Being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility. After all, you are managing the property and the tenants within. For this reason, there are always 5 steps to becoming a landlord to ensure you are ready for the legal complexities of fulfilling such a position. As landlord numbers in the UK have risen to 2.5 million, it is important to understand all aspects of this competitive industry. This is especially true, in terms of things a landlord cannot do.
A strong relationship between landlords and tenants is vital in ensuring a smooth experience for both parties. The best way for landlords and tenants to start off on the right foot is to understand the rights both a tenant and landlord has. This knowledge is certainly required in the last resort action of eviction. Do the tenant and landlord both know in what cases an eviction is legal?
While it may seem like the things landlords cannot do are quite obvious, to ensure complete clarity, the list below has been compiled to help landlords learn what you can’t do when renting a property out to a tenant.
1. Landlords Cannot Discriminate When Selecting A Tenant
It is illegal for a landlord to turn down a potential tenant based on any personal attributes of an applicant. This includes age, gender and race. These personal attributes also cannot be used as a way of charging different rental rates either. For example, you cannot put into a letting agreement that a person in their twenties is being charged more than the usual rate because they are more likely to damage the property.
If a person with a disability wishes to rent your property, you cannot refuse to make the reasonable changes to either the tenancy agreement or the property itself. The person must be able to live comfortably and without discrimination.
2. Landlords Must Not Just Let Themselves Into The Property
You might own the land, but you cannot walk into a filled property whenever you like. If the tenants aren’t at home, a landlord must agree a time they can enter the property with the incumbent person. Likewise, you cannot demand entry at any point. Landlords must give tenants at least 48 hours notice before entering a property. 24 hours notice can be given when showing the property to a prospective new tenant. If there is an emergency, there are exceptions to this.
3. Landlords Can’t Make It Difficult For a Tenant to Reside in the Property
If at any point you do not want a tenant to remain in your property, you cannot do things to force them to leave. Actions such as not carrying out repairs are not acceptable. You mustn’t do anything that makes a tenant feel uncomfortable in the property at any point. As long as the tenancy agreement is in place, they are entitled to stay put. As a landlord, you must know when you can legally evict a tenant.
4. Security Deposits Cannot Be Used To Pay For Home Improvements
As tenancy deposits must be protected by law, this money cannot be used for improvements on the house during the tenancy period. This security deposit must only be used at the end of the tenancy. Even so, this deposit can only be used to make up any unpaid rent or to pay for repairs from damaged caused or from any cleaning required. Security deposits must be returned to the tenant within 21 days after a lease ends or a new tenancy begins on the premises – whichever comes first.
5. Rent Cannot Be Raised By The Landlord Whenever They Please
A tenancy agreement should contain the regularity and notice period for when rent reviews take place. If as a landlord you have a bad month, you cannot simply demand more money from your tenant. If you are going to raise the rent for a tenant, you have must have viable evidence for why you are doing so. You can justify the rise to your tenant to be in line with market rates and other properties within the area.
6. Hefty Late Payment Fees Can’t Be Charged By Landlords
Landlords usually introduce late payment fees as a way of encouraging tenants to pay on time every month. However, you cannot set an extortionately high amount for a late fee. If you do, a tenant can take you to court. A judge will side with the tenant unless the late payment fees reflect the true damages that may occur from rent arrears.
7. Landlords Can’t Evict A Tenant Because They Are Selling The Property
If a fixed tenancy agreement is in place, you cannot tell a tenant to leave just so you can sell up. A tenant can also refuse any property viewings if they are not convenient to them. Until the tenancy agreement is legally terminated, tenants have the right to stay in the property.
If you do need to sell the property quickly, landlords do have the option of offering a severance fee to the tenant. There has to be a mutually beneficial arrangement in place, however.
8. Gas and safety checks cannot be left longer than 12 months after the last check
If a landlord fails to ensure that their properties have the right safety checks carried out annually, they can go to prison. It is incredibly important in terms of health and safety that this is carried out. Other legal repercussions include fines, invalid insurance and potential court action from tenants.
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