Landlord responsibilities – what are they?
There are many legal obligations that you will have from the first moment your tenants go through the door of your property, clutching their new keys and freshly signed tenancy agreement.
Here are three of the most important things you need to remember:
1. Its not your property any more. When you grant a tenancy to a tenant, you are effectively selling it to your tenants for a period of time. You can’t go in and out as you want, in fact you can’t go in at all unless your tenant agrees.
So one of your most important landlord responsibilities is to allow your tenant to live in the property without interference.
2. You are responsible for keeping it in good condition. There are repairing obligations set out in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which you cannot contract out of.
So your landlord responsibilities will include keeping in proper repair the structure and exterior of the property, the installations for the supply of water, electricity, gas and sanitation, and space and water hearing. You also need to comply with numerous regulations, including the gas and furniture regs.
3. You can only evict your tenant through the courts. Yes, even though your tenant may only have signed up for six months, he has the legal right to stay on if he wants, and the law will continue his tenancy indefinitely. So he will not be a squatter, he will be a tenant.
Even if you previously agreed that he would move out on the due day, if your tenant wants to stay on, you will have to serve the proper form of notice on him and then go to court to get an order for possession.
Landlord responsibilities are constantly changing
Housing is important politically, and governments often introduce new regulations in response to problems that may arise, manifesto commitments (particularly with a new government) or as a result of a report they may have commissioned. Sometimes also they are obliged to introduce legislation as a result of EEC directives.
For example in the last five years there have been new laws relating to houses in multiple occupation, tenancy deposits, and energy performance certificates. So you need to keep your landlords responsibilities under constant review.
How do you do this? Well here are a few suggestions:
- Sign up to get posts from this blog sent to you by email
- Sign up to my Landlord Law Newsletter
- Join my Landlord Law information site
- Join a landlords association
- Subscribe to one or more of the landlord periodicals – for example Property Investor News
Or better still, do all of them! If you do not comply with your landlord responsibilities, you can be sometimes prosecuted or sued by your tenants for financial compensation. So take care.
Find out more about your responsibilities and rights as a landlord with my Kindle e book ‘The Short Guide for Landlords’.
Its only £2.99 but its got a lot of content (even though its short).