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Property letting for retirement income just got easier

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In the last decade property became an asset of choice for many people looking to finance their retirement. Many people, even those with just one or two properties, now receive a reasonable income to boost their pension. However, many of these...

Right to rent checks: what steps should landlords be taking?

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Following an initial trial in the North, Right to Rent checks have been rolled out nationwide affecting all residential landlords.  Since February 2016 landlords are required to know their tenants in much the same way as employers are required to know...

Can you reclaim on Stamp Duty Land Tax payments?

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If you have had to pay the extra 3% SDLT because your old home wasn’t sold by the time you purchased your new home, you need to make sure you reclaim the extra SDLT which has been paid to HMRC. Whilst the form for claiming back the extra SDLT is...

Amendments to the Section 8 and Section 13 notices

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New regulations made on the 23rd March 2016 slightly amend the documents required for serving notice. As from 6th April 2016 a new prescribed form will be required when you serve a Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 notice (the notice you serve when ending a...

Legionella and landlords' responsibilities

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What is Legionella? Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment...

Can I put a to-let board up when a tenancy is being renewed?

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We have recently been asked whether a to-let board can be put up when a tenancy is being renewed. The purpose being good marketing for the agent. The answer is unfortunately, no. Under The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England)...

Fire and furnishing regulations - what to look out for

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All landlords and agents will want to ensure that their tenants are as safe from fire as reasonably possible. There is significant legislation which governs landlords’ obligations regarding fire safety in residential accommodation. The Furniture and...

Bailiff Update! Please be patient

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A selection of London Courts have restructured their bailiff process in the hopes of creating more efficient service. The Bow, Central London, Clerkenwell & Shoreditch and Lambeth County Courts have now consolidated their bailiff centres and have...

Could you be paying Stamp Duty Land Tax unnecessarily?

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If you’ve bought a property at some point in your life then you will be familiar with the term stamp duty (or Stamp Duty Land Tax ( SDLT ) as it is known in full). Even if you haven’t, I’m sure most people have at least heard of it. SDLT...

Working from home in private rented property - what are the legal issues?

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In these mobile and connected times more and more people chose to work from home.  It can vary from the self-employed running small internet businesses or cottage industries to flexible working patterns by employers allowing their employees to work at...

Can a landlord serve a section 21 notice before registering a deposit within 30 days?

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For many agents and landlords it is common practice to serve a s.21 notice requiring possession at the end of the fixed term immediately after the tenancy agreement is signed.    But what is the effect on that notice if it is served before...

Landlord liability for defects to rented property

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When accidents happen at rented properties, there is often confusion about a landlord’s liability to tenants or their visitors. This article looks at the legal position and the responsibility of landlords for safeguarding tenants in their properties. ...

The risks of unauthorised subletting

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The issue of subletting, if not done properly, can be a source of great risk to landlords and sub-tenants alike.  This post looks at those risks and the issues landlords and agents should be aware of. Subletting is where a tenant rents a property from...

Surrender of tenancies - the legal requirements

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When a landlord and tenant agree to end a tenancy early it's known as a surrender but what are the legal requirements? This blog takes the form of a Q&A to answer the most common questions on this subject: Q: Does a surrender have to be by deed? ...

Energy performance certificates

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We have recently been asked a question in respect of whether an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed for a flat being let on an assured shorthold tenancy when there is already Energy Performance Certificate for the block.  You would...

Ground rent - quick reminder

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Ground rent is simply a payment to the landlord as a condition of the lease. The lease should state the amount of ground rent that is due and the date it is payable.  Although it is a condition of the lease that the leaseholder pays the rent, a...

What is the housing health and safety rating system

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The Housing Act 2004 provides the framework for the introduction of a system of assessing the condition of residential properties in England and Wales. From April 2006 the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) was brought into effect by the Housing...

Is it a tenancy or a license?

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We have dealt with all sorts of peculiar situations.  In some situations we have to question whether a tenancy has even been created. Just because an agreement is labelled ‘Licence’ does not necessarily mean it is. You may ask why does it...

Holding deposits

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A holding deposit is paid by a prospective tenant to reserve a property before the tenancy agreement is signed. The sum of money is paid in exchange for the agent taking the property off the market while pre contract checks are carried out to ensure that the...

Assignment of guarantees and landlord's duties under an ast on sale of a property

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Can a purchaser of a property subject to an AST rely on a guarantee given to the original landlord?  That was the question recently asked of us and, in short, the answer is yes. Guarantee Agreement However, there are certain limitations. ...

How much notice does a tenant have to give a landlord under an AST?

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This post results from the following question: “Can a tenant can simply move out at the end of a S.21 notice period or do they still have to give the landlord notice?” This may sound like an obvious question to which the answer is no.  In...

Section 8 notice relying on rent arrears

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To bring a claim for possession against an assured or assured shorthold tenant the landlord (or at least one of the joint landlords) must have first served on the tenant a notice in accordance with Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.  If it is just and...

Who is responsible for gas safety - landlord or agent?

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The short answer is both (potentially).  The safety of gas appliances in rental properties is very important both from the perspective of the safety of the tenants and the potential civil and criminal liability that landlords and letting agents may face...

When can a landlord claim when assured shorthold tenants don't move out?

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Statutory Periodic Tenancies Where a tenant remains in occupation of a property after a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy comes to an end the position is straightforward.  Under S.5 of the Housing Act 1988 they hold over under a Statutory Periodic...

More bad news on deposits (but not as bad as the superstrike)

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In 2013 the Court of Appeal found in the Superstrike v Rodrigues case that a deposit taken before the deposit protection regulations came into force in April 2007 had to comply with those rules if it became a periodic tenancy after that date.  It was a...

Tenants keeping pets at property - breach of agreement and unfair terms

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This blog derives from a specific question about a dog being kept at a property in breach of a clause in the agreement that was blanket ban on keeping any pets.   However, because this is a common clause in tenancy agreements it’s a subject...

Can a landlord accept rent after serving a S.21 notice?

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This is a question that causes a lot of confusion in landlord and tenant law because different rules apply to different types of agreement. Fortunately, when it comes to assured shorthold tenancies, the simple answer is yes you can.  The position was...

Quick question - help my tenant has died!

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If you have a tenant that has died it does not automatically terminate the tenancy.This is governed by ss. 1 and (3)(1) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925. The tenant’s interest will vest in the personal representatives who are then liable to...

Who pays the council tax?

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Disputes about liability for payment of council tax are not uncommon in the landlord and tenant context. Liability for tenants can arise both under the terms of the tenancy agreement and also under the relevant legislation which is section 6 (2) of the...

Can you have more than four tenants on one tenancy agreement?

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There is a common misconception amongst landlords and agents that you can only have a maximum of four tenants on a tenancy agreement. The four person rule only relates to the ownership of the legal interest in the property. Section 34 Law of Property Act...

Did you know?...Tenant's rights to landlord details

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In most cases, the landlord’s identity and address will be on the tenancy agreement. However, this isn’t always the case where landlords use agents or where the landlord is a company and only the registered office address is given. Not many...

Question & answer - EPC

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Can Energy Performance Certificate be given electronically to the tenant?  In short the answer is yes provided they agree to receiving it that way.  There is a specific provision to that effect in the current regulations which states: ...

Reminder on deposit protection

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Since April 2007 tenancy deposit laws have been implemented to ensure deposits paid to landlords or their agents are kept safe and, so long as there hasn’t been a breach of the tenancy agreement, it will be returned to the tenant at the end of the...

What is unlawful eviction and how can landlords avoid it?

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If one of your tenants has become something of a liability, you may be tempted to try to find short cuts to get rid of him or her as quickly as possible. Few landlords go to extremes of changing the locks while their tenants are away or using threats of...

Property rental laws and your rights

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There is a large amount of housing law governing the rights for landlords and tenants in England and Wales including the Housing Acts. Their main purpose is to provide protection for both the landlord and tenant. One of the main uses of these laws is to...

Quick question

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My tenant wants to assign his tenancy but the tenancy makes no reference to assignment? Can he do this? In short, no. If your tenancy does not include any clause at all in respect of assigning the tenancy then the law implies a term against the tenant...

Can I grant a short-term let that is not an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)?

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The Deregulation Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament proposes to remove planning restrictions which apply to short-term lets in London properties.  At present, Londoners must apply for planning permission if they want to rent out...

Deadline day for letting agents redress schemes

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From 1 October 2014 all letting and property management agents in the UK must belong to an approved redress scheme. There are three government approved schemes, The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Redress Scheme. Each of...

Immigration - right to rent - further details published

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The government has today announced further information regarding the “right to rent” obligations to be imposed upon landlords.   The first pilot area for the scheme will be on 1st December and will take place in Birmingham,...

New home office factsheet on the right to rent

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Following passage of the Immigration Act in May, the Home Office has now issued a factsheet on illegal renting in the private sector. Much of the factsheet simply confirms information which was provided by Home Office ministers at the time this was being...

Government acts to tackle unintended superstrike consequences

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Last year the case of Superstrike v Rodrigues sent shockwaves through the lettings industry.  In that case the Court of Appeal ruled that when a fixed term tenancy ends and becomes a periodic tenancy under s.5 of the Housing Act 1988 it is a brand new...

Changes to the CPR rules cause further delays to enforcing possession orders

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The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) govern the practice and procedure that parties must follow in civil claims. The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2014 introduced two main changes to the CPR rules from 6 April 2014 - the implementation of the single county...

Immigration update on lettings!

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Further to our recent article regarding immigration checks to be conducted by landlords, the Immigration Bill received Royal Assent yesterday and has become law.  The relevant clauses of the Bill as they impact landlords remain unaltered.  There...

Landlords to be responsible for checking immigration status of tenants?

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The Issue Landlords will be responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants before renting property to them under legislation being considered by Parliament. If introduced, landlords could be subject to a fine of up to £3,000 if they fail...

An incorrect prescription?

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Changes to the interpretation of S8 and S21 notices by the court Up until now the court’s view of notices requiring possession of a tenanted property have been fairly draconian; the prescribed forms must match the format prescribed by the...

Green deal notification and acknowledgement requirements in tenancy agreements

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The Green Deal was supposed to be the Government’s “flagship piece of legislation, which will deliver energy efficiency to homes and buildings across the land”.  But, a year on from its launch in January 2013 the take up rate has been...

Section 21 notices - new case brings relief to agents and landlords

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In the recent case of Spencer v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 1600 the Court of Appeal ruled that just two months’ notice is required to end an AST after the end of a fixed term. For years it had been believed that, once the fixed term had come...

Waiver and mesne profits in asts and other tenancies

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This post follows on from our earlier one about accepting rent after service of a S.21 Notice and deals with the issues of waiver and damages for use and occupation (mesne profits).  Assured Shorthold Tenancies  The vast majority of short term...

Guidance on superstrike!

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Following all the noise concerning deposit protection, guidance has now been issued by the Deposit Schemes and can be found here. You will also find a briefing document on the wider implications of the  Superstrike case. As we have advised the belt and...

More woes for agents as court rules on prescribed information

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There has been a lot of coverage in the last few days of a recent County Court case where the judge set aside a possession order on the basis that the prescribed information contained the agents’ rather than the landlord’s details. It’s...

Rise in tenants being in severe arrears

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The recent financial crisis has made it difficult for many people to get a mortgage due to the high deposits that are now required by lenders. This has led to a growing number of prospective buyers choosing to rent while they save enough money to climb onto...

More woes for landlords and agents as superstrike case fuels confusion over renewals, extensions and periodic tenancies

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The Court of Appeal case of Superstrike v Rodrigues case concerned a deposit taken before the introduction of the tenancy deposit rules in April 2007 for a tenancy which became a statutory periodic tenancy (SPT) after they had been introduced.  The...

Buy to let mortgages on the rise - who will help new landlords

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With increased demand for affordable housing options we're starting to see a rise in buy-to-let mortgages as landlords are tempted back into the market. However, as more people look to rent a property, is this causing more problems for landlords? What...

Are your tenants eligible or illegal?

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After a number of enquiries following the Queen’s Speech, which announced that landlords may be required in future to make checks on tenants’ eligibility to reside in the UK, we have decided to take a look at the impact the same law had on...

Mis-sold mortgage?

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In recent weeks it has become increasingly obvious that claims management companies have mortgage advisers in their crosshairs. A large publicity campaign has coincided with a number of cases being brought. This is another step forward for the buy to let...

Landlords beware - HMOS and selective licensing

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In a recent case the Residential Property Tribunal awarded repayment of housing benefit of over £32,000 to Haringey Council against a landlord who had illegally rented rooms in unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).  This was on top of...

Rent in advance - deposit or rent?

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There has long been a debate about whether rent paid in advance is actually a deposit in disguise used by landlords to get round the deposit protection rules.  This issue recently came before the Court of Appeal in the case of Johnson v Old [2013]...

A busy year for the deposit protection schemes

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From 1st April 2013 the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) launched an insurance based scheme to sit alongside its custodial scheme. The DPS is currently the only provider to offer both services to landlords and agents. Members of the custodial scheme send the...

The dispute service update

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From 1 April 2013 The Dispute Service (TDS) relaxed their rules relating to tenancy deposits. Previously a requirement of TDS was that certain clauses must be included in tenancy agreements and terms of business. TDS would only adjudicate on disputes where...

Tenancy deposit penalties catching more and more landlords out

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A year on from the changes to the tenancy deposit rules we’re seeing an increasing number of landlords being caught out by the penalty provisions of the Housing Act 2004 as tenant awareness of ‘windfall’ claims increases. The issue...

Unaware don't despair!

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When faced with an upset tenant complaining that you should have known that the property needed to be repaired, even though this was the first time you have ever been told, it is worth noting that it is an implied term of all tenancy agreements...

Did you know?

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Did You Know? That tenants have the right to install a metred water supply even if the landlord does not agree. Section 209A of the Water Industry Act 1991 provides that no term of a tenancy agreement is valid in preventing a tenant requesting a metred...

What a mess

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The main problem for landlords when evicting tenants used to be what they took with them – fixtures, fittings, kitchen sink - not what they used to leave behind.  A recent landlord has learnt this the hard way.  According to an article in the...

Pests in the property (no, not the tenant!) - who is liable?

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Infestations from pests and vermin such as rats and fleas can cause a real nuisance in rented accommodation. In particular it is difficult to determine whether liability for costs associated with eradicating these unwelcome visitors falls with the landlord...

Tenants in severe arrears rise by 5 percent

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I’ve just read an interesting piece by Henry Brennan, a reporter on one of the leading mortgage titles where he has announced that the number of tenants in severe arrears has risen by 5 per cent in the first quarter of this year.  According to LSL...

Quick question - what happens when an assured shorthold fixed term comes to an end?

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There is no need to enter into a new fixed term tenancy agreement unless of course both parties wish to commit to a further fixed term. A tenant who does not sign a new agreement “holds over” under a periodic tenancy. The rights and obligations...

Universal credit - landlords beware

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From April 2013 the Government will gradually introduce a new welfare system which will apply to local authority tenants, housing association tenants and tenants in the private rented sector. Universal Credit will combine income-based jobseeker’s...

The budget a double edged sword

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Yesterday’s Budget announcement could be a double-edged sword for landlords. I think house prices will continue to rise, as – despite the promise of 15,000 new homes in the next year - the supply of existing homes on the market will remain quite...

Market your fees carefully!

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We are sure that this will be happily received by consumers looking to rent through Estate Agents. We suspect Estate Agents will no doubt feel it is yet another piece of excessive law, as Your Move found out to their detriment. But is it?! The Advertising...

Quick question

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Quick Question! Here at Property Reclaim our clients often ask us ‘quick questions’ on various legal and regulatory issues that crop up in their day to day dealings with landlords and tenants.  Of course quick questions don’t always...

The green deal - a good deal?

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On 28th January 2013 the Government launched the Green Deal to target increasing energy bills due to inefficient housing. The Green Deal is a mechanism to complete energy saving improvements works to a home or business without making the full payment up...

A disappearing act...Or is it?

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A tenant vacating a property without giving notice to the landlord or managing agent poses a major problem for the landlord. Understandably there is a great deal of confusion over what circumstances a landlord can re-enter the property, change the locks and...

Are your tenants at risk of catching legionnaire's disease?

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The Health and Safety Executive has released a revised Approved Code of Practice which provides guidance on controlling exposure to legionella bacteria in rented residential accommodation. Legionella bacteria is found in most water systems, however if it is...

Select your licenses carefully!

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Local authorities have the power to impose licensing on all private rented properties, not just Houses in Multiple Occupation, in areas of low housing demand or significant and persistent antisocial behaviour. In accordance with s.80 of the Housing Act 2004...

Don't delay! Take action now!

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A recent survey carried out by Law of Property Act receivers estimated that there are 99,000 tenants two or more months in arrears.  And the problem is set to worsen as the recession continues and the number of people in private rented accommodation...

Welcome

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Evicting tenants can be time-consuming.  With landlords losing rent from non-paying tenants, time is of the essence. We're really excited to launch Property Reclaim, the online legal service designed to meet landlords' need for speed and value....

A formal letter is the best way to start

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At Moore Blatch, we strongly believe that landlords should always issue a formal letter before trying to evict a tenant.  Although a letter to evict a tenant is not legally required, it reinforces the fact that landlords understand their rights and will...

Offence of squatting in a residential building

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After much controversy and media attention, on the 1st September 2012, s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force making squatting a criminal offence. The police now have the power to enter and search a property...