There is a tendency for landlords and also some letting agents who should know better, to think that renting out properties is just money for old rope and that they don’t really need to know very much.
However this can be a recipe for disaster. Renting property is a heavily regulated business and ignoring the rules can have very serious effects.
Already I am having landlords say to me casually “Oh, yes I did get a deposit but I didn’t register it and now the tenants are in arrears so I am offsetting it against the rent”.
Er, no, you can’t do that! Not without their consent. And are they going to consent when they find out that you can’t evict them under section 21 until you pay the money back or until after they have sued you for the penalty (to which you will have no defence)? Almost certainly not.
Section 21 repossessions
Judges continue to chuck out a large percentage of claims for possession based on section 21 because landlords either get the notice wrong or the claim is signed by their letting agents – which is against the rules.
If this happens to you – that is another five to six months minimum you will have them in there, before you can get them out via the courts. A long time if they are not paying rent.
Do you know that you (ie the landlord) are personally liable for agreements reached by letting agents on your behalf and for everything they do as your agent? So if they don’t protect the deposit – YOU can be sued for this.
Then the law of agency, which no-one seems to bother about nowadays but which is still there, imposes a fiduciary duty on agents to act in their customers best interests and not make any unauthorised profits.
I am waiting for a landlord to catch on to this and sue their agent for compensation.
Many (although not all) lost court claims will result in the landlord having a criminal record. For example things like non compliance with the HMO regulations and prosecutions for unfit properties under the HHSRS.
Even seemingly minor things such as agents failing to provide the landlords name and address when asked or failing to provide a rent book to a weekly tenant carry a criminal penalty. But do YOU know the difference between civil and criminal liability?
Having a criminal record for a housing related offence is not good if you are a landlord – for a start you are most unlikely to get an HMO license. Unless you employ someone else to be the manager.
So it behoves you to comply with regulations.
The root cause of most problems
Is education. If landlords and agents really understood the law relating to tenancies many of the problems that TROs like Ben see day after day would never happen.
This is why I have set up my Easy Law for Landlords course – now open for bookings. To find out more about this >> see here.