Landlord helpline gives members direct access to practising housing lawyers, who are specialists in housing law. The landlord helpline is managed by BLA consultants who are experienced in dealing with bad tenants.
The law relating to the Letting industry can be complicated, more so due to COVID-19 and the recent regulations. The BLA legal team can help to ease the stress out of being a landlord and ensure you are fully compliant with the relevant legislation.
Free Landlord Helpline for Private Landlords
The landlord helpline is totally free for British Landlords association members. Our legal team can advise on all aspects of housing law. Members have access to Landlord tax advice from our appointed accountants, and the advice is free.
Landlord helpline, Top FAQ:
What is a section 8 Notice?
First one needs to decide what type of tenancy you have. Once this is established, this will enable you to serve the correct notice.
Caution, just because you may have given an assured shorthold tenancy to your tenant, this does not necessarily mean the tenancy in law is an assured shorthold tenancy. Example, if your tenant is a company, the tenancy is not capable of being an assured shorthold tenancy. To serve the correct notice, one needs to determine what tenancy is in place.
Provided a valid eviction notice has been served, example section 8, 21 or notice to Quit. Upon expiry of the notice, you can go to court, which is if the tenant has failed to vacate the let property.
(a) Section 8 & 21 eviction notices are usually for Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
(b) Section 8 notice can also be used for Assured tenancies.
(c) Notice Quit is usually for; common law tenancies, Company, let or license an agreement. Seek advice before serving any notices on the tenant, and ensure you are fully compliant with your legal obligations. If you have failed to follow your legal obligations, then your notice may be considered as invalid.
As for what is a section 8 notice: a section 8 notice is a notice that can be used for “Assured” and “assured shorthold tenancies”. It has 17 grounds and each ground the waiting period (when the notice expires) varies. Due to COVID-19, the notice periods have been extended. However, it is anticipated the waiting period for a section 8 notice will return to the standard waiting period once the emergency COVID-19 measures have been lifted early next year. Members can download a free section 8 notice.
Evict a tenant using the accelerated possession?
The accelerated route is used to obtain possession under section 21. You cannot claim rent arrears under the section 21 route. The accelerated path is no longer accelerated in some cases, it may take longer than your standard fixed date route.
Do not attempt to do the accelerated possession your self, unless you are legally trained, it is not just a matter of form filling. You are required to follow the CPR and the PD, failure to do so may mean your claim may be delayed or stuck out.
Can I evict a tenant myself?
No, you must obtain a possession order through the court before you evict a tenant. Only a court bailiff can physically evict a tenant. It is unlawful to evict a tenant without a court order, and you must follow the proper legal process. Wrongful eviction carries a hefty penalty with the possibility of a prison sentence too. Any member acting unlawfully in evicting a tenant will have their BLA membership being revoked.
How to evict a tenant without going to court?
If the tenant is not giving up vacant possession of the let property. You should first consider speaking to the tenant before considering court action.
You are now required under COVID-19 legislation to obtain evidence about how COVID-19 may have affected the tenant’s ability to maintain the tenancy. Seek advice from our Landlord Helpline, who will be able to assess your situation and advise you accordingly.
Landlord Helpline regarding tenant eviction?
Landlord Advice UK is the BLA service provider. Landlord Advice UK is one of the UK’s leading tenant eviction companies, we suggest you contact them.
Section 21, eviction notice?
You can download a section 21 notice from the download page, or alternatively, you can instruct Landlord Advice UK. Landlord Advice UK can act promptly, they will offer you, as a BLA member a preferential discounted service.
How to evict a tenant without a tenancy agreement?
Provided the tenancy commenced after 28 Feb 1997 the process is simple. If the tenancy started before 28 Feb 1997 and your claim is for rent arrears, it should still be a simple process. If you have lost the copy of the tenancy, and the tenancy began before 28 Feb 1997.
You should seek advice from our Landlord helpline before you go ahead.
Eviction process how long does it take?
Due to Covided-19 under the Coronavirus Act 2020, all possessions claims save for trespass are taking longer.
Suppose the matter is not defended and the eviction notice has expired. In that case, the average time of possession is between 5 to 7 weeks. Once the court has granted a possession order, the standard possession order will give the tenant 14 days to vacate the let property. Fourteen days is in addition to the 5 to 7 weeks, as said above.
To avoid doubt; from the time your claim is issued in court, if undefended, you should obtain a possession order between 5 to 7 weeks. However, some courts, especially London courts, are taking a lot longer to deal with possessions claims.
If the tenant does not vacate the let property upon the possession order expiring. In that case, you will have to instruct a county court bailiff to evict the tenant. This can take from 5 weeks to 10 weeks. The London county courts are busy and are likely to take the longest.
You can seek leave for high court enforcement, this must be done before you issue your claim, this should be pleaded in your possession claim. Speak to Landlord helpline for further advice on this. We strongly recommend you do not attempt to issue a possession claim unless you are legally trained.
Tenancy deposit protection issue?
First, read the terms & Conditions for the scheme you are using. Please contact the deposit scheme you are using; each scheme varies in the way they manage disputes.
A student tenant wants to swap with another student, what do I do?
Get the new prospective tenant to complete a tenancy application form. Ensure you conduct a full credit check before you consider granting a tenancy. You can order a credit & referencing report here.
How to write a tenancy agreement?
When creating a tenancy, you will first need to decide what tenancy should be in place. You can obtain a draft tenancy agreement from our website under the services tab. You will need to decide if the property you are letting is furnished or unfurnished. If you are going to accept pets or not.
Once you have decided the above you can download the correct tenancy from this website. The sections that need to be completed are straightforward. You also have a section where you could add express conditions if they are not already in the tenancy.
Please email our landlord helpline if you are a member of the BLA to seek advice regarding how to write a tenancy agreement.
Selective licensing exemptions?
Read the full list by clicking this link – The Selective Licensing of Houses (Specified Exemptions) (England) Order 2006
Selective licensing fees?
Each council varies as to the fees they charge. Our landlord helpline cannot help on this, please contact the relevant Local authority to obtain their fee structure.
HMO regulations 2018 room size?
Minimum space requirements. Here is the text from the Government’s guidance: “Rooms used for sleeping by 1 person over 10 will have to be no smaller than 6.51 square metres. Those slept in by 2 people over 10 will have to be no smaller than 10.22 square metres. 16 Mar 2018. Have you considered taking one of our landlord courses?
Landlord Licensing what is it?
A landlord may need licensing.
- Mandatory licensing. If you are letting out a large HMO (house in multiple occupations), you are likely to need a license to do so.
- Additional licensing. Additional licensing schemes also apply to landlords, letting out HMOs.
Do you need a license to rent out a property?
This varies from council to council but be sure to check with your local Department of Housing to find whether you must have a license to rent your house. In cities that do require a license, renting your property without one is illegal.
Do I need landlord’s insurance?
Normal standard building insurance may not be sufficient to adequately cover the risk needed when letting out a property to a tenant.
You can speak to the BLA members insurance brokers “The Alan Boswell Group” for free advice and a free quote. Members get a discount by using Alan Boswell Group, and they also provide various insurance products, especially for landlords, including rent guarantee.
To sell your rental property tenanted or not?
For landlords considering selling their investment property, the age-old question – with or without tenants in situ? Receiving rent until the sale or risk evicting your tenants to gain a higher price? We discuss the pros and cons.
This does partly depend on the strength of the housing market when you wish to sell. The location of the property is also a major determining factor on how quickly you may be able to sell your property.
If you sell the property vacant and it does not sell for several months, you could potentially lose out on the rental income. However, vacant properties will attract a wider audience and usually will sell for more money.
In most cases, it is financially rewarding to sell the property as vacant.
What if my landlord wants to send someone to do repairs?
Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during coronavirus, but there are likely to be delays in getting work done.
Government guidance says that no one should come into your home unless it is to fix an urgent problem that puts you at direct risk of harm if either:
- You are self-isolating
- There are local restrictions in your area
- Regional restrictions are likely to mean tier 2 and tier 3 areas
You can ask your landlord to postpone any non-urgent repairs if you have concerns. For example, if a health condition puts you at higher risk from coronavirus. Tenants should not deny access to a landlord which is reasonable.
Your landlord must give you notice of any repairs or inspections. Anyone conducting work in your home must follow social distancing and hygiene rules and regulations. If in doubt, seek advice by calling 111.
What is tenant referencing?
Tenant referencing is a landlord’s or letting agents’ way of finding out information about a prospective tenant, so they can make an informed decision on whether to allow the tenant to rent the property.
Tenant referencing will check to see if the tenant has any county court judgements or has been bankrupt. It will check to see if the does live at the address provided.
The referencing will check with the previous landlord and take employers to reference too.
Can I evict the tenant if I lost my agreement?
Yes, you can still evict your tenant in the absence of a written tenancy agreement. Landlord Advice UK will assess the arrangements between the parties to determine the type of tenancy that is applicable. Then they can serve the correct eviction notice.
The tenancy will likely be the default tenancy agreement which is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. If you want to evict your tenant ring the free landlord helpline.
Landlord helpline how do you evict a tenant?
The eviction process can become challenging, and you may need the help of an expert to navigate this process. You must serve a notice and then go to court if the tenant does not vacant upon the eviction notice expiring.
Should I sign a fixed-term tenancy agreement?
Many private tenancies start with a fixed-term agreement.
You can ask for a break clause to be included if you think you might want to leave early or as a landlord you might want your property back sooner.
For example, if you are worried that your situation might change because of coronavirus or for other reasons.
A break clause lets you or the landlord bring the agreement to an early end.
What tax do landlords pay?
See all the taxes that will likely apply to you as a landlord, including the recent changes to landlord tax relief on the buy-to-let properties. Check our blog with a list of things you can claim against tax.
What rent should I charge?
Whether you are a new landlord or an experienced letting agent – you will need to know how to set a reasonable rent that is suitable for the type of property and the area it is in. If you want to keep your tenant as a long-term tenant, you should consider charging an average rent for the market value rent for your property.
Some landlords may charge top rent achievable for their property only to find they have a frequent change of tenants. This results in void periods and other associated expenses removing the gains made from charging high rent.
Starter Checklist for landlords 2020
To help landlords prepare to let their property, we have come up with a list detailing some of the most important aspects and things to remember when it comes to letting out your property.
Dealing with problem tenants
As with any business, being a landlord carries risk. Keep records of any letters or messages you send to your tenants when you are trying to sort out problems. These will help if a legal dispute arises and you end up in court.
Issuing a notice to end a tenancy
There is a formal process that you must follow if you want to end a tenancy agreement with a tenant. The exact process you must follow depends on the type of tenancy in place.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Government has brought in new regulations to extend the notice periods given to tenants before legal action can be started to evict a tenant. Read more information on ending a tenancy and the amount of notice a landlord must provide a tenant during the COVID-19 crisis for private residential tenancies.
If a landlord, or their agent, tries to physically remove a tenant from the property. In that case, it will be an illegal eviction which is a criminal offence.
Landlord Helpline – Citizens Advice Bureau
Tenants who have been served with an eviction notice can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau who can offer free advice. You should be able to find the nearest Citizens Advice Bureau by using Google.
The Citizens Advice Bureau usually do not advise landlords. Landlords can ring some free landlord helplines like Landlord Advice UK, or if they are a member of the British Landlords Association or the NRLA, they will have access to Landlord Helpline.
Please note our Landlord helpline cannot advise on: –
- Planning or Building regulation problems
- Housing benefit problems
- How to complete court documents
- Advice or issues about long leasehold properties or problems with leasehold management companies
Our helpline Line can sometimes get busy if in a rare chance you cannot get through please try again or email us.
You can email our helpline with your query. Note you must say the full name of the member holding the BLA membership.
Members dedicated Landlord helpline: 01293 855700
Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
The British Landlords Association is a free national association, join us today for a free lifetime membership.
Date: 1st of December 2020 Author: Sarah Featherstone [email protected]
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