When you let property, it’s essential that you’re aware of the legal rights, not only of your tenants, but yourself as a landlord too. As a landlord, it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with issues on a fairly regular basis, particularly if you own a lot of property. Knowing your rights can help you resolve problems much easier and potentially avoid legal costs and other issues.
Below is a full guide to your rights as a landlord that will help you to make the right decisions when dealing with things like problem tenants, rent increases, property damage and abandoned possessions.
Receiving rent on time
One of the most important aspects of being a successful landlord is ensuring that you receive rent from tenants on the due date. Although eviction is ultimately necessary for tenants that are unable or unwilling to pay, it’s usually better to try and resolve the issue before it gets to this point.
If you have been unable to get payment from a tenant, then you should first contact them to find out what the issue is. It could just be a one off problem but if a tenant is consistently missing payments, then they could be entitled to housing benefits to assist with paying the rent.
If you have a tenant this is missing payments regularly, then the next step is to go to small claims court. If the ruling goes in your favour, then the rent will be taken from the tenant’s wages and if you don’t receive payment within 14 days, then you’ll have the right to evict them and repossess the property.
Whether or not you can increase rent on your property will depend on the type of tenancy that’s in the tenancy agreement. If your tenant signed a fixed-term tenancy, then you can increase rent at any time, provided it’s mentioned in the agreement and that it’s a reasonable increase that’s suitable for the local property market.
In the case of a periodic tenancy, that’s renewed on a weekly or monthly basis, then you are only able to increase the rent once per year. Once you and your tenant have agreed upon the increase, you must submit the necessary form with at least a month’s notice in order for it to take effect.
Carrying out repairs and inspections
If you need to carry out any repairs or inspections on your property, then you are able to do this without seeking permission from your tenant, providing you give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. This of course, doesn’t apply in the case of an emergency. It’s important to note that although you are within your rights to enter the premises, the tenant is also within their rights to stay in the premises while the repairs or inspections are carried out.
Resolving issues with tenants
When problems arise with tenants, it’s usually better to try and deal with them informally to begin with – discuss things with your tenant and see what the issue is and how things can be resolved. If this fails, then you can also use a mediation service.
If you’re not able to resolve things amicably, then you have the right to go through small claims court.
Dealing with property damage
The process for dealing with damage to your furniture or fixtures should be laid out clearly in the tenancy agreement. Tenants should let you know immediately if this happens but as you would expect, this doesn’t always occur.
When dealing with serious property damage, such as from fire or flooding, then you need to have this repaired urgently as soon as you’re informed. Some landlords choose to take on the costs themselves but you also have the option to claim through your landlord insurance.
Evicting a tenant
Evicting tenants is something most landlords would rather avoid but problems can sometimes not be resolved and there is no other choice.
If it does get to a point where you need to evict a tenant, then it’s extremely important that you do it in accordance with the law. The process to follow will depend on the type of tenancy you have. You can read a detailed guide on evicting tenants in England and Wales on Gov.uk.
After you’ve evicted a tenant, you’re within your rights to keep any abandoned possessions they leave behind.
When to make a claim
There are certain problems that can be dealt with without the need to involve your insurance provider. Most landlords prefer to take this approach when possible to avoid their premiums increasing. However, there are times when it makes sense to claim on your policy. Examples of these include –
- Serious property damage – Structural damage that occurs to your property due to things like fire and flooding, must be dealt with immediately. It can be very costly to repair this type of damage, so it’s often better to claim through your insurance.
- Loss of rent – Most landlord insurance policies will compensate you for loss of rent until you’re able to resolve the matter yourself, either amicably or through the courts.
- Legal expenses – If you have to fight a claim in court, then you can claim the legal expenses through your policy if this type of cover is included.
Types of landlord insurance
Knowing your rights is of course important, but equally important is having the right type of insurance. Below are some of the main types of cover available –
- Private landlord insurance – This is the standard type of landlord insurance that you need to have as a UK landlord when you’re letting non-commercial property. It will typically provide cover for property damage, loss of rent and emergency repairs.
- Overseas and non-resident landlord insurance – Overseas landlord insurance is required when you’re letting property in the UK but you no longer live in the country.
- Expats landlord insurance – Expats landlord insurance is essentially the same things as overseas landlord insurance. You will usually want to have somebody managing your properties for you as well as taking out a good insurance policy.
Get landlord insurance quotes
Whether you’re currently letting property or plan to in the near future, good landlord insurance is a must. If you want to get landlord insurance quotes from a panel of specialist providers, then simply click the green button below and you can have quotes within a matter of minutes.