Becoming a landlord: what are my rights?

From rent to right to enter, do you know your rights as a landlord?

Landlord advice

2 June 2017

There’s a lot written about tenants’ rights. But what are your rights as a landlord?

Here’s a summary of how the law in England and Wales protects you and your property.

A landlord's right to enter

You can enter your property to inspect it or carry out repairs, though you must give the tenants at least 24 hours’ notice, unless it’s an emergency. You can’t ask tenants to leave during repair work, except if it’s exceptionally disruptive or potentially hazardous. In this case, ask them to move out temporarily, and agree the period in writing.

Increasing rent

Your tenancy agreement should include details about rental reviews. Any increase must be reasonable and in line with the market. If it’s a periodic tenancy (rolling on a weekly or monthly basis), you can increase the rent once per year with a month’s notice, agreed in writing.

With a fixed-term tenancy, any increases depend on what’s established in the tenancy agreement, or simply wait until the term is over and increase rents for the next fixed term.

Troublesome tenants

If it's not possible to settle any disagreements informally, set out your concern in a letter or email, or use a mediation service to help solve the dispute. Failing this, you can take your tenants to the small claims court. If you’re having real trouble with your tenants, the Citizens Advice Bureau can advise you.

If it comes to eviction...

You are legally entitled to evict your tenants. However, if you don’t follow the correct procedures, they can claim you are harassing or illegally evicting them. The process you have to follow depends on what’s set out in the tenancy agreement.

Evicting tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy

Give your tenants a Section 21 notice to quit. If they haven’t left by the specified date, apply to the court for a standard possession order. If there’s no unpaid rent, speed things up with an accelerated possession order. By now, most tenants have packed their bags; if not, apply for a warrant for possession (in other words, sending the bailiffs in).

Excluded tenancy evictions

The process is easier if you have an excluded tenancy (such as a lodger). Simply give reasonable notice to quit, usually the length of the rental payment period. After this period, you are entitled to change the locks, even if they still have possessions in the property.

You can find a more detailed guide to everything you might need to know about being a landlord in our Complete Guide to Being a Landlord here.

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