Five Costly Mistakes Landlords Make and How to Avoid Them. Introduction 3. Mistake #1 Relying too heavily on Agent s tenancy checks 4

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2 Contents Introduction 3 Mistake #1 Relying too heavily on Agent s tenancy checks 4 Mistake #2 Not serving Section 21 Notice at start of tenancy 4 Mistake #3 Not understanding the difference between a Section 21 notice and Section 8 notice 5 Mistake #4 Not keeping good records costs money 7 Mistake #5 Not engaging professional help 8 About the Author 9 What other people say 9 Page 2

3 Introduction Whether you re a new landlord or an accidental landlord, who has had a property left to you or an experienced Property investor or anything in between, you will at some time need to end a tenancy. Whatever the reason there is a legal process that has to be followed and if you don t have any experience it is easy to get it wrong. I have over 17 years experience in housing, from lettings, property inspections to rent arrears and legal enforcement. There are many different reasons why you may want to end a tenancy and depending on why, will influence how you deal with this and what notice you serve. My expertise and passion is in helping private landlords ensure that they take the correct action to end a tenancy. Whether it s because rent has not been paid or because you want vacant possession, in order to sell or any other reason, I can help. I have served hundreds of Section 8 and 21 notices; attended court on numerous occasions to secure possession, applied for bailiffs warrants and attended many evictions on behalf of the landlord. I am strongly committed to offering a professional personal service to landlords and it would be my pleasure to help you to end tenancies and take appropriate legal action on your behalf. It is my aim to take the stress away from you and protect your rental income. I hope you enjoy this report. Page 3

4 Mistake #1 Relying too heavily on Agent s tenancy checks As a landlord it is really important to ensure, as far as you can, you have good tenants. Tenants that will take good care of your property and pay the rent as and when it is due. Any responsible landlord will use the services of a lettings agent, they offer an excellent service. They have the facilities to do full financial checks on any potential tenant and they will also check employment records and previous landlords. However the mistake that a lot of landlords make is to rely on these checks without taking the time to review all the details for themselves. As a landlord it is your responsibility to ensure that you are entirely satisfied with the report on your tenants. Fortunately most tenants act responsibly and pay the rent on time but the few that do cause trouble will end up costing you money. Page 4

5 Mistake #2 Not serving Section 21 Notice at start of tenancy Most rented properties are let with an initial fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Fixing the term gives certainty to the landlord and the tenant that the property will be let for at least a certain amount of time. The landlord knows that he will receive a certain amount of rent, and the tenant knows he has occupation for at least a certain amount of time. It is good practice to serve a section 21 notice (s21b notice) at the beginning of the fixed term so that the tenant has plenty of warning that he must move out at the end of the fixed term. However, landlords should be careful not to serve the notice before the tenancy starts. If you want to serve the notice on the same day, then the tenancy agreement must be signed first. Page 5

6 Mistake #3 Not understanding the difference between a Section 21 notice and Section 8 notice Most landlords do not understand the different notices that can be served to end a tenancy and this is one reason why it is important to employ someone to do this for you. There are different notices to be served and which one you serve depends on the type of tenancy they have and why you want to end the tenancy. Section 21 notices can only be served if you have issued an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. There are two types of Section 21 notice, which one you use depends on whether the tenancy is in its fixed term or not when the tenant received the notice. If the tenant receives the notice during the fixed term (for example, 11 months into a fixed tenancy of a year) then the landlord should use a Section 21(b) notice (s21b). If the tenancy is or has become a periodic tenancy by the time the tenant receives the notice, then the landlord should serve a Section 21(a) notice (s21a). By law, the landlord must give at least two months' notice regardless of which type of Section 21 notice is served. The minimum notice period should start when the tenant receives the notice, not when the landlord sends it, so the landlord should factor in to the timing an allowance for delivery. The date on which the tenant is required to leave the property must be at least 6 months after the date the tenancy started. If your tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy agreement then you can take action within the fixed term by serving a Section 8 notice. The grounds Page 6

7 contained within a Section 8 notice are strictly regulated by statute. If the tenant has failed to pay rent for two months or more then serving a Section 8 notice on grounds 8 can be served. The notice period is usually 14 days. Most tenants will leave the property by the end of the notice period regardless of which notice is served but some will not. The next action you take will depend on the notice you served. With a Section 21 notice you can apply to the court for Accelerated Possession and this will usually be granted without the need to attend court. There will be court costs involved. If you have served a Section 8 notice you will need to apply to court for a Possession Order (PO) and depending on what grounds you listed will determine whether the PO is granted on mandatory or discretionary grounds. Either way there is a cost involved. Page 7

8 Mistake #4 Not Keeping Good Records Costs Money A lot of landlords particularly those that are new and inexperienced often don t keep adequate records. Once you have successfully selected a tenant, you will need to issue a tenancy; this is a legally binding contract between you and your tenant or tenants. It is important that it is signed by everyone involved and that you each have a copy. It is okay to correspond with your tenant via or phone but when you have any concerns about them, how the property is being looked after or the rent, always put this in writing and keep copies. If you need to serve any legal papers, notices etc., always serve either in person or by first class post and keep a copy. It is always a good idea to complete a certificate of service. If you have to take action through the court you will need to have copies of all correspondence, so that you can make your case in Court. It can be a costly mistake, if you have to take legal action and then find you do not have the correct notice or the details are wrong or you can t evidence your dealings with the tenant and the case is dismissed. You have not only incurred the costs of taking this action, it will take a minimum of six weeks to get the claim back to court and all the time you are losing rental income. Page 8

9 Mistake #5 Not Engaging Professional Help Lots of landlords make the mistake of treating their property portfolio as a hobby. Maybe, hoping things will take care of themselves. They assume that once the tenant has signed the tenancy they can sit back and reap the rewards. There is so much more to it than that. The properties you are renting out are your responsibility. If you do not regularly check in with your tenants and on the condition of the property you will have no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong. So where do I come in? If you want to end a tenancy for whatever reason, I offer a personal service at competitive rates, from serving the appropriate notice through the court process and to eviction. By engaging me you will receive a prompt and efficient service that will save you money in the long run and lots of worry and stress. Page 9

10 About the Author For me, the most important job I ve ever had was as a mother and there is no training available, you learn as you go. I successfully raised three lovely boys and I now have four beautiful grandchildren too. I have owned and let a number of properties of my own and fortunately I had a very good experience, with little or no issues. I employed and paid for the experience of a Lettings Agency. For me it was important to use the expertise of an agent because I was living abroad at the time and needed to feel secure in the knowledge that my property and rental income were in good hands. I have been working for over 17 years for a company ensuring that their tenant paid the rent on time and taking action when they fell into arrears. I personally managed 1500 properties. Whilst working for the company I was also involved with letting properties and property inspections among other things. My passion and expertise is in ensuring that the tenant pays their rent and in protecting the landlord s rental income. I enjoy taking the stress from the landlord and ensuring successful outcomes. Page 10

11 What Other People Say Before I engaged Lorraine s services, I was losing money because my tenant had stopped paying his rent, as a relatively new landlord this was my first experience of dealing with nonpayment of rent. I had lost over two month s rent before I took action. Lorraine helped me every step of the way. We discussed the different options and decided to serve both Section 21 and Section 8 Notices. Lorraine served these notices and after the 14 day period had expired she advised me to visit the property to ascertain if the tenant was still living at the property. I wrote to inform him that I would be visiting the property and has asked the police to attend. On the day of the visit I arrived at the property and discovered the tenant in the process of moving out. I am really pleased that I found Lorraine and used her services as it save me months of lost rent and it felt good knowing that I had a professional working with me to take the worry out of the process. I would recommend Lorraine to any landlord that needs to end a tenancy for whatever reason. She is very professional and offers a first class personal service. James London I had become a landlord when my mother died and left her house to me and my sisters. We decided to let it out because we had not been able to find a buyer. We used a Lettings Agent to find a suitable tenant and all was well for the first eighteen months. Then the tenant, who was on a state pension, applied for help from the local authority to pay her rent, unfortunately the payments she received in benefits did not cover the rent in full and so an arrear began to occur. Lorraine was able to advise me what action to take and subsequently I served a Section 21 notice. Once the notice had expired Lorraine completed the court application and finally issued the warrant to evict the tenant. I would not hesitate to engage Lorraine s services again should the need arise and would highly recommend her to any private landlord with similar issues with their tenant. She is very approachable and knowledgeable. Paul St Albans Page 11

12 Contact Telephone: Mobile: Website: Facebook: Lorraine-Burwood Page 12

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