Take your Landlord to Court

Take your Landlord to Court

“Landlord’s & Tenant’s property”

Take your Landlord to Court

Landlords, you are up to speed with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, aren’t you?  If you aren’t, you’re in danger of Court action.  Do a Google search and you’ll see that ‘Take your Landlord to Court’ is a popular search term!

The legislation means that, in other words, Tenants can take direct action over substandard property.  They no longer have 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.

Landlord Property Repairs

Firstly, the scope of the legislation is wide-ranging.  Primarily it is designed to prevent Landlords forcing Tenants to accept substandard, unsafe or unsanitary accommodation.

Included are issues such as

  1. blocked drains
  2. damp walls
  3. inadequate ventilation
  4. 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.  These are in respect of

  1. electricity
  2. gas
  3. fire
  4. boiler servicing etc.

The Government’s existing Housing Health and Safety Rating System provides extensive guidance on this.

A responsible Landlord would immediately respond to a Tenant’s concern over, say, a dampness issue.  Of course, if they failed to respond 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.

Property Maintenance

Secondly, in some ways, the easy part of letting is finding a Tenant.  However, 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.  If there are any doubts over their Agent’s commitment to maintain the property in a decent state of repair, do something about it.

Rule of Property Thumb

There are of course commercial advantages to being a fantastic Landlord with an equally fantastic (and professional) Managing Agent; above all, a happy Tenant tends to stay longer and pays more rent with the result that you’ll have fewer void periods.

Finally, our rule of property 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:

  1. a clean oven
  2. clean grouting
  3. a new shower curtain
  4. fresh carpets
  5. clean windows
  6. no dripping taps
  7. good furniture
  8. nice paintwork
  9. well-hung cupboard doors
  10. a neat garden, etc.

Call us on 01273-735237 or enquiries@callaways.co.uk 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 …