Landlord and Tenant
Disputes between landlord and tenants, can become very stressful and time-consuming. When both parties can’t reach an amicable agreement, it is important to seek legal advice and representation at the earliest opportunity. We understand the challenges that landlords and tenants may face, and can assist you with your legal issue.
We also understand that paying a lawyer substantial amounts upfront for legal fees can be difficult, which is why we offer direct access to barristers and affordable payment plans for all commercial and residential property disputes to help you move forward.
We also make direct access work for you by appointing paralegals to manage the administrative aspects of your property case on your behalf. Our paralegals will take case of the document management, filing and other litigation support functions that your barrister will rely on you to do yourself.
For legal matters that relate to a commercial property, we can advise business tenants as well as landlords who manage such property.
We also offer legal support for residential tenants and landlords who are currently finding themselves in property disputes.
Our panel of barristers deal with both simple and complex property cases, handling everything from issuing claims and serving notices, to court representation and evictions. To discuss your property issues, and receive information about our cost-effective payment solutions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our legal experts now on 0800 888 6760.
If you have already appointed a property barrister to your case, we can still offer you affordable payment plans and paralegal assistance. We will make all the necessary arrangements on your behalf so you can receive the legal support you need today. Start now.
Types of tenancy agreements
Tenancy agreements set out the legal terms and conditions that tenants and landlords must abide by for the duration of the contract. Both parties can agree to either:
• A fixed-term tenancy agreement (typically for 6-12 months)
• A periodic tenancy agreement (running on a weekly or month-by-month basis)
In the UK, there are 6 standard types of tenancy agreements. However, due to changes in legislation regarding Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Schemes and possession proceedings, the most common tenancy agreements are ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)’ or ‘Company Let Agreement’.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
This is the most common form of letting arrangement for residential properties in the UK. Tenancies created after February 1997, are automatically allocated to this type of tenancy agreement. ASTs can only be created if:
• The tenant is an individual, not a company, charity or trust;
• The tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989;
• The property is the tenant’s only or main home; and
• The rent does not exceed £100,000 per annum.
Company Let Agreement
A company let agreement allows limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLP) to rent commercial property for a fixed amount of time. Company Lets are governed by the Law of Property Act 1925, instead of the Housing Act 1996, which means that the tenant is not recognised as an ‘individual’ and will not be given the same protection as AST’s. Therefore, landlords and business tenants that enter Company Let Agreements must agree on and recognise procedures for:
• The types of occupiers allowed;
• Rent increase notices; and
If you need assistance with negotiating or drafting your tenancy agreement, feel free to contact one of our barristers who specialises in property law today on 0800 888 6760.
Disputes between landlord and tenants, if unresolved, may have a detrimental effect on your investment and/or your livelihood, so it’s essential that you contact a legal advisor who is experienced in property law to help you through this process. There are a variety of complex legal issues that can occur within commercial and residential tenancy agreements. Below, is a general overview of the most common types of commercial and residential disputes between landlords and tenants in the UK:
• Breach of terms;
• Repair and Maintenance;
• Dilapidation claims;
• Commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR);
• Service charge disputes/ Deposit recovery;
• Break Clauses;
• Forfeiture and possession;
• Rent review disputes; and
• Lease renewal disputes.
• Breach of terms;
• Possession claims;
• Deposit Protection/ recovery;
• Service charge disputes/recovery; and
Business Tenants Renting Commercial Property
In some circumstances, disputes may arise between landlords and tenants who are renting commercial property for their business. If there has been a communication breakdown between you and your landlord, you should consider seek legal advice as soon as possible. The extent of your duty as a leaseholder, will depend on the nature of the company let agreement.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), requires business tenants to carry out a health and safety risk assessment in their workplace. You will usually be responsible for:
• Safety of electrical equipment;
• Fire safety;
• Managing asbestos; and
• Gas safety.
A common agreement to adopt is that the tenant must keep the commercial property in the same state or repair and condition it was on the commencing date of the lease. If the business tenant has signed a ‘full repair lease’ they are responsible for maintaining the foundations and the roof of the commercial property. However, if the tenant signs a lease with ‘internal only’ repairing obligations, it generally requires the tenant to maintain and keep in good repair, the interior of the property only.
Disputes can arise if you do not agree that some, or all of the repairs fall within your agreement responsibilities. If you have received a schedule of dilapidations from your landlord and want to contest, it’s important to seek legal advice from a property litigation barrister and surveyor at the earliest opportunity.
We can give you direct access to property barristers and all-inclusive paralegal support. Our administrative assistance is provided at highly reduced rates, so you can afford the best representation possible. If you are concerned about the legal costs you could incur throughout your property dispute, speak to one of our advisors today for cost-effective solutions on 0800 888 6760.
Service Charge Disputes
Tenants will have to pay to cover their share of maintenance costs for the upkeep of the commercial property and will agree with the landlord how costs shall be divided in the agreement. This may include, repairs, charge for major works, cleaning and building insurance.
Your company let agreement should mention:
• What services charges you have to pay;
• If payments should be made on a quarterly or annual basis;
• How your commercial landlord will collect the service charges;
• How charges are calculated;
• How they are divided between you and any other leaseholders; and
• If there is a sinking or reserve fund
In some circumstances, your agreement may not specify these types of charges and therefore you are not legally obliged to pay for any additional charges. If your commercial landlord is requesting you to pay for service charges that you think are unreasonable or incorrect, you can apply to the tribunal. If you are requesting an oral hearing it is recommended to have legal representation. Our experienced property barristers and paralegals are on call to help. We can also arrange affordable payment solutions to help you cut your upfront fees and manage any additional costs affordably. Contact us today on 0800 888 6760.
If your Company Let Agreement has a break clause, you can agree on an official date where the lease can be broken without either party facing penalties. If you want to relocate, you must notify the landlord in writing during the fixed notice period to use a break clause.
If the tenancy does not contain a break clause both parties will have to agree to ‘surrender’. However, if the landlord doesn’t agree to a surrender, the tenant will be legally obliged to pay rent until the fixed term ends. Tenants who find themselves in this position, can agree with the landlord to:
• Find a tenant willing to replace them, therefore assigning the lease to third party; or
• Sub-let the commercial property and generate rental income.
You may also find yourself on the receiving end of a forfeiture notice. This is where the commercial landlord can terminate your tenancy agreement due to a breach of terms or late rent payment. The tenant may apply to the court for relief from forfeiture if they have shown that the situation has been resolved with the landlord.
Negotiations on ending your tenancy agreement early can often lead to disputes between you and your landlord. If you are unable to reach an agreement through negotiations with your landlord and are looking to end your lease before your fix term ends, or want to challenge a forfeiture, you should contact a property legal expert immediately.
Our barristers have experience in handling a wide range of property contractual issues and can advise you on your next course of action. We can also save you valuable time by helping you with administration and paperwork throughout each stage of your case. If you would also prefer to pay your legal fees by convenient monthly instalments, contact a member of our legal team today to discuss your payment options on 0800 888 6760.
Rent Review and Lease Renewals
At the end of your company let agreement you may wish to renew your lease with the commercial landlord. This may involve taking into consideration the current market rent. You may wish to negotiate a lower rent agreement, or request a ‘continuation tenancy’ that preserves the commercial rent at its current rate. If you are currently wanting to negotiate new terms of your contractual agreement and need legal advice, it’s important to contact a property lawyer to discuss your options.
Our barristers and paralegals work with tenants of commercial premises to resolve a variety of landlord and tenant disputes. You could be currently involved in dilapidation and disrepair problems, a breach of terms, forfeiture or lease renewals – don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Get direct access to a property barrister with all-inclusive paralegal support, by talking to a member of our legal team today. We understand that taking a dispute to court can be very expensive and daunting, which is why we offer our clients impartial advice from the beginning and cost-effective solutions to help manage their legal fees. Start to set up your payment plan today.
Landlords Managing Commercial Property
Service charges are the costs landlords incur by providing services to their building. The division of services charges between landlord and tenants may lead to disputes further down the line, if they are not mutually agreed upon in the lease. The landlord should ensure that the company let agreement specifies whether the charge is recoverable in advance or to be paid over a quarterly or annual basis. However, if landlords fail to determine what service charges the tenants should be paying for in the agreement, the tenants are not obliged to pay. If maintenance costs, cleaning costs and major works are included in the lease, and tenants fail to pay costs which are deemed reasonable, the landlord might take the case the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to speak to property solicitors so you know what you’re entitled to.
Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) –
If tenants fail to pay their rent, it can have a detrimental impact on a commercial landlords’ financial position. Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) came into force in 2014, to give landlords of business premises added protection, and help them collect rent arrears by taking control of the tenant’s goods. Certified Enforcement Agents and Bailiffs can execute warrants on your behalf for rent arrears on properties that are wholly commercial before the end of the lease. CRAR can only recover outstanding rent, and doesn’t include utilities, service charges or insurance. If you need advice on how to successfully recover rent arrears from your tenants, speak to one of our legal experts today on 0800 888 6760.
Forfeiture and possession
Landlords of commercial property can apply for ‘Forfeiture’ to effectively terminate the lease. The right to forfeiture can only be exercised if it is mentioned in the company let agreement. By following notice procedures, landlords can seize possession of their commercial property if they have evidence that the tenant has failed to pay rent. In these circumstances, you may choose forfeiture by peaceable re-entry and change the locks to regain possession. However, landlords should exercise caution before making this decision, and are advised to seek legal representation to avoid the costs of wrongful forfeiture or trespassing convictions.
If the tenant has breached other contractual terms of the agreement, for example, causing damage to the property, forfeiture is not possible without a served notice of at least one month before issue proceedings. If the breach is not remedied after this time, the landlord can decide to forfeit the lease by peaceable entry or through court proceedings. However, the landlord and tenant can also agree to end their contract before the fix term and ‘surrender the lease’ by operation of law. Tenants interests will be transferred back to the landlord by an ‘unequivocal act’ that shows both parties have accepted the termination of the agreement. The landlord may also agree to accept a financial premium to terminate a commercial lease before the fix term ends.
In most circumstances, a court order is the best way for landlords to gain possession of their commercial property as it gives them a greater degree of certainty. If you are considering repossession, you should seek advice and legal representation immediately.
Our team of property barristers can assist you with serving notices, give you advice on peaceably re-entry and effect forfeiture. We understand that disputes with tenants can result in a long and costly legal process, which is why we also provide affordable payment solutions to make your legal fees as affordable and convenient as possible. For more information on how we can help you, give our legal specialists a call today on 0800 888 6760.
Tenants in Residential Property
Breach of terms
If your landlord fails to meet the obligations of your tenancy agreement, you can take action against them by issuing court proceedings, and in some cases, withhold service charge and rent payments.
Landlords are generally responsible for the maintenance and repair of the exterior and infrastructure of the building. If your landlord refuses to pay or repair the property as stated in the agreement, or the landlord is charging you more than what is reasonable for major works, it is important to seek legal representation immediately. When disputes can’t be resolved by negotiation, and if you are unsure what rights, responsibilities and obligations your landlord has, contact one of our property solicitors today to see if you can make a case for a breach of terms.
Issuing court proceedings can be a time-consuming and costly process, but if you believe you aren’t receiving what you are entitled to, or are being charged unfairly, call us today for legal advice and cost-effective payment solutions.
In severe circumstances, tenants may wish to make a harassment claim against their landlord. They have the right to do this if the landlord:
• Intentionally cuts off your gas, electricity or water supply;
• Open your mail or remove your belongings;
• Harasses you due to your gender, race, sexuality or religion;
• Threatened you or acted violent;
• Enter your home without your permission; or
• Send construction workers during unsociable hours.
If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to contact a legal advisor at the earliest possible stage, so you can receive the right representation going forward. However, if you believe you are in immediate danger you need to contact the police immediately.
New legislation in England and Wales was brought into force in 2012, requiring the landlord to secure deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) in a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receipt. This protects your deposit and ensures you get it back at the end of the agreement if you:
• Meet the terms of your Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST);
• Leave the property in the same condition as you found it; and
• Pay your rent and additional service charges
Your tenancy deposit should usually be refunded within 10 days at the end of the fixed term. If you have reason to believe that your deposit was not put in the protection scheme, contact the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) to find out.
If you have met the terms of your agreement and your landlord is withholding your deposit unfairly, or can’t be contacted, seek legal advice as soon as you can. You may also find yourself in the situation where the landlord has not given reasonable explanations regarding any deductions they’ve made from your deposit. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our legal experts ensure you receive what you are entitled to, and can help resolve deposit disputes with your landlord in the most efficient and convenient way possible. If you are concerned about the legal fees involved, we can also offer you affordable payment plans to help manage your costs throughout the whole process. To see how we can help end your dispute on amicable terms, contact a member of our legal team today on 0800 888 6760.
Service charge disputes/recovery
Service charges mainly cover general maintenance and repair of the building. If your landlord starts major works on the building, they are required by law to consult you. The landlord must serve the tenant with ‘a notice of intention’ which explains the proposed works, and why the landlord considers it necessary. They will also need to provide estimations for time spent and costs of major works. During this time the tenant has 30 days to reply with observations. You may be able to contest your service charge if your landlord has:
• Not specified any major works in your tenancy agreement;
• Not followed the correct procedures for starting major works; or
• Started major works without your consent.
It is important to note that the tenant’s obligation to pay for service charges are solely dependent on the tenancy agreement. There is no obligation to pay for anything that is not specified in the lease. If you believe you are being charged unfairly, or want to seek legal advice because your landlord is starting major works, contact one of our property legal experts now. We can offer you direct access to barristers, along with paralegal support to help you with administrative tasks. Find out how we can give you the legal support you need by calling us today on 0800 888 6760.
Landlords are allowed to evict tenants if they have damaged the property, or have a significant amount of rent arrears. However, if you have evidence that your landlord has not followed the correct legal procedures, they could be charged with a criminal offence.
It can be classified as an illegal eviction if your landlord:
• forces you out of the property by threatening or harassing you;
• Physically throws you out;
• Stops you from getting into certain parts of your residence; or
• Changes the locks while you’re away.
Your landlord must give you notice of leave of two months. After this they can ask the court for a ‘warrant of possession’, giving the tenants an eviction notice and set date to leave the property.
In these severe cases, you can ask a judge to ‘suspend the warrant for possession’, allowing you to stay in your residence if you are able to make your payments. If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Our barristers can help you make your case to the court and set up a hearing at short notice before your eviction date. if you’re unhappy with the result you can appeal the judge’s decision.
If you were served a notice of leave, and want to contest the decision of your landlord, call our team of legal experts today. We provide you with direct access to barristers, all-inclusive paralegal support and cost-effective payment solutions to help you through every stage of the eviction process. Call a member of our legal team today to receive compassionate and tactical advice on 0800 888 6760.
Breach of terms
Landlords of residential properties may have situations when tenants breach the terms of their lease agreement due to rent arrears, or failing to maintain the upkeep of the property. In these circumstances, if no agreement has been reached between the landlord and the tenant, the landlord can take legal action in order to receive due rent and financial compensation for service charges. However, landlords can only recover costs which are deemed ‘reasonable’ by the tribunal. In the tenancy agreement, landlords and tenants must ensure that they set agreeable terms for:
• Service Charges;
• Ground rent;
• House insurance;
• Administration and cleaning charges;
• Reserve/sinking funds.
The landlord’s right to request payment for services charges is solely governed by the provisions of the lease, meaning the tenant has no obligation to pay for charges that are not specified in the lease. Charges can be recoverable in advance or in arrears, and paid back quarterly or annually.
If your tenant has breached the contractual terms of your agreement, and you want financial compensation, you should consider seeking legal advice from a property law barrister. Tenants who have rent arrears or fail to pay service charges can put significant strain on you and your livelihood. Don’t worry, we may be able to pay 100% of your legal fees upfront, so you can get the legal representation you need today. For more information on our affordable payment plans, direct access to barristers and paralegal services we provide, contact us now on 0800 888 6760.
Possession and Eviction
Depending on the severity of the case, landlords have the right to terminate the lease prior to the tenancy expiry date and recover possession of their property. The landlord can do this if; the tenant has breached terms of the agreement; the tenant is in arrears; or if they have unlawfully sublet the residence.
The first step to recovering your property is to give the tenant a ‘notice of possession’, allowing them a 2-month period to vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to move out after this time, or remedy the breach of terms, the landlord needs to make an application to the county court for a possession order. It is important to seek legal representation at this stage so you can prepare your case for the hearing in front of the local county court. However, if you are looking to evict your tenant without claiming rent arrears or any other charges, you can apply for an accelerated possession procedure. In both normal and accelerated possession procedures, it is essential that landlords comply with the regulations and standard notice periods to avoid any unnecessary costs and delays.
If you have obtained a possession order and your tenant has yet to vacate, you can apply to the court for a ‘warrant of possession’. In these circumstances, the county court will allocate and eviction date and appoint Certified Enforcement agents and bailiffs to remove tenants from the property. On the date of eviction, the landlord should meet with the locksmith and the bailiff to take full possession of the residential property, effectively ending the tenancy agreement.
Taking possession of your property can be difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. To receive tactical support for possession and eviction, contact one of our property law experts today. Our legal advisors can give you direct access to barristers, and paralegal assistance throughout each stage of the possession process. We can help you draft notices, prepare the necessary documentation, defend your case in the county court and enforce evictions on your behalf. To find out more about our services, contact a member of our legal team now on 0800 888 6760.
Relationships between landlords and tenants can often end in disputes, unless terms are negotiated and settled amicably with the help of expert advice and representation.
If both parties can’t remedy the situation through mediation or arbitration, you may want to consider minimising your outlays by spreading your legal costs in instalments over a convenient period of time. This approach will allow you to afford better legal representation, and reduce the impact on your budget.
As a landlord, it’s in your interest to prevent problems with your tenants. However, due to changes in responsibilities and obligations of both parties, landlords across the UK are faced with tenant issues that require expert legal support. Tenancy agreement disputes may involve; recovering rent arrears; housing disrepair claims; possession and eviction of tenants. It is important for landlords to seek advice in case they could be liable for substantial damages and legal costs.
As a tenant, you will have legally enforceable obligations to meet, set out in the tenancy agreement. However, you may find that your landlord has not upheld their end of the agreement and need to seek legal advice. If you are currently in a dispute with your landlord over; property damage; major works; unreasonable service charges; deposit recovery or illegal eviction contact a member of our legal team today.
We provide affordable payment plans to cover your legal costs, so you can get the legal support you require – without the need for large payments upfront. We also offer you direct access to barristers and all-inclusive paralegal support to eliminate the burden of managing the administrative aspects of your legal case.
Our panel of barristers and paralegals specialise in all types of landlord matters. If you have already appointed a lawyer, we can still offer you a payment plan solution and will make all the necessary arrangements with your lawyer on your behalf.