Get legal advice for landlords

Becoming a landlord can be a rewarding undertaking, but sometimes you’ll need to access legal advice for landlords to deal with a range of issues.

Along with specialist firms of solicitors, there are ways to access free advice and we will discuss these later.

Essentially, the type of legal advice landlords may be seeking will include:

  • Help with drafting tenancy agreements and also guarantees
  • Advice that their assured shorthold tenancy is not only correct but enforceable
  • Helping to evict problem tenants and recover the property
  • Seeking advice on the Rent Act, which protects tenants.
  • Help in claiming rent arrears and also damages from a former tenant.

And it not just for those landlords who have one or two properties or even a portfolio and there is help available for those who may have other issues, including:

  • Dealing with boundary disputes
  • Helping with a tenant’s problem neighbours
  • Acquiring a freehold share in the property
  • Dealing with excessive service charge issues.

That’s because, as the property owner, these will be issues affecting your ownership and not for the tenant.

Free legal advice for landlords

It is also possible to access free legal advice for landlords with firms offering their advice and they will help assess a potential claim without making a charge.

This type of free legal advice will help determine a course of action that a landlord should take, but the legal firms do so in the hope you’ll sign up for their service afterwards.

For many landlords, even a short chat will bring peace of mind, particularly when it comes to the eviction process which needs to be dealt with properly and legally.

Indeed, these legal firms will have a list of fees for the actions they can carry out on your behalf including the serving of a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice.

Serving of these notices can be done relatively cheaply and they will also offer a set fee so a landlord can obtain a possession order from the County Court.

There will also be another set fee to deal with a tenant who has not left the property so bailiffs can be instructed and the tenant removed.

Just to reiterate: it’s crucial that landlords follow the legal process closely, so they should use a legal firm that is experienced in these matters to avoid falling foul of the law and running the risk of penalties.

Turn to a landlord forum for help

One of the big issues for a landlord, particularly those who are new to the sector, is not knowing the process of eviction and they may turn to a landlord forum for help.

There’s no doubt that there will be lots of experienced landlords offering their advice but unless they are a qualified solicitor then you need to be careful when accepting any advice offered.

It’s one of the downsides of property investment that a landlord will need to learn how to deal with problem tenants and the eviction process.

Another issue that may be raised on a landlord forum is that while you may have a good relationship with your solicitor, it may be that you require a specialist landlord legal service.

In addition to being cheaper, usually, they also have more experience in dealing with the problem tenants and can deliver the outcome a landlord is looking for.

Also, a landlord forum may also highlight that landlords can download and serve possession notices for themselves as part of the legal process.

Should the tenant ignore the notice that has been correctly served, then you can take the next step to apply for a county court hearing.

Again, without the relevant experience, a novice landlord may feel out of their depth and they may then seek professional legal help to see how they can rectify a difficult situation.

Landlord advice from experienced and knowledgeable sources

As mentioned earlier, another great way to access landlord advice from experienced and knowledgeable sources is to sign up with one of the various landlord organisations.

That’s because, as part of your membership, you will gain access to legal resources, including having access to qualified solicitors.

A landlords’ association may also offer suggestions and practical tips about a landlord’s responsibilities and tenancy issues.

The two leading landlord associations are the National Landlords’ Association and the Residential Landlords’ Association.

Along with access to legal advice, they also have forum discussion threads so it is easy to access a resource of views and experiences.

When it comes to getting legal advice for landlords, it’s important that the advice is current and understandable which is why you should really deal with legal experts who act on behalf of landlords on a regular basis because they’ll know how to explain the legal steps necessary – and help you take them.

About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Chairman of the Landlord Syndicate and CEO / Co Founder of Accommodation for Students Ltd.

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