Leaving a home standing empty can pose the threat of squatters, vandalism and theft. If your property is on the market but empty and taking a long time to sell, getting a tenant in may be a good option.
If you decide to rent out your property, you have rights and responsibilities as a landlord. You will need a tenancy agreement which should be drawn up by a solicitor as this is a legal document. The most common tenancy agreement is an ‘assured shorthold’; this means that you can:
- get your home back after six months should you need to
- evict tenants who are disruptive or causing a nuisance to neighbours
- get your home back earlier if rent is owed
- charge the going rate for the area.
Charlotte Wilson, a solicitor in our Commercial Property Team, frequently drafts tenancy agreements for landlords. Charlotte says “With an assured shorthold agreement allows you to agree the length of the tenancy with your tenant, either a ‘fixed term’ or an open ended agreement. The tenancy can be ended by you after the fixed term, or after the term plus two months written notice. If you have good reasons for wanting the tenant to leave, the tenancy can be ended.”
Evicting a disruptive tenant is called grounds for possession and the law sets out the reasons which a landlord can give for this. These are:
- The tenant owes at least two months or eight weeks rent
- The tenant is behaving anti-socially
- The tenant has caused damage to the property.
You must still write to the tenant to give them notice.
At the start of a new tenancy agreement the landlord must now ensure that the tenants deposit is protected. You can be ordered to repay three times the amount to the tenant under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which came into force in 2007, if this is not complied with. You must provide the tenant with details of the scheme, your contact details and information explaining the purpose of the deposit and what to do in the event of a dispute.
If you would like any advice on letting a property, please contact Charlotte on 01202 499255 to arrange a free initial appointment.