CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FOR LANDLORDS
Bonallack & Bishop remain open for business and hope to provide as near a full service as normal – for both existing and new clients.
To minimise the need for direct face-to-face contact, we are happy to run your case by phone, video call or email
Our landlord and tenant team have plenty of experience with all aspects of Landlord and Tenant Law, and the tenancy disputes that sometimes arise.
Our Lawyers advise a range of individual and corporate landlords – as well as managing agents, letting and estate agents, and property developers in respect of both commercial and residential properties – both locally throughout Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire from our four offices in Salisbury, Fordingbridge, Andover and Amesbury– and throughout England and Wales.
For FREE initial phone advice on any aspect of Landlord Law, just call our Lawyers on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 now.
Whether you’re just starting off with a single buy to let, or with you have a portfolio of residential or commercial property, there are going to be times when you have problems with tenants. And that’s where we come in – with practical, cost-effective and commercial advice tailored to suit your individual circumstances.
And our team has the expertise you need. But don’t just take our word for it.
1. We are one of just three law firms nationwide formally approved by Progressive Property – the country’s leading property education business
2. The head of our dispute resolution team, David Patterson, is a member of the Commercial Litigation Association (CLA) – the UK’s only national group dedicated to promoting the interests of all involved in business dispute resolution.
Landlords’ Solicitors – How we can help you
- Assignments and sub-letting
- Assured Shorthold Tenancies
- Block management disputes Click here to read more about how our property team support block management companies.
- Boundary disputes – Click here to read more about boundary disputes
- Business lease termination and review
- Claiming rent arrears from former tenants
- Collective or leasehold enfranchisement. Click here to read more about lease enfranchisement.
- Dilapidation disputes
- Evicting tenants
- Ground rent disputes and debt recovery
- Lease forfeiture and possession
- Licence to alter/Licenses for work
- Leasehold extension work. Click here to read more about lease extension.
- Service charge disputes – both recovering unpaid service charges and challenging excessive service charge demands
- Title splitting
Specialist service for the landlord and freeholder
Although, as you will see above, we provide a full range of legal services for landlords, there are 3 areas where the firm has exceptional specialism
- Acting for property investors. Within the firm we have set up a specialist team to act for property investors. The team includes specialists in residential and commercial conveyancing, leasehold issues, property disputes, landlord and tenant issues, commercial agreements (such as Joint Ventures and loan agreements) and a specialist property tax accountant.
Click here to read more about our property investment team
- Lease extension and freehold purchase. The vast majority of property solicitors only come across lease extension, let alone enfranchisement, only occasionally. We have a specialist team dealing with nothing but lease extension and freehold purchase – and we complete over 350 lease extensions for both freeholders and leaseholders every year.
Click on the link to find out more about how we can help you with lease extension and freehold enfranchisement.
What happens if the tenant doesn’t vacate my property at the end of the lease, or when any notice period expires?
It’s really important to note that a landlord cannot remove a tenant by force. If any tenant fails to properly vacate the premises, the landlord will have to start the eviction process through the County Court.
Evicting tenants – what’s the difference between section 21 and section 8 notices?
A Section 21 notice is the right method to use if you just want to have your property back at the end a fixed term. However a Section 8 notice is the right document to serve if your tenant had broken the terms of the lease
3 types of Possession Order for the Landlord
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply to the County Court for one of the following three different possession orders:
1. a standard possession order is the correct order if your tenants fail to vacate the property by the date specified on the eviction notice and there is still rent owed owed. You can also use a standard possession at the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, or if a break clause has been properly triggered under the lease. Landlords can apply for a standard possession order online.
What’s more, there’s no need to give any reason to claim possession when serving a Section 21 notice.
2. an accelerated possession order may be appropriate if you’re simply looking for eviction and not claiming any unpaid rent.
3. a warrant for possession is the correct order if your tenants are refusing to vacate the property. A warrant of possession permits bailiffs to remove tenants from your property
Can I evict my tenant while a fixed term lease is still running?
Yes, a landlord can apply for eviction in this way– but only if certain conditions have been fulfilled, the most common of which are as follows:
• the tenant hasn’t paid rent
• the tenant is responsible for antisocial behaviour
• the lease includes a ‘break clause’ permitting the landlord to repossess the property before the fixed term lease comes to an end
What is a Licence to Occupy?
A Licence is simply a personal agreement between a property owner and a licensee who is entitled to non-exclusive occupation of a property for a set period – perhaps 6 or 12 months
Do I need to apply to court to evict a tenant under a licence?
No – you will only need to give a licensee ‘reasonable notice’ to quit.
What does “reasonable notice” mean here? Commonly reasonable notice will be the rental payment period – e.g. if the licensee pays you rent every rent week, then one week’s notice is necessary. Although the notice does not have to be in writing, it always sensible to do so, to avoid any misunderstandings or certainty.
At the end of that notice period, you’re entitled to change the lock on their room – even if their possessions are still in the room
Handling your Tenancy Dispute at the County Court or the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber
As a landlord or property investor, things don’t always go is planned.
Sometimes disputes with tenants, or others, can be resolved simply by negotiation,
If not, with more expensive disputes, mediation is often the best way forward.
But sometimes the only alternative is a Court or Tribunal application. The right venue depends on the legal issue involved. So, for example, eviction of a residential tenant could involve an application to the County Court, whereas disputes in relation to park homes, service charges, extending a lease and lease enfranchisement or an application for Court-Appointed Property Manager, would be dealt with by the First Tier Property Tribunal
You can instruct us, safe in the knowledge that our leasehold team regularly deals with these kind of applications – with a wide variety of property issues for landlords. These range from tenant eviction, block management and lease extension disputes, to arguments about service charges and recovery of ground rent.
Click here to read more about how the First Tier Property Tribunal works.
FREE phone advice for landlords and freeholders
In our opinion, far too many landlords make unnecessary mistakes by going without specialist legal advice.
Don’t rely on an agreement downloaded from the Internet or borrow from a friend without getting it checked by a solicitor to see if it’s right for your particular circumstances. Cutting corners and relying on DIY legal documentation is becoming an increasing source of problems for landlord.
Getting these type of documents or the procedure wrong, can prove very expensive indeed. And what’s more, it’s largely unnecessary.
Take advantage of our free phone legal advice and avoid an unnecessary risk to your business. You don’t even have to pay for the price of a phone call – just call our team on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544.
Beware early signs of trouble with tenants
Watch out for warning signs such as late or non payments of rent or any other indication that the tenant may be having financial problems. Never let significant arrears build up – take early appropriate action, including legal advice on your available options. Equally keep a close eye on the state of your rented property and make sure that dilapidations don’t build up – or you risk financial bills for repairs which your tenant simply may be unable to pay.
Advising Commercial Tenants and Landlords
In addition to representing landlords of residential property, we also regularly deal with both landlords and tenants of commercial property.
And when it comes to renting a property for your business, you need to know where you stand and what you are taking on.
It’s particularly important that you understand the main terms of your lease – and that’s why any business taking on a commercial tenancy really needs specialist legal advice.
Here at Bonallack and Bishop we can provide the advice you need. We’ll make sure that the lease you sign is the right lease for you and we will fully explain its meaning to you in plain English so that you understand your new responsibilities from day one – because most of your new obligations will depend on exactly what it says in the lease, and commercial leases vary considerably from one to another.