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The law regarding landlords and tenants

Landlord tenant laws apply to certain types of tenancies. The landlord of a property is the person who owns the freehold of the property, and the tenant is the person who lets the property from the landlord.

The terms of the letting are recorded in an agreement, which is commonly known as a ‘tenancy agreement’. There are different types of tenancy agreements. 

The law

The cornerstone of landlord tenant laws is the Landlord and Tenant Act (the Act). Under this Act, a landlord may (amongst many other things) be obliged to implement repairs to a property let by a tenant. If you have a repairs issue, you should contact a housing solicitor as soon as possible.

They may be able to compel the landlord to carry out the repairs. They could also help you sue the landlord for damages if they refuse to fulfil their legal obligations.

Types of tenancy

Some of the main tenancies which are regulated by law are:

  • Assured
  • Assured short-hold
  • Secure tenancies

You can often determine which type of tenancy a tenant has by finding out whom their landlord is. If they have a private landlord, it is likely that the tenant will be occupying the property under an assured short-hold tenancy agreement.

The tenancy agreement

Landlord and tenant laws are designed to regulate the tenancy agreement and imply certain terms into the agreement.

Commonly, a tenancy agreement is likely to contain terms on the following matters: 

  • Rent payments
  • Repairs
  • Use of the property
  • Deposit and insurance

If you are experiencing trouble with your landlord, or your tenant, then you may be able to find a legal solution to your problems using landlord and tenant law.

Landlords can sometimes have trouble with tenants not paying rent, or with tenants ruining their property and in these circumstances a landlord may wish to evict the tenant. 

If you are a landlord that has granted an assured short-hold tenancy to a tenant then you cannot evict a tenant without a possession order from a court. If you granted a tenancy before 1997 then you should consult a solicitor as there are important differences in landlord and tenant law.

Gaining possession

Landlords wishing to gain possession of their property without expiration of the tenancy must have grounds for wanting repossession and these grounds should be cited in the tenancy agreement. 

Some grounds are mandatory which means that a court must grant a possession order if the ground is proven, others are discretionary, meaning the court will only grant a possession order if it is reasonable to do so, with consideration of all of the facts of the case. 

If you wish to get a possession order you may need a solicitor to advise you on the relevant aspects of landlord and tenant law. Landlords may also need help in drafting documents and sending to the relevant court as failure to properly follow procedure can result in the process of gaining a possession order being delayed.

Deposit schemes

One problem with landlord and tenant law in recent years has been the problem of landlords unreasonably withholding deposits and tenants having difficulty retrieving their deposit without legal action. In order to combat this problem, the tenancy deposit protection scheme was introduced. 

The scheme has two main methods: 

  • The custodial scheme
  • The insurance-based scheme

The custodial scheme means that when the landlord receives the deposit, they must send the deposit to the third party within fourteen days of receipt. The third party will hold the money until the end of the tenancy and if the landlord and tenant both agree on the sum to be returned, the money will be returned to the tenant. 

The insurance scheme allows landlords to retain the deposit, but they will have to return the deposit to the tenant or pay it to the third party in the event of a dispute.

Of course, these are just some aspects of landlord and tenant law, and there are many other aspects which require investigation in order to fully understand your position. A specialist solicitor can help you enormously with any queries you may have.

For further information on dealing with disputes, see our page on landlord and tenant disputes.

Do you have a legal issue relating to landlord and tenant law? Caven can put you in touch with a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor who can help you resolve disputes or draft tenancy agreements. Please call us on 0808 129 5759 or complete the web-form above.