Eight tips on being a landlord and the law

May 15, 2012

Landlord Information

The following points may be worth keeping in mind if you are about to become a landlord, though they should not be read as qualified legal advice:

  1. you should recognise that letting property brings with it certain legal obligations and it would be wise to make sure that you are very familiar with those;
  1. like it or not, your relationship with your tenants is governed, in a number of respects, by the law.  What this means is that you cannot to what you wish, when you may wish to do it, to your property unless you have the agreement of your tenants;
  1. for your protection, it may be advisable to ensure that you have a legally valid letting contract in place. Along with things such as landlord insurance or property portfolio insurance etc, this contract may be critically important to the success of your business;
  1. if a dispute breaks out between you and your tenants, it may be advisable to seek legal advice at the earliest stages.  If the dispute escalates, you may seriously prejudice your chances of a successful outcome if it is subsequently seen that you did not comply with the letter of the law at all stages;
  1. once your tenants are in place, it may prove extremely difficult to evict them, so it is of paramount importance that you very carefully select your tenants and ensure that they are people you will be happy to do business with;
  1. your legal rights to enter your own property, once tenants are in it, may be severely constrained by law.  Do not make the mistake of believing that you have automatic right of entry to your property;
  1. if your tenants appear to have fled leaving unpaid careers etc, you may still not have the right to automatically enter your property and may require a court order to do so;
  1. remember that you may be obliged to comply with certain legal minimum safety requirements as part of your activities as a landlord.  Do not slip up on these or omit them in an effort to save money – that might may prove to have serious consequences for you should something go wrong.
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