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Landlords beware when seeking re-possession of your properties

Landlords beware when seeking re-possession of your properties

Government rules on evictions may have protected some vulnerable tenants from becoming homeless during the pandemic, but what damage have they caused to private, residential landlords?

At Alsters Kelley Solicitors I have seen a marked increase in enquiries regarding evicting tenants and taking back possession of properties that landlords, in most cases, have worked tirelessly over many years to purchase and receive an income from and now, for whatever reason, that income has ceased.

While there are cases where tenants need protection from eviction there are also circumstances in which landlords too, need protection. One of the things that I have noticed from these instructions for residential re-possession is that often landlords are not able to seek an Order from the Court granting them possession of their property as soon as they should be able to, because of a number of different reasons.

The most common Notice landlords seek to serve upon their tenants is known as a “Section 21 Notice”, but the following hurdles must be overcome in order to ensure this Notice is valid:

  1. The landlord and tenant must have entered into a valid Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
  2. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be at least six months old.
  3. The landlord must have protected any deposit paid by the tenant in an accredited Tenancy Deposit Scheme and have a copy of the Certificate from that scheme.
  4. The landlord must have provided the tenant with the “prescribed information” regarding the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
  5. The landlord must have provided the tenant with valid Energy Performance Certificates and Gas Safety Certificates for the property covering the whole of the period of the tenancy.
  6. At the beginning of the tenancy the landlord must have provided the tenant with the most up to date ‘How to Rent’ guide.

All the documents mentioned above must have been provided to the tenant in hard copy, unless the tenant has given the landlord written confirmation that each document can be emailed to them.

All of these steps must have been taken before the Court will even consider if your Section 21 Notice is valid and if it has been served correctly.

If you are a landlord looking to take back possession of your property, then you must be certain you have overcome all the hurdles and served the relevant Notice in the correct way before proceeding. If a letting agent manages your property you must ensure that they have acted in accordance with the above. Recently I have spoken with landlords who have found their letting agents’ knowledge and training in this area may be out of date or lacking and this can cause barriers to landlords obtaining possession of their properties.

Unfortunately, keeping up to date with the current government regulations regarding re-possession of residential properties has been particularly difficult for landlords and letting agents during the pandemic, which has caused some confusion.

There are, however, ways to overcome these hurdles; if you are a landlord already in this situation or a landlord looking to protect yourself, please call me on 02477 710242 or email me at ben.chase@alsterskelley.com. I can offer a full range of services to residential landlords, from drafting Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements to serving various types of legal notices upon tenants and seeking possession orders from the Court. Please do not hesitate to call or email me for a no-obligation chat about how I can help you.


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