I have inherited a property and want to let it out. I've heard that the early stages are the most vital, is this right?

Question

I have inherited a house which I plan to let out and I’ve heard that I need to be careful at this early stage to get everything right in case I needed to evict the tenant in the future. Is that right?

Answer

Yes - careful pre-planning is now essential at the time of setting-up Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST).
The Section 21 eviction process for ASTs in England and Wales is a very valuable concession for landlords: it allows for no-fault (no reason required) eviction of tenants. But recent changes in the law means it is more difficult to use Section 21.

You need to be aware of the following circumstances in which the law says that a landlord cannot seek possession against a tenant using section 21 of the Housing Act 1988:

  1. Where the landlord has not provided the tenant with (a) an energy performance certificate, (b) gas safety certificate and (c) the Department for Communities and Local Government’s publication “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” (see the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015)
  2. Where the landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation.
  3. During the first four months of the tenancy. If the tenancy is a replacement tenancy, the four month period is calculated from the start of the original tenancy and not the start of the replacement tenancy.
  4. Where the landlord is prevented from ‘retaliatory eviction’ under section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015. See Urban.co.uk Q&A on Repairs
  5. Where a property requires a licence but is unlicensed.

It’s worth noting that any AST starting on or after 1 October 2016 needs the new form of Section 21 Notice - Form 6a.

As you are new to being a landlord you may want to think about whether to use our Tenant Finder Premium package until you feel confident about the administrative and legal side of renting a property.

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