Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission?

If you live in rented accommodation, you'll inevitably have less freedom than people who own their homes. For example, many landlords won't allow their tenants to keep pets or redecorate the bedrooms - some even forbid the use of Blu-Tack for putting up posters (in fairness, it can be a pain to chisel that stuff off).
 
But regardless of how strict your landlord is, they have no right to enter your home without a good reason. You might think that, since (s)he owns the property, your landlord is free to come and go as (s)he pleases, but if you're paying rent then you have a right to your privacy. Landlords should seek permission before entering, and if yours is failing to do so, you may be able to take legal action.
 
According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, the landlord should never enter without the tenant's prior permission unless:
  • An emergency arises, requiring the landlord's immediate attention (e.g. to make urgent repairs)
  • The tenant and landlord have previously agreed upon regular room-cleaning or another service that would necessitate the landlord's presence
  • You share a room with another tenant who has given the landlord permission to enter
Landlords are also allowed to visit their properties to empty prepayment meters and make sure that everything is in a good state of repair, but even on these occasions, the landlord must give at least 24 hours notice. As a tenant, you should not have to worry about surprise visits and inspections; you have a right to know when the landlord is planning to come over.
 
If you are having problems with your landlord, get in touch with Newbold Solicitors today. We offer a range of services, including:
 

What Are Squatters' Rights?

The law surrounding trespassing and squatting can be pretty complicated indeed. It is not always easy to establish whether the person occupying your property is actually a tenant or a trespasser. Attempting to evict squatters can be a difficult and risky procedure, and if the occupier defends on the basis they are actually a tenant then you could have a very lengthy and expensive legal process on your hands.
Squatters who have resided in a property for a long time can actually apply to become the registered owner of the property or land they're occupied without requestion the owner's permission. You can apply if you can prove that you have occupied the property continuously for 10 years, you acted as owners of the property for the whole of that time and you didn't have the owner's permission - for example, the property wasn't originally rented to a squatter. 
 
Removing squatters is a difficult process, and for that you'll need to contact Newbold's expert team of Housing Law Solicitors. If it's been 28 days or less since you found out your property has been squatted then you can apply for an Interim Possession Order and send it to your local county court. The court will send you confirmation of your IPO within a few days and documents that you must give to the squatters within 48 hours. After being served with an IPO the squatters can be sent to prison if they don't leave your property within 24 hours and stay away from your property for 12 months. To get final possession of your property, you must make a claim for possession.
 
 You can do this on the IPO application form or separately online. Of course, by giving a ring to our housing team on 0330 123 11 31 or e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. we can help you sort this problem quickly and efficiently without any stress.  
 
You can't use an IPO if you're also making a claim for damages caused by the squatters (you should instead make an ordinary claim for possession), or you're trying to evict former tenants, sub-tenants or licensees. Our expert solicitors will help you make a claim for possession in no time at all. 
 
For expert help with removing squatters and trespassers, contact Newbold Solicitors today.

Landlords Warned to 'Do Their Research'

Richard Lambert has urged UK landlords to be fully aware of their legal obligations, adding that 'ignorance is no excuse'. The CEO of the National Landlords Association issued the following statement via the NLA website:
 
"Not knowing your obligations as a landlord could result in serious problems, financial as well as legal. A tenant should be safe and comfortable in their home and ignorance is no excuse...anyone who is thinking of becoming a landlord should do their research first."
 
 
Mr Lambert's warning comes in the wake of a recent NLA study, which showed that 27% of UK landlords have been letting for five years or less, and 14% have been letting for 2 years or less.
 
We've already commented on the record number of amateur landlords in Britain at the moment, and these latest findings serve to further emphasise how little experience some of the country's landlords have. Of course, it's great to see so many people starting their own property portfolios, but Richard Lambert and the NLA are right to be worried; letting comes with a colossal array of potential pitfalls, and this new wave of landlords absolutely must familiarise itself with the relevant regulations.
 
For example...
 
  • Do you know what needs to be included in your tenancy agreements?
  • Do you know what kind of repairs you are responsible for?
  • Are you aware of the proper protocol for serving eviction notices?
  • Do you know how to handle your tenants' bonds?
  • How will you handle any unpaid rent?
These are questions that every landlord should be able to answer; disrepair is a particularly contentious issue, as many landlords are unaware of how many responsibilities they have in terms of repair and maintenance.
 
If there are gaps in your knowledge, follow Richard Lambert's advice and do your research! If you need any assistance, contact your nearest Newbold office - we frequently provide professional legal advice to new landlords.

Testimonials – What Our Clients Had to Say

We think everyone is entitled to a bit of horn-blowing now and again, so we thought we’d tell you a little of what our customers said about us and our most popular services. There is nothing quite like a genuine opinion of someone who has been there before, so we hope these testimonials will help you decide whether or not you want to go with Newbold in the future.

Disrepair

Disrepair claims are notoriously contentious, so it helps to have someone in the know who can explain the correct procedures to you along the way. Estate Agent Gareth Jones found our service particularly helpful and said he ‘cannot recommend our service highly enough’, praise indeed from a gentlemen already in the property market. Mr Wyatt, also of an estate agents (David & Sons), remarked at how we dealt their cases ‘efficiently, and very quickly’.

Serving Notices

Serving notices is another area which causes complexities as it requires one or more parties to serve notice on the other. It is at such a confusing time when you need professional support to remedy your dilemma in the quickest way possible. Mrs Roberts sure found our service to be helpful, and thanked us for offering ‘practical solutions to her problems’. Our staff were also individually commended as Mrs Rey called our team member, Catherine, ‘friendly, professional, and the best housing solicitor in the profession’, which we were obviously thrilled to hear!

Do You Require a Court Order for Possession?

At Newbold solicitors, if you require a court order for possession then we may be able to help! There are two routes to obtaining such an order, and are they are as follows:

Accelerated

Through this route the landlord can win possession of their property within 14 days. This route does however not allow the landlord a judgement if the tenant has caused any damage, or judgement for arrears.

Standard

This route allows the landlord an order for possession, for fixed costs, and for a judgement if the tenant causes any damage or owes rent arrears.

Obtaining a court order for possession can become tricky because all tenants are obliged to put up a defence on the said court date. Should you not produce the correct documents on the day, or if there are changes in the case law, the tenant can often successfully defend their claim, costing the landlord significantly more money.

Serving a notice will cost you £75.00 plus VAT, and drafting the court documents for possession costs just £250 plus VAT. Paying the correct legal fees now will you save you indefinite amounts of expenditure in the long-run.

And if you’re a tenant and want our help to defend yourself in a court hearing we can also assist you, so get in touch now.

Rat-Infested Home Costs Landlord £14,000

A story reported in the Express & Star shows that local councils – in this particular case, Wolverhampton Council – are taking a strong stance against sub-standard accommodation, and sending out a message to careless landlords in the process.

At Newbold solicitors, we offer expert advice to landlords to prevent these kind of mishaps, and to even defend landlords against tenants when litigious claims are made, though of course the easier option is to prevent yourself getting in such a situation in the first place – otherwise you might end up with a hefty fine!

Mr Ranjeev Singh Sahota left his property in an extremely hazardous state, and was warned numerous times by his local council to fix the issues, but he ignored them. Most noticeable of all was the uncapped drain which allowed rats to enter the property, as well as the faulty wiring which also caused a great risk to tenants.

After failing to act upon these hazards and by leaving his property in an unlawful state, Mr Sahota was eventually apprehended and forced to pay a £14,000 fine, along with £3,703 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £120. Peter Bilson, the council regeneration chief, was pleased with the outcome as it enforces their crackdown on landlords who ignore the safety regulations they put in place.

We think this case goes to show the potential expenditure a landlord can face – not to mention the criminal record – when they ignore the basic regulations of tenancy agreements.

At Newbold we take the time to draft up the most up-to-date tenancy agreement possible, though it’s the landlord’s ultimate decision whether or not he sticks to it. We also provide solicitors to defend any claims made by the tenant, though in cases such as this one, the best course of action would have been to take the council’s initial advice.

Visit our Solicitors in Barry

If you live in Barry (or the surrounding area - Penarth, Sully, Dinas Powys, etc.) and you need expert legal advice with a friendly face, we encourage you to visit Newbold's Barry office as soon as possible. We are experienced legal professionals who specialise in concise, jargon-free advice; we always get results, and we are always happy to meet anyone who could benefit from our expertise.
 
Where in Barry is the Newbold Solicitors office?
Our Barry office is located at the following address, as seen on the map segment above:
 
Newbold Solicitors Barry
106 Broad Street
Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
CF62 7AJ
 
If you wish to make an appointment (or simply speak with our solicitors before meeting in person), feel free to call the Barry office on 01446 700693. You can also reach us via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
What can Newbold Solicitors do for me?
The Newbold team in Barry will be able to assist with a wide variety of legal issues, including:
 
Not sure if we'll be able to help you? Call our Barry-based team of solicitors now on 01446 700693.

Buying to Let? Let Us Help!

In recent years the UK's rental property market has been thriving thanks to low mortgage affordability and high property prices. This has seen a boom in buy-to-let culture because of the profits at stake. Many individuals are investing in buy-to-let properties and renting them out to some of the many families and individuals currently within the private rental sector. 

 
However, becoming a property landlord is not as simple as buying a house and letting it out. There are many risks and responsibilities involved with buying to let and as a landlord there are certain criteria you must meet for your tenants. The team at Newbold Solicitors have years of practical experience and can provide you with the advice you need to enter the buy-to-let market properly
 
We can teach you what to expect from your investment and help you maximise your profits whether you're simply selling an existing property or looking to buy a new one. Our experience has led us to know the ins and outs of all common pitfalls, and if you let Newbold help with your buy-to-let process not only will your legal rights be protected but we can help you make the most out of your situation. 
 
Remember that when you use Newbold Solicitors we will be there to guide you right through the buy-to-let experience, and can provide expert advice for landlords long after you've begun renting out your property. For as long as you are a landlord we have experts who can help you every step of the way. 
 
To start your buy-to-let journey, contact us today and we can help you on your way.

Rightmove Enquiries Soar

The first half of 2014 saw big boosts for property website Rightmove, The Financial Times have reported.
 
Since the start of the year, more than 22 million enquiries have been sent via rightmove.co.uk. For the uninitiated, the Rightmove website allows people to find properties that are available to buy or to let in a particular area. Search results can be filtered by price, postcode, number of bedrooms, and all sorts of other criteria - it's a great tool that makes it much easier to find the property of your dreams.
 
And in spite of the still-struggling UK economy, millions upon millions of people are flocking to the Rightmove website to search for their next home. This, of course, means that estate agents are falling over each other to be seen on the site, and so Rightmove's advertising revenue has been on the rise recently too.
 
What does this mean for homeowners?
 
It means that now is a great time to sell! Rightmove's site traffic is currently at an all-time high, and who knows how many of those users are looking for a home just like yours?
 
Websites like Rightmove and Zoopla have become crucial advertising tools for estate agents; any agency worth its salt will now put your home on all the big property websites as a matter of course. With the whole UK seemingly looking to up sticks and move to a different home, you'll have a huge pool of potential buyers, which of course means that you'll be all the more able to take a step up the property ladder yourself!
 
If you are selling your home and/or buying a new one, you'll need a professional conveyancing solicitor to handle the contracts. Newbold Solicitors have received an accreditation for Conveyancing Quality from The Law Society, and we have a wealth of experience in the property market, so contact us today!

Is Your Home in Disrepair?

 
BROKEN HOUSE
 
If you live in rented accommodation, it is your landlord's responsibility to keep the property in a good state of repair. He or she must ensure that your rented home is habitable, and if they fail to do so, you may be able to claim compensation for disrepair.
 
Do I qualify for disrepair?
Without the help of a legal professional, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a disrepair case is worth pursuing. Under the 1985 and 2004 Housing Acts, your landlord is obliged to take responsibility for the following issues:
 
  • Problems with plumbing
  • Problems with gas/electricity
  • Blocked or broken gutters
  • Damage to the roof and/or chimneys
  • Structural issues
  • Damage to walls (interior or exterior)
Some responsibilities may be defined within your tenancy agreement, but on the whole, any large-scale repair work will always be the responsibility of the landlord. As a tenant, you should not be expected to complete any task beyond (for example) changing a fuse or unblocking a drain.
 
If your landlord has failed to repair any of the problems listed above, you may well be eligible for compensation. If your health or your belongings have been damaged by the problems with the property, you may also be able to claim compensation for this.
 
What should I do now?
If you home has fallen into disrepair and your landlord has failed to act, we strongly recommend that you contact us. We have helped hundreds of tenants to resolve issues with their landlords, and we have a NO WIN, NO FEE policy for disrepair cases (very few firms offer this!)
 
We often recommend that tenants refuse to pay rent until repairs are made, but every case is different, and so we cannot tell you what to do next until you pick up the phone and give us a call.
 
Image Credit: Christine Matthews