Successful Landlords Avoid Trouble and Keep to the Law
By |Published On: 9th September 2013|

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Successful Landlords Avoid Trouble and Keep to the Law

By |Published On: 9th September 2013|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Not only can tenants be difficult, there are also complaints from tenants having issues with landlords.

This can be a problem for landlords, with all landlords now having to register with their local authorities. Some of the matters that cause disputes between tenant and landlord are outlined and explored below. Avoid these troubles, and keep to the law, to be as successful as possible.

Successful Landlords Avoid Trouble and Keep to the Law

Successful Landlords Avoid Trouble and Keep to the Law

Increasing rent

When deciding to raise rents, it is important to take into account how and when this can be done. Rents cannot be increased throughout the fixed tenancy period, so if a tenant is in an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), the original timeframe must be kept to before rents can be discussed.

At this point, a landlord must give their tenant notice, unless there is a rent review clause in the agreement. An increase must be fair and cannot be raised more than once in a twelve-month period.

Not returning the deposit

If there are reasons for keeping hold of a tenant’s deposit, these need to be explained and made clear. Minor reasons should not cause a deposit to be withheld. By creating a detailed inventory of the condition of the property and everything in it, signed by both landlord and tenant at the start of the agreement, arguments can be avoided at a later date.

If the tenancy is an AST taken out after 6th April 2007, the deposit should be invested into an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. If a dispute arises over the property’s condition, and the landlord wishes to withhold some of the deposit, the scheme provider may be able to give advice. If an agreement cannot be reached, they can also mediate the matter.

Visiting without warning

A landlord cannot turn up at the property unannounced, even if there is suspicion over what’s going on there. A tenant must be given reasonable notice, preferably in writing and in agreement, before a landlord carries out an inspection on the property.

It is acceptable for a landlord to check up on their property, however the tenant is permitted quiet enjoyment of the house.


Rules and notice periods are in place that must be followed in regards to eviction of tenants. The correct forms and timeframes need to be adhered to. If eviction proceedings go to a court hearing, a landlord can take the fall if they haven’t paid attention to the law. It is a criminal offence to evict a tenant in any way but obtaining a court order for possession.

In the majority of cases, under an AST, the landlord must give the tenant two months’ notice, but no reason has to be given. A court order for eviction will still need to be obtained, unless the tenant has already left before that time.

If there are rent arrears, or the tenant broke the terms of the agreement, there are different procedures. Given that the landlord has observed all of the correct rules and actions for the type of tenancy, an eviction order can still be gained. However, in the case of rent arrears, a tenant may plead poverty, and could receive an order allowing them to stay in the property and continue paying rent plus arrears.

Appalling behaviour by landlords has resulted in fines, penalties, and even jail sentences. There are a small minority who aren’t capable of properly letting a property, but even the best landlords should take note of the possibility of a civil case, and the importance of communication.

The most crucial thing to do in becoming a landlord is understanding the laws and regulations involved in letting. Legislation does not need to be studied, but being mindful of specifics of a dispute is of great importance. Even if you know this, but are breaking the law, you are liable to be prosecuted.

Landlords are legally obliged to allow tenants the freedom of their property, but it is vital that all rules are explained before they move in. With documenting this, however, it cannot be proven that tenants were told of specifics. Landlords should note every conversation and keep records.

If a landlord is not practising properly, then they will have no defence, however landlord cover can pay the costs if a tenant takes you to court. It is a good idea to sign up to a buy-to-let property firm to ensure their backup should there be a dispute.

Some of the negative coverage of landlords has resulted in tenants looking for the worst in their landlord. If the laws are understood, all explanations recorded, and suitable support, the risk of renting will be removed.

About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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