Landlord FAQs

With over 30 years’ buy-to-let experience, we have been able to compile a collection of our most frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

My tenant does not have a written tenancy agreement – is that a problem?

No - tenancy agreements can be both oral as well as in writing. However, it is always advisable and good practice to set out a tenancy agreement in writing so that you and your tenants are clear as to the terms of the tenancy from the outset.

If you do not have a tenancy agreement to exhibit to the court you will be unable to use the accelerated possession procedure to obtain an order for possession.

Do the signatures on the tenancy agreement have to be witnessed?

Provided the fixed term is less than 3 years then the signatures do not have to be witnessed.

If there is a guarantee under the tenancy agreement and the guarantor does not sign the guarantee in front of you it is advisable for them to have their signature witnessed.

Should I insist that the tenant has a guarantor?

It depends on the tenant’s financial circumstances. If you have any doubt that the tenant will pay the rent it always makes sense to have a guarantor to give you a further party to pursue for the payment of rent.

I have an EPC and my tenants have now left. Do I need a new EPC before I let my property to new tenants?

EPCs are valid for a period of 10 years so providing the EPC is still valid you do not need a new one. You would only require a new EPC if you have made modifications to the property that have an impact on energy efficiency.

My tenant has stopped paying their rent to me – what can I do?

You can serve notice on your tenant under Section 8 Housing Act 1988 Notice under Grounds 8, 10 and 11.

If the tenant owes you 8 weeks/2 months of arrears at the time of service of the notice and at the time of the hearing the Court must grant you an order for possession.

Do I need my mortgage company’s permission to let my property?

It depends on the type of mortgage that you took out on the property originally. Some mortgages do have a restriction on lettings and therefore it is always advisable to check your mortgage conditions first and seek your lender’s consent prior to letting.

Don’t forget to inform your insurance company as well.

My tenant’s fixed term tenancy has come to an end – do I need to do anything now?

Not necessarily. When the fixed term of a tenancy agreement comes to an end the tenancy continues as a ‘periodic tenancy’ and will continue on similar terms to the fixed term tenancy.

You therefore only need to have your tenant enter in to another fixed term tenancy if you want to ensure that the tenant remains in the property for a further set period.

My tenant is causing nuisance to the neighbours of the property – what can I do?

You should have your neighbours provide you with as much evidence as possible of the nuisance caused.

Your tenancy agreement will likely include a condition that they are prohibited from causing a nuisance to neighbours of the property. You will therefore be able to serve a Section 8 Housing Act 1988 Notice on the tenant under Grounds 12 and 14.

Do I need an HMO Licence?

You will need to check whether your property is classified as an HMO (examples of HMOs are bedsits, shared houses or a shared flats). If your property is an HMO then you will need to check whether it requires a licence. If your property is a licensable HMO then yes you will need a license from your local authority.

It is important to check whether you require an HMO license as it is an offence to operate a licensable HMO without having obtained a licence. The current fine that can be imposed is £20,000.

My tenant has left the property – can I simply take it back?

No. Just because the property looks like it has been abandoned by the tenant does not necessarily mean that they have left for good and given up their tenancy.

You must tread very carefully in the situation as, if the tenant has not given up their tenancy, the landlord may unlawfully evict the tenant and therefore be committing a criminal offence and leave the tenant to potentially claim compensation against them.

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