Landlord & Tenant

Landlord Tenant

Landlord and tenant (residential) law covers issues concerning residential tenancies, such as the terms of a tenancy agreement, disrepair and possession proceedings.

We have a dedicated team of professionals who can assist you with the drafting of your tenancy agreements, notices of possession, and commencement of possession proceedings.

Residential Tenancy Agreements

There are four main types of residential tenancy agreements that are commonly used by landlords and tenants, namely a Fixed-term Assured Tenancy, a Periodic Assured Tenancy, a Fixed-term Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and a Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

What is a Periodic tenancy?

This is a type of tenancy agreement that is granted to tenants by reference to a period of time but having no fixed expiry date, e.g. a weekly or monthly tenancy or a tenancy from year to year. Such a tenancy will continue indefinitely until it is determined (ended) by serving on the tenant a ‘notice to quit’. As a result, the tenancy’s ultimate duration is not known to either party at the time of entering into the agreement and its termination simply depends on when either party serves on the other a valid ‘notice to quit’.

Why should you opt for a Periodic Tenancy?

It is ideal for landlords and tenants who do not wish to be contractually bound to a tenancy agreement that must last until a certain expressed date. A landlord may find this type of tenancy desirable if he wishes to retain the option of being able to lease his premises out to some other tenant in the future without having to wait any longer than the actual periodic cycle of the tenancy, i.e. weekly or monthly, for the premises to be vacated. On the other hand a tenant who wishes to have the option of being able to vacate the leased premises without being held liable to his landlord for future rent charges, which would otherwise have fallen due up to the end of any specified fixed term, would also find this type of a tenancy agreement beneficial.

What is a Fixed-term Tenancy?

This is a tenancy that is granted to tenants for a fixed period of time, e.g. for a period of 6 months, which will then determine automatically on the effluxion of time i.e. on the expiry of the fixed term, without the need to serve any notice to the tenant.

Do I need to renew my fixed-term tenancy agreement upon its expiry?

It is worth noting that when the fixed term of a tenancy expires and a tenant continues to reside in the leased property, an automatic “Statutory Periodic Tenancy” is created. The effect of this is that the new tenancy generally has the same terms as those in the previous fixed-term tenancy, for instance the periods of the tenancy and rent rates are to be the same as those for which rent was last payable under the terms of the fixed-term tenancy i.e. weekly or monthly, however, the ‘Statutory Periodic Tenancy’ can now only be ended by a court order for possession. Neither party need take any action for this tenancy to come into effect.

What are the benefits of retaining a Statutory Periodic Tenancy?

The benefit to a landlord is that if he wishes to continue leasing the same premises to the same tenant, it prevents the need for him to draft a new tenancy agreement every time the fixed term expires, and instead he can simply rely on the terms of the previous fixed-term tenancy agreement as being binding on both parties.

Eviction

To evict a residential tenant, you must first serve a notice stating the grounds you are relying on. If you’re a landlord we usually advise that you serve a Section 21 Notice which then enables you to use the accelerated procedure to get the tenant out of the property. Under this procedure, the notice must be served no less than 2 months before the date you want possession of the property ending on a day before the rent payment would be due. If the tenant does not leave, the Court must order possession. It is called the accelerated procedure as the Court has to order possession, it has no discretion other than in the number of days it will allow the tenant before they have to leave, and hence there is no need for a hearing – it is entirely paper based.

If the tenant still does not leave, you can then appoint the Court bailiff to physically remove the tenant.

The alternative route is by relying on the tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement and serving a notice setting out the grounds. If the tenant does not rectify the breach, the landlord can start proceedings not earlier than 2 weeks after service of the notice. While the notice period is shorter, under this procedure there must be a Court hearing so the overall length of time it takes will usually be longer than using the accelerated procedure. Also the Court has more discretion to allow the tenant to remain in the property so it is not guaranteed to get them out.

However, a claim for rent arrears can be included by using this procedure so there is no need to start a separate claim.

For further advice and assistance, contact us