The internet is flooded with information on tenants’ rights, and how the endless list of hoops landlords have to jump through to ensure they stay on the right side, with both their tenants and the law.
Well, today I’ll discuss some of the key topics in landlord rights. Rights for people like yourself that have within reach and clearly display your rights, with the property you own.
1. Landlord Rights To Enter
Whether it be needing access for a repair, routine maintenance, or having visitors over to inspect or view the property, tenants should allow access as long as you have made it convenient for them, it’s the base point of landlord rights.
Convenience is a broad term, but generally, as long as you’ve given adequate notice (at least 24 hours’ notice), they should either make themselves available to personally be there or allow you to enter the property with your own set of keys.
But always remember, entering a property whilst its tenanted without permission is classed as trespass and is illegal. A claim for damages and/or an injunction to prevent entry to the landlord or managing agent could follow. It’s a grey area around landlord rights.
There is plenty more information available on this topic in my article My Tenant Won’t Let Me Access My Property!? It is filled with advice on your contractual rights, accessing different types of properties, access to safety certificates, and much more…
2. Your Ability To Increase Rent
Re-evaluating the amount of rent you’d like your property to return is something you’ll want to consider going forward. It’s another one of your landlord rights.
In doing this, you’ll have to be fair in what you ask for, – ensuring it’s in line with the current market.
Bear in mind as a landlord you should have a duty of care for your tenants, and this should reflect when you give them notice to increase the rent. Have a conversation with your tenant and listen to their feedback, it’d be a good idea to take a few examples you found from your market research to support your proposal.
A summary of the dos and Don’ts of a rent review has been covered in an article I have already published I’m Charging Too Little For Rent, Can I Increase it? An example of whether it’s possible, acceptable duration of notice to give, or if your tenant refuses to acknowledge your proposed increase.
3. Troublesome Tenants
Your first option should always be to attempt to resolve any issues amicably, ideally via email or letter form, so that all information is recorded in the circumstance you need to refer back to any communications.
It’s a part of your landlord rights to ensure troublesome tenant issues are contained so that they are not a detriment to the property or the neighbours.
If you don’t feel you’re getting anywhere via this method, you have the option to use a mediation service to help resolve the dispute between both parties.
Depending on the issue at hand, you could take the tenants to a small claims court to have an impartial decision made based on the facts of the case, and it would be a legally bound decision.
The last method is to speak with the Citizen Advice Bureau. They have a wealth of information that can be used as advice moving forward, to give you the best fighting chance if you’re in real trouble dealing with your tenants.
4. Landlord Rights To Evict A Tenant
It’s part of your landlord rights to evict your tenants if you see fit, ensuring you follow the correct procedures to do so. If you don’t, you could get claims of harassment or illegal eviction. The process you’ll follow entirely depends on the basis of the tenancy agreement they’re under.
Plenty of information in my Notice Period To Vacate article and lots of advice to help you, with a breakdown of the procedures with the different types of tenancies your tenant may be under.
In short, evicting a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy would entail drafting a Section 21 notice to quit. In the unlikely circumstance they haven’t left before your specified date, you’ll then apply to the courts for a standard possession order.
As long as there is little or no unpaid rent, you have the option to speed things up and obtain an accelerated possession order. Beyond this, we should be hopeful the tenants have their possessions packed up and ready to leave, however if not, the final resort is to apply for a warrant of possession. A warrant of possession is essentially sending bailiffs to enforce the eviction notice in person, hopefully with immediate effect.
In the instance you have an excluded tenancy, for example, if you have a lodger, the minimum request is simply a reasonable notice to quit. Typically, the length of the rental payment period, if they pay per calendar month, then the reasonable notice will be one calendar month.
Beyond this period, you’ll then be able to change the locks even if they’ve left some possessions behind.
You might find more information on tenants’ rights, as opposed to landlord rights if you had a quick search online. And to an extent, this is true, which is why its imperative you as a landlord, have done your due diligence to ensure the property is maintained correctly, with all compliance adhered to. So that there is no excuse going forward.
This way, the ball is in your court. But rest assured, there are landlord rights in place to protect you.