Are you properly protected against claims by tenants and prosecutions by the authorities?Make Text Bigger
This is the 16th and last post in my 2017 Legal Update series. See the rest of them here.
During this legal update series, I have given you a brief overview of the main laws which apply to landlords renting in the private sector.
It’s a big topic and I have not been able to cover everything.
If you have read all the posts, you will see that there is a lot to know. And failure to comply with the rules can often be expensive.
If you get things wrong then
- You may have an issue with your tenants Or
- You may face action from the authorities.
Claims by tenants
These can be things like disrepair claims or claims for the penalty if you have failed to protect their deposit. Or they may be able to prevent you from evicting them through the courts.
Often tenants are reluctant to take action against landlords – for example if they are worried about losing their tenancy or because that they can’t afford legal fees. However, don’t count on this as there is a lot of advice ‘out there’ for tenants. I suspect, for example, that as the consumer protection laws (discussed in this post) become better known, they may start to be used more.
Don’t forget also that tenants can apply to the Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order as discussed in this post. This will be VERY expensive for you if it happens.
Action brought by the Authorities
Up until now the main complaint made about Local Authorities is that they don’t do enough enforcement work and allow rogue landlords to ‘get away with it’. However, the main reason for this in the past is lack of funds to employ and train the staff.
I discussed new enforcement procedures available to Local Authorities at some length in this post and am not going to repeat what I said there here. Other than to say that as of April 2017 action by Local Authorities has become much more likely as they can now keep the enforcement fines and penalties and use this to fund their enforcement action.
The best protection
The best protection you can have as a landlord or agent against any sort of enforcement action is to ensure that you are fully up to date with the rules and that you comply with them – and can prove that you have complied. So, keep proper records of everything that you do.
I would advise therefore that you do as much training as possible – the cost of this will be considerably less than the fines and rent repayment orders you may incur if you don’t.
Doing the training
This legal update series has given you a lot of basic information which you can build on. Every post in the series has a section suggesting where you can find more information.
Much of this is to be found in the Easy Law Training online training courses.
Of course, you don’t have to get our training courses, there are other ways to keep up to date. This Propty118 site, for example, is a wonderful resource.
However, our Conference Course 2017 is especially recommended as it has talks on practically every aspect of landlord and tenant law from specialist lawyers, and is up to date (at the time of writing). So, it is very good all-round training. Plus, you get the speakers detailed notes.
Here are some suggestions for how you could use the online training:
- Watch one of the videos every day, ideally with another landlord or your business partner.
- If you are a letting agency or other property firm – why not watch the videos together – either as a firm or as a department – and have a group discussion afterwards?
- Use the courses for induction training for new staff members
- Watch the videos when travelling e.g. by train – the website is mobile friendly so you can watch it on your mobile devices.
However, the training courses do not just have videos. You can also download mp3 audios of all the talks. So why not listen to them:
- In the car when you are driving to your properties
- While you are doing maintenance work
- In the gym or while walking the dog, or
- While standing in a queue at the supermarket
Most of our online courses also carry CPD which you can get via an online multiple-choice quiz – an excellent way to help you remember what you have learned.
You need to build training into your life as a landlord or letting agent and make sure that you are always learning something new. This is the best protection you can have against legal claims – plus it will make you a better landlord or agent.
You will find more information about the Conference Course here.
Note that you can find details of all our training at any one time via the Easy Law Training website.
There is also a lot of information on my Landlord Law site plus members can always ask me questions in the members forum.
Note that we will be putting on a Landlord Law Conference in 2018. It will be held on 18 May and you can find out more here. Bookings will probably open in November.
Finally, I hope this legal update series has been useful for you. You will find all the posts here.
Tessa Shepperson is a specialist landlord & tenant lawyer and runs the popular Landlord Law online information service.
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