Landlords – look after your property or face the Courts

Landlords – look after your property or face the Courts

“Landlords – avoid Court action by looking after your property”

Landlords, you are up to speed with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, aren’t you?

This legislation means that Tenants can take direct action over substandard property, rather than having to rely on their Local Authority to pursue a Landlord who fails to adequately maintain it.  Courts will not only be able to force Landlords to carry out repairs, but can also award damages to Tenants.

The scope of the legislation is wide-ranging, although it is primarily designed to prevent Landlords forcing Tenants to accept substandard, unsafe or unsanitary accommodation.  Included are issues such as blocked drains, damp walls, inadequate ventilation, lack of natural light, etc.  The legislation extends the requirements of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as well as numerous other laws requiring Landlords to ensure safety in respect of electricity, gas, fire, boiler servicing, etc.  The Government’s existing Housing Health and Safety Rating System provides extensive guidance on this.

Of course, a good Landlord would immediately respond to a Tenant’s concern over, say, a dampness issue.  But this could now ‘go legal’ if nothing is done about it.  The problem is for those conscientious Landlords who have entrusted their property management to a Letting Agent who might not be so fastidious.  As we’ve stated before, the Landlord still retains liability.  It could be costly to assume that these extended requirements are being adhered to – or even recognised.

On-going property maintenance…

In some ways, the easy part of letting is finding a Tenant – but it takes ongoing care, consideration and an extensive understanding of current and ever-changing regulations to ensure that a property investment is not only profitable, but legal too.  We’d therefore recommend that Landlords check their property now and if there are any doubts over their Agent’s commitment to maintain it in a decent state of repair, do something about it.

There are of course commercial advantages to being a fantastic Landlord with an equally fantastic (and professional) Managing Agent; a happy Tenant stays longer and pays more.  Our rule of thumb is to ask “what standards would we expect if we lived there ourselves?”  The answer to this question goes far beyond the minimum standards required by law.  It means a clean oven, clean grouting, a new shower curtain, fresh carpets, clean windows, no dripping taps, good furniture, nice paintwork, well-hung cupboard doors, a neat garden, etc.

Call us on 01273-735237 or for an initial discussion about how your Tenants can expect to enjoy your investment as much as you should enjoy your return on it.  And avoid the legal consequences …