Nov 21, 2014
Becoming a landlord for the very first time can certainly be a daunting prospect. There’s a lot to think about – it’s not just as straightforward as giving someone the keys and collecting rent. Fortunately, there are lots of legal frameworks to guide you. It means there’s a fair amount of rules and responsibilities to work through, but ultimately they make things better for you and your tenant(s). Here are some of the key rights that you have on your side:
The Right to Rent
As a landlord you are entitled to your rental payment on the date agreed – no later. The law is there to help this happen, but bear in mind that you might need insurance to cover you if you need the rent soon after the tenant doesn’t pay.
The Right to Agree Terms
The contract is yours to create, allowing you to specify things like not allowing pets or smokers. The tenant must agree to these, and may not change anything without your approval. Bear in mind however that there are certain things you may not specify, as there are laws against certain acts of discrimination.
The Right to Receive Notice
As receiving your rent is part of your livelihood, and you need to know where you stand, you also need to know how far into the future you’ll have your income. For this reason, if outside a specific rental period, you have the right to receive notice from your tenant; they cannot simply up and leave. You’ll usually have a month.
The Right to Access
Getting access to the property is a natural part of being a landlord while you’ve got tenants. Whether it’s to carry out a routine inspection, or if you need to make repairs. Unless it’s an emergency however, you cannot simply turn up whenever you like. Written notice must be given, it should be at a reasonable time, and you need to have a good reason.
The Right to Be Notified of Repairs
If anything goes wrong at your property, then you’ll want to know about it. If for instance the boiler breaks, then the tenant has the responsibility to tell you so that you can get it fixed. The same goes for pretty much anything except normal wear and tear. If this doesn’t happen it can mean serious difficulties in getting the property back up to scratch when the tenant moves out.
There are many more legal responsibilities on top of those mentioned above, but these are the key ones that you should know. It’s a good idea to read through all the legal documentation available before you start.