If you are a residential or commercial property owner, your primary concern is to protect your investment and rental income. Should a problem arise, our landlord and tenant lawyers can provide you with expert legal advice to minimise your costs and loss of income.
Our landlord and tenants lawyers can advise you on the following:
• Recovery of residential and commercial service charges on behalf of landlords, managing agents and management companies;
• Breaches of commercial leases;
• Residential and commercial rent arrears;
• Landlord’s responsibility / covenants;
• Residential and commercial repossession of property; and
• Residential and commercial repossession of property and rent arrears.
Service charges are levied by landlords typically to pay for the upkeep of the property, such as maintenance, repairs, building insurance and management costs. Not surprisingly, they are one of the main areas for dispute between tenants and landlords.
Your lease and/ or agreement will set out the extent of the service charge payable, however disputes can arise when tenants question the ‘reasonableness’ of the charges being claimed.
We are able to provide advice to landlords who are subject to a service charge challenge. You may be able to resolve any issues with your tenant directly, however, should you require expert legal advice on the merits of your case, our landlord and tenant lawyers are happy to help you understand the legal implications of your dispute, the procedure and the best course of action.
Possession and Eviction
If you a residential or commercial property owner and your tenant is unwilling to leave, you are able to obtain a Possession Order from the Court requiring them to do so.
If you are experiencing missed or delayed rental payments, you need to act fast to avoid increasing rent arrears which could lead to missed mortgage payments.
A landlord is almost never legally permitted to evict a tenant without ‘due process’. Therefore, if the tenant refuses to leave, a landlord must obtain a Court Order requiring them to do so. Should the tenant refuse to leave irrespective of the Order, the Court bailiffs can be instructed to carry out a physical eviction.
However, if the correct procedure is not followed to the letter, the Court may adjourn the claim, causing further delays. The Court also has the power to strike out the claim, which would mean having to start the process again. Failing to follow the correct procedure is potentially a criminal offence and can result in a claim for damages and/ or compensation against the landlord.
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988
A landlord can take possession of a property at the end of the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in accordance with Section 21 of the House Act 1988. To do so, the landlords is required to service a notice, giving the tenant at least 2 months to leave (a ‘Section 21 Notice’).
A landlord can also utilise the ‘Accelerated Possession Procedure’. If the case is well-founded and the paperwork is correct, there will be no defence available to the Accelerated Possession Proceedings.
This means that even if the tenant has a genuine complaint, the landlord will still be entitled to possession. The Judge will then deal with the matter without a hearing and will make an Accelerated Possession Order if satisfied with the paperwork. This process can saves a landlord both time and costs.
Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988
In accordance with Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, a landlord is able to take possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). The landlord would have to prove that the tenant has breached one or more of the terms of the tenancy, and/ or it satisfies one of the grounds for possession in the relevant legislation. The Housing Act 1988 provides 17 grounds on which a landlord may seek possession before the fixed term of a tenancy has finished. The most common of these grounds is the failure to pay rent and antisocial behaviour.
Section 8 notice claims for possession are usually only made when you require possession of the property during the tenancy and/ or there is a separate claim for rent arrears and / or a claim for damages.
As mentioned above, a landlord is unable to evict a tenant without first obtaining an Order for Possession from the Court. Before applying to the Court for such an Order, the landlord must serve a valid section 8 notice on the tenant allowing them 14 days to remedy any breach.
The notice must be laid out in a prescribed format and specify which grounds on which the landlord relies on to gain possession. Any discrepancies made when issuing the section 8 notice is likely to delay the landlord gaining possession. We therefore advise you to seek expert legal advice from our landlord and tenant lawyers as soon as possible.
Simply complete our enquiry form on the Home Page, email (email@example.com) or telephone us on 020 7228 2020 or 020 7095 0930.