At the start of the New Year the non-payment of rent by both commercial tenants and residential tenants is showing signs of being a big issue for Landlords. Swift action is recommended in both situations.

There are a number of self-help remedies available to commercial Landlords which can place them in an enviable position amongst any other creditors of the tenant. To take advantage of these remedies and to protect your investment we recommend that you take legal advice as soon as your tenant defaults on a rent payment even before you attempt to discuss the default with your tenant. Doing this can result in your having waived the right to utilise some of the remedies available to you.

If you have a residential tenant who has fallen into arrears with their rent and you wish to evict them from your property you must first serve your tenant with notice that you seek back possession of the property. The notice must be served strictly in accordance with the statutory provision which you rely upon to obtain possession and making even the smallest of errors on the drafting of the notice or the method of serving the notice can result in an application to the court for possession being denied.

This delay can add further financial burden upon you if the tenant is refusing to pay your rent during the court proceedings. You should seek legal advice before attempting to evict your tenant to ensure that the process is performed correctly.

Is your deposit secured?

If you have a residential property to let it is important that you ensure that you are aware of the legal obligations placed upon you as landlord both before the commencement of a tenancy and during the tenancy. The law now places an onerous obligation on landlords of residential property who take a deposit or bond from their tenant to secure that deposit in a government approved scheme within 14 days of payment of the deposit and to provide the tenant with confirmation of the deposit. In the event of a failure to comply landlords are exposed to a claim by their tenant for compensation three times the value of the deposit taken and it can, in certain circumstances, preclude and delay a landlord from obtaining back possession of the property.

If you have already taken a deposit from your tenant and failed to secure it into an approved scheme you should take advice before you attempt to serve notice on your tenant to seek back possession of the property. Your notice may be invalid.

We can advise you on the latest laws in this field. For further information, please contact Susan Lewis at Jordans Solicitors Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

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