These are things that come up time and time again.
1. Fixed terms have to be six months or a year
No! You can have a fixed term for any period of time you want. The main significance of different lengths of term is that
- fixed terms for a period of three years or more must be signed as a deed, and
- fixed terms for over seven years will need to be registered at the Land Registry and the landlord’s statutory repairing obligations won’t apply
2. A tenant staying on after the end of the fixed term ‘doesn’t have a tenancy’
Yes they do! Section 5 of the Housing Act provides for a ‘periodic tenancy‘ to come into place immediately after the fixed term ends.
This will normally be monthly (if rent is paid monthly) and terms and conditions of the preceding fixed term tenancy will continue to apply
3. Section 21 notices have to give two months notice
No! Two months is the minimum notice period. The actual notice period is normally longer than this, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes a lot longer.
4. Landlords are entitled to enter because ‘its their property’
No! Entering without the tenant’s permission is harassment which is a criminal offence.
Technically the property, during the tenancy, belongs to the tenant. The landlord merely has the right to get it back after the tenancy has ended (what lawyers call the reversion).
5. Landlords can change the locks if a tenant fails to leave after a possession notice has expired
No! This is unlawful eviction which is a criminal offence.
Landlords must get a court order for eviction and then (if the tenants STILL don’t go) use the County Court bailiffs (or High Court Sheriffs). This is known by lawyers as ‘due process’.
Did you know all of these? Pat yourself on the back.
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