Landlord and Tenant (section 21 notice; section 8 notice; possession proceedings; dilapidations claims; rent arrears; enforcement of covenants

Residential tenancies can only be brought to an end in certain specific circumstances and by using the correct notice procedure, set down in the Housing Act 1988, as amended.

Different notices have to be served depending on why the notice is being served and when. If the notice is served on a tenant incorrectly it may be invalid, meaning a tenant can legally remain in the property for the time being. This may give the tenant more time to find alternative accommodation, but parallel to that is the risk for landlords of tenants remaining in default of tenancies by failing to pay rent for example.

If a tenant has paid a deposit and it has not been protected, with the correct information being provided to the tenant, the notice served on the tenant may be invalid, causing delay in the landlord being able to recover possession of the property. If the correct procedure is not followed and locks are changed on the property, with the tenant being evicted, they may be entitled to claim damages from the landlord for unlawful eviction. There may also be a claim if the locks are changed by the landlord mistakenly believing the tenant to have moved out of the property, which can also amount to unlawful eviction. Calculating the required period for any notices which are required to be served to bring a tenancy to an end can be complicated, as it may be affected by the parties’ actions, bank holidays and the way it is served on the tenant.

The easiest way to ensure you don’t fall into any of the above traps is to know your rights, make sure you are aware of the procedures and ensure they are followed correctly. If not, you could be ordered to pay costs/or damages to the other side.

Claims can also be brought against tenants to recover rent arrears and compensation for any damage they cause to the leased property, known as dilapidations. Other claims can also be available if there are obligations and covenants within the lease which have not been adhered to, which too can affect the validity of any notices served.

We can assist landlords and tenants to resolve disputes in the most cost and time effective way possible today, guiding you through the pitfalls and reducing your risk!

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