Basic Legal Rights Every UK Landlord Needs to Know
Despite the best efforts of the former Chancellor, George Osborne, the UK property investment market remains strong. Millions of aspiring landlords have taken the plunge in recent years and invested in rental property, but as with any other business, buy to let landlords must operate within the law.
UK law offers protection to both landlords and tenants. Whether you let out a spare room on an informal basis or operate a number of HMOs, you are bound by housing legislation. Before letting out property, it is imperative that you fully understand your legal obligations as a landlord. However, it is also helpful to understand your rights, so here is a brief insight into landlord law all buy to let property investors need to be aware of:
1. Right to collect a fair rent:
Landlords are legally entitled to charge a fair market rent for their property. You are also entitled to receive this rent by a set date, which should be clearly stated in the rental agreement. If your tenant does not pay his or her rent by the due date, you are entitled to collect any late payments due.
2. Right to take possession of a rental property:
Not all tenancies run smoothly, so it is good to know that you have the right to repossess your rental property if a tenant fails to pay the rent or violates the terms of the tenancy. You are also allowed to take possession of your property for any other reason. If you do decide you want your property back, you must follow the correct procedures or the full weight of the law will be on the side of your tenant.
3. Right to enter a rented property:
Landlords have the right to enter their property at any time, to perform property inspections or carry out repairs. However, the law is also there to protect the tenant, so you are legally obliged to give a tenant a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before you enter a rental property. In the case of an emergency, you have the right to enter the property immediately. You may also have the right to enter the property to carry out cleaning services, but only if this is stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
4. Right to give notice:
You are legally entitled to give notice to your tenant if you want to take possession of your property, but not during the fixed term period unless there is a clause in the tenancy agreement allowing you to do so, or the tenant has violated the tenancy agreement, for example by not paying the rent. You must give your tenant the correct amount of notice, which will depend on the length of the tenancy.
5. Right to evict:
If things go horribly wrong and your tenant is a nightmare, you have the right to evict them. It is always advisable to try and sort out problems before you reach this stage, but if this is not possible, serve a Section 21 notice to quit the property and apply for a possession order from the courts if they don’t leave. Remember: you must follow the exact procedure to the letter, or you run the risk of falling foul of the law.
The law is there to protect landlords and tenants. If in doubt about your legal rights as a landlord, consult with an expert or get a property management software.