Landlord Myths

You can’t do this, you must do that – it’s no wonder a landlord can get confused about their own rights! The good news is we’re here to set the record straight on exactly what you must and must not do when letting property and what rights a landlord has.

Common Landlord Myths

If the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlord has the right to take back the property

As unfair as it seems a landlord does not have the right to simply take a property back even if the tenant is in rent arrears. The landlord must obtain a court order to recover possession of their property. If they don’t and attempt to take back the property, they are committing a criminal offence and the tenant may even be able claim compensation against them.

A landlord does not need a possession order if the tenant has left the property

Just because the property appears to have been abandoned by the tenant, it does not automatically mean they have left for good and given up their tenancy thus giving the landlord the right to reclaim it.

This can be quite a tricky situation and the landlord needs to tread carefully as if, in fact, the tenant has not given up their tenancy, the landlord may unlawfully evict the tenant and therefore commit a criminal offence. Should this happen, the tenant may have the right to claim compensation against the landlord.

Tenancy agreements have to be in writing

Actually they don’t; tenancy agreements can be oral as well as written.

It is however advisable to set out a tenancy agreement in writing so that all parties are clear as to the terms of the tenancy from the outset, protecting the rights of both the landlord and the tenant(s). If the landlord does not have a tenancy agreement to exhibit in court (if necessary) they won’t have the right to use the accelerated possession procedure to obtain an order for possession to regain the property.

The longer a tenant has been in a property, the more notice I need to give to get them to vacate

Provided a tenant has a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (see jargon buster for explanation) a landlord has the right to serve notice on them during the fixed term to vacate at the end of it. Alternatively a landlord can serve them with a two month notice following the end of the fixed term. The length of time the tenant has been in the property does not alter this.

A tenancy agreement automatically comes to an end when the fixed term end

This is not right. 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 (e.g. if the rent was paid monthly under the terms of the fixed term tenancy, then the tenancy will continue as a monthly periodic tenancy).

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