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Landlords Must Address Landmark Legal Ruling

Landlords Must Address Landmark Legal Ruling

A UK court case has delivered a landmark ruling that will affect every landlord in the country.
Now any legal notice served on a tenant must have the landlord’s own address on it and not a care of address being that of the agent.

The case of Beitov Properties v Elliston Bentley Martin [2012] UKUT 133 (LC) ruled that a landlord seeking to recover a service charge from a tenant had not complied with the statutory requirements of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 because the landlord used an indirect address ‘care of’ its managing agents in its demand notice.

The landlord was deemed not to have served a valid demand by using a care of address and the court ruled that the statutory requirements of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 had been breached so therefore nothing was due from the tenant.

It is common practice for a landlord seeking payment for sums due from a tenant – whether rent, service charge or insurance – to delegate the collection task to managing agents and for the managing agent to be named as the correspondent and recipient of the sum due in payment notices.

The landmark legal case will serve as an important reminder to UK landlords and property managing agents to get ALL the technical details right.

Section 47 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 requires a landlord to give his or her name and address in any written demand to his residential tenants, wether they are comfortable with disclosing it or not.

The Act applies to all UK landlords and their appointed agents.

An individual landlord managing their own properties has to provide their legal residential address, and a company has to provide the address of its legally registered office. Using the letting agent’s or managing agent’s address does not suffice, as it is not the landlord’s legal address.

The implications of the Beitov decision may be more far-reaching than is first apparent. For example, it may not be possible simply to re-serve the demand with a correct address, as the demand could be out of time: service charge demands must be made within 18 months of the liability being incurred.

And of course, many landlords do not like to disclose their addresses to their tenants.

Finally, if a tenant has already paid as a result of a demand that proves defective, they may be able to claw back payments on the basis that they were forced to pay under an invalid demand.

Sim Sekhon, spokesman for Legal 4 Landlords, said: “Property managing agents and landlords need to sit up and take notice of this landmark legal case or face the consequences. If the landlord’s demand notices to tenants are found to be technically defective, they can face consequences paying out up to six years worth of payments if demand notices are not fully compliant with the Landlord & Tenant Act in terms of correct address details.

Landlords are urged to obtain professional advice if they are unsure of any situation regarding the law and Legal 4 Landlords will be happy to help.

Contact Legal 4 Landlords Now : 0844 567 4003

EU Decision Good News for UK Buy-To-Let landlords

EU Decision Good News for UK Buy-To-Let landlords

The decision by MEP’s to remove Buy-To-Let mortgages from the scope of a new EU Directive has been welcomed by a host of property professionals including the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and Legal 4 Landlords.

Under the original European plans, mortgage lenders would no longer have been able to take account of rental income when considering whether to lend to a landlord for a new property, despite the fact that there are specialist insurance products that can guarantee the rent.

The European Parliament committee looking at the Directive has decided that buy-to-let mortgages would be taken out of its scope altogether, after a great deal of high pressure lobbying from a number of sources including the RLA.

Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA responded to the EU announcement saying: “Today’s decision by MEPs represents a common sense solution to a measure that would have crippled the private rental market in the UK. With a chronic shortage of properties in the sector, the initial proposals would have exacerbated the problem still further, causing further difficulties and higher rents for those looking for rental accommodation.”

Sim Sekhon, spokesman for specialist landlord services provider, Legal 4 Landlords also commented on the decision “It’s good to see that sense has prevailed within Europe, now landlords can get on with providing quality housing for tenants in the private rental sector without worrying that they were going to lose the right to expand their property portfolios. The EU decision to exempt Buy To Let mortgages from the firing line is good business for UK landlords. Rental income is the lifeblood and there are steps for landlords to take to ensure that cashflow remains constant, such as using comprehensive tenant referencing services to make sure you accept the right tenant and rent guarantee insurance to provide a guaranteed income. Having a secure income is vital for any business and property is no exception”.

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