Having read a really interesting article by a respected colleague in the Industry Press, I felt compelled to mirror his sentiments , about how easy it is to lose a court case.
With the immense backlog – due to COVID 19, and the additional hoops we have to jump through. The length of notices etc. Landlords cannot afford to get this wrong. We have also noticed an increase in Agencies giving tenants this information so that they can formulate a defense
So this article will detail the common mistakes
So here are the most common mistakes !
- Is your property a HMO ( House of Multiple Occupancy) ? Do you have a license ?
How many people reside in your rental property. Does it meet the regulations? DO you have a license? If you should and you don’t then the Section 21 notice becomes invalid – and the court case will be thrown out !!!
2. Did you protect the Deposit? And provide the appropriate documentation within the correct timescale
When you took the deposit did you protect it in one of the Government Schemes ? Did you do it within 30 days ?
Did you provide the correct information within 30 days ? If you failed to do one or both of the above unless you have refunded the deposit – then the Section 21 notice becomes invalid – and the court case will be thrown out !!! And in addition to that you could be sued for four times the deposit by the tenant
3. Any issues/complaints with maintenance ?
Has your tenant reported any maintenance issues to the Council – have they acted ?
Legislation dictates that if in the previous six months before the Section 21 is issued that the tenant has complained to the Council and they have served either an improvement notice or an emergency remedial notice (for disrepair) – then the Section 21 notice becomes invalid – and the court case will be thrown out !!!
4. Did the landlord take monies they shouldnt have ?
With the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 , it became unlawful for landlords/Agents to charge tenants particular fees. And if the tenant is able to prove that you have , and you fail to refund them ,then the Section 21 notice becomes invalid – and the court case will be thrown out !!!
The only fees you can charge legally are :
- A deposit of no more than 5 weeks rent
- A holding deposit of no more than 1 weeks rent
- Charges by your landlord for bills that weren’t included in your tenancy agreement (eg Gas, Electricity, TV Licence, Council Tax)
- A fee more than £50 for a change to the tenancy agreement or new tenancy agreement
- Interest on late rent of no more than 3% over base rate.
5. Have you been given the right documentation
If you have attended any of our landlord events which you can see here you should know all about the Deregulation Act which came in on October 1st 2015
This Act stated that at the beginning of a tenancy, a landlord has to provide the tenant with a number of essential documents. If they didn’t, then they will be unable to issue a section 21 notice. Those documents are: the ‘How to Rent’ booklet(the right one) , a Gas Safety certificate, and an energy performance rating. The EICR has now been added to this list !!!! Havent ? Then the Section 21 notice becomes invalid – and the court case will be thrown out !!!
Yes, it’s an absolute minefield BUT it is OUR full-time job to make sure we keep on top of the 175+ pieces of legislation. If you are feeling overwhelmed, sign up to our blog or get in touch email@example.com