As a landlord, in return for rent paid, the tenant has the legal right to expect the property’s main structure to be safely maintained and to be able to enjoy uninterrupted occupation of the dwelling during the agreed period of the tenancy. During that time and as the landlord, you will also be responsible for ensuring that everything supplied with the property remains in perfect working order. The tenant will be responsible for the overall day to day internal condition of the property, but nothing structural or which relates to services. If there is a leaking pipe, it is your responsibility as landlord to have it repaired, not the tenant’s responsibility. If there is a leaking roof, it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix it. If there is gas central heating, it is your legal responsibility to get the gas boiler serviced every year.
In the simplest of terms, being a landlord doesn’t just involve buying a property, finding a tenant and receiving rent, there is appreciably more involved, and you can become as involved as you wish on a personal level.
However, while we are discussing the legal aspects of being a landlord and what would be required of you, there is also the law which exists behind what you are not allowed to do. For a start, you are not allowed to increase the rent during an agreed period for the lease. You are within your rights to increase the rent as much as you wish when the tenancy agreement comes up for renewal, but before that your hands are tied.
Unless the tenant is in agreement, you cannot legally enforce them to vacate the property prior to the ending of the tenancy agreement.
If a tenant falls behind on rental payments, you are legally entitled to serve them with notice to quit the premises. However, if the tenant refuses, legally you are not allowed to evict them from your property, which also included changing the locks when they are not present. Believe it or not, if you do that, you will be charged with breaking and entering, even though you own the property.
If your tenant falls behind on rent, you have to apply for an eviction notice through the courts, and the tenants can only be evicted by court-appointed bailiffs if they refuse to vacate the premises of their own volition. This is the down side of being a landlord, and cases of non-payment of rent are not uncommon. Invariably, by the time you get vacant possession of your property the inside will have been left in a dreadful condition, and on top of losing out on rental income for anything up to a year, the security deposit paid be the tenant will only cover one tenth of the cost of making good the inside of the property.