenant are the most common that we receive. Before advising on the correct process to evict a tenant, it is important to understand the type of tenancy that you have. For example, you may have given an assured shorthold tenancy to your tenant, but this does not necessarily mean that it will be a shorthold tenancy according to the law. This can happen when the tenant is a limited company. Once this is established, a valid eviction notice can be served.

Section 8 notice – to be used if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy.

Section 21 notice – to be used if you want the property back after a fixed term ends.

Once the eviction notice has expired, if the tenant has failed to vacate the property and owes rent payments, you can apply to the court for a standard possession order. If you are not claiming any unpaid rent, you can apply for an accelerated possession order.

If your tenants still refuse to leave, you can apply for a warrant for possession, which means bailiffs will remove the tenants from the property.

How we can help

Members of Eastern Landlords Association are eligible to book a 15-minute slot with a litigation expert from Foster’s Solicitors during one of our free monthly legal surgeries. These sessions are designed to give you the chance to start the conversation about your legal issue – and should you require further advice, discounted support with local solicitors.

Members can also take advantage of our Landlord advice line, by calling our emailing our experienced staff Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm via phone or email. We can answer questions surrounding simple contractual matters, evictions or problem tenants.

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