Don’t forget your responsibilities

Posted: 20th Dec 2017

Any responsible landlord is likely to be aware of their responsibilities towards their tenants. They have a legal obligation to ensure that any let property is safe and free from health hazards – essential considerations for your tenants, of course, yet also crucial to your running a profitable, legally compliant business, that also meets the conditions of your landlord insurance policy.

So basic are the mutual responsibilities and obligations to the relationship between landlord and tenants that it is surprising how few of them appear to know or understand the gist of many – including those enshrined in the law.

The magazine Landlord Today revealed these surprising findings in an article dated the 16th of November 2017.

The results of a survey of some 2,000 adults found that:

Unaware landlords

  • 16% of landlords were unaware of the fact that a tenant must be given a minimum of two months notice of any intention to evict them under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988;
  • 14% of landlords were not aware that they must give at least 24 hours notice to any tenant before entering the accommodation they are renting;
  • a further 14% of landlords did not know that it is their responsibility for arranging and paying for all repairs to the outside of the let property;
  • 12% of landlords claimed not to know that they must place deposits received from tenants for safekeeping with an approved, independent protection scheme, in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme; and
  • more than one in four landlords (27%) were unaware that their tenants have the right to challenge the rent they are charged if it is not in keeping with those charged for comparable properties in the area;

Unaware tenants

  • unsurprisingly, perhaps, tenants appear to have even less knowledge of their rights – whatever their tenancy agreement may say or fail to point out;
  • more than one in three tenants (34%), for example, were unaware of their right to insist on any deposit they handed over being placed in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme;
  • 37% of tenants were ignorant of the landlord’s requirement to give at least two months notice of any intention to evict them under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, as amended;
  • a further one in every three tenants (34%) were unaware of their landlord’s requirement to provide them with the latest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the let premises;
  • more than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed were unaware that their landlord had to give at least 24 hours notice before entering the accommodation they are renting;
  • half of the tenants interviewed (50%) did not know they had the right to challenge the rent charged by their landlord if it was not similar to that charged for comparable properties in the area; and
  • 43% of tenants were unaware of the procedures for challenging, through the Housing Ombudsman Service, any excessive charges imposed by their landlord.

Despite the wealth of advice available to both landlords and tenants on their respective responsibilities and rights, it is clear that many gaps in knowledge and understanding exist. If you are a landlord, therefore, don’t forget your responsibilities – a lack of understanding might put your landlord insurance at risk.