The Importance of Professional Landlord Advice

Buying and renting property is becoming increasingly difficult due to ever greater regulations governing residential property. The Housing Act 2004 introduced a great deal of new regulations covering deposits, houses of multiple occupation, and other safety standards. This act has also introduced stiff penalties for non compliance. These penalties range from a landlord not being able to repossess property from a tenant, financial penalties, and even criminal convictions. It is for these reasons that sound landlord advice is more important than ever before.

A good starting point for landlord advice is that landlords should remember that the landlord and tenant relationship is not just a contractual one but also a human one. Landlords should take time to get to know tenants, their circumstances, and their problems. This knowledge will prove invaluable when disputes arise and negotiation is used to resolve differences. Negotiation is far cheaper in both time and money when compared to using the courts to resolve disputes.

If the dispute is centred on non payment of rent then the landlord should investigate the reason why the tenant has failed to pay the rent. If, for example, the tenant has financial difficulties, has been made redundant, or has had a marriage or relationship break-up, it may be possible to secure Housing Benefit payments from the local authority to help pay the rent.

If the dispute is centred on property disrepair issues landlords should seek advice as to their responsibilities in this area. Landlords must consult both the relevant legislation and their tenancy agreement to see if they are responsible. Seeking advice from a landlord and tenant solicitor would be money well spent. The disrepair problem should be rectified immediately. Non payment of rent by the tenant is no excuse for delaying on repairs. Tenants can seek assistance from the various agencies offering help such as the local authority social services department dealing with housing benefit and local housing allowance benefits; the Housing Advice Centre and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Tenants will often qualify for legal aid and will be able to fund legal proceedings against landlords at no cost to themselves. Even if the tenant loses the case the landlord will not be able to recover his legal costs.

If the dispute is regarding a deposit and non-compliance with the Housing Act 2004 advice should be sort from a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor as the case law in this area is constantly evolving. Bartletts Solicitors are specialist landlord and tenant solicitors offering landlord advice on all areas of property law.

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