Understanding the Role of a Landlord
We recently published an article relating to the impact that not serving a valid Gas Safety Certificate prior to tenants taking occupation of a property can have on a Tenancy and service of notice (Form 6A).
This element of compliance – paperwork related – is just one example of the changes in Legislation that landlords in England have had to navigate over the last 3 years, with more to come.
Yet, do landlords (2.1 million in the U.K.) truly understand what is expected of them? Landlords have been tainted with a very bad reputation not for years, but for centuries. The “robber barons” were thieves who preyed on the vulnerability of their tenants. Owning land was a sign of not only wealth but power, with this power being abused until legislative change in the early 1900s when tenants were considered to be worth protecting. Over the last 100 plus years we have seen the “power” shift and the landlord being required to adhere to more and more legislative guidelines.
There are in total just over 300 pieces of Statute and bye laws that landlords must follow. What was once a walk in the park, now seems like hard work. And staying up to date is hard work.
There are two clear aspects – Legislation which covers the “documents” (notices, service of notice, completion of notices, contracts, contract law, company and common law, deeds, notices of disrepair, etc), immigration law and the issues surrounding this element can range from breach of contract (failure to maintain and repair being the most common) to the inability to obtain vacant possession. These two examples can have devastating consequences for a landlord. The other is consumer related and deals with “Duty of Care”. It is the Health and Safety aspect which causes great concern. For whom? For landlords who “get caught out” due to a. Lack of knowledge b. Indifference- this “can’t be bothered, I’ll never get caught” attitude.
If the fines for non-compliance (health & safety) related are added up for the laws & regulations that must be adhered to before tenants move into a property, the landlord could face £139,000.00 in penalties alone. That’s good for thought. “Who’d be a Landlord?” Is a common question. The answer is simple – someone who is business savvy, wants to protect their investment, wants to treat their tenants well and has a vested interest in ensuring they stay up to date and compliant.
Since 2016 landlords in Wales have been regulated and Scotland followed suit in January this year. England may well follow suit. The horizon for landlords has changed and for the better.