The Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS: Free legal advice and representation for tenants facing eviction) – launched on 01 August 2023 and many tenants have been utilising the service. SWLA have seen a big change in possession cases – often with cases taking longer and being more complex due to tenants counter claiming on the basis of disrepair in the property.
Be sure to protect yourself, your tenant and your investment!
Have a thorough inventory from day 1 of the tenancy, this is your proof that the property was in good repair when it was initially let to the tenant. You can create an inventory yourself or use a professional inventory clerk.
Be clear in the tenancy agreement – what is the tenant responsible for and how should they report disrepair to the landlord? Make it easy for the tenant to report issues. Keep communication open
Deal with repair issues swiftly, thoroughly, and keep timescale evidence. When was the disrepair reported, what action did you take, when did you take the action, was the disrepair rectified, have evidence of the outcome.
Carry out regular maintenance checks on the property – once per year or once every 6 months. This will prevent major disrepair in the property as smaller fixes can prevent large scale repair issues.
If your tenant refuses access for maintenance checks and repair visits – they are within their right to do so. Keep evidence and if you feel necessary, report to the local authority – especially if the lack of access is making the property dangerous – i.e. gas safety checks etc.
When it comes to getting possession of your property – the condition of the property is a major factor in whether you will be awarded possession. Have evidence and be prepared for disrepair claims!
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