The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is due to come into force on the 15th July 2022.
Landlords and Agents need to be aware of the serious financial repercussions for non-compliance.
Non-compliance means that your tenants (contract holders) are legally entitled to pursue you in the Courts for financial compensation should the new legislation be breached.
As of 15th July 2022:
- The tenant becomes the contract holder.
- The tenancy agreement becomes the occupation contract .
- Any existing assured short-hold/secure tenancy agreement or licence will convert to an occupation contract.
Compensation/damages is payable by the landlord if he or his agents:
- Fail to give the contract holder a written statement within 14 days from the occupation date specified in the occupation contract.
- Fail to provide a complete written statement.
- Fail to provide a correct written statement.
- Fail to provide a written statement in respect of a conversion from assured short-hold etc; to occupation contract.
- Fail to provide information in relation to the landlord – the landlord’s identity and address.
- Fail to provide information in relation to a change of identity of a landlord and their address.
- Fail to provide a written statement of variation of a periodic standard contract.
- Failure to provide a written statement of variation of a fixed terms standard contract.
Examples of compensation/damages
Failure to provide written statement – compensation is payable in accordance with section 87 of the Act and is equivalent to a day’s rent for each day that the written statement is not provided, up to a maximum of two month’s rent until the statement has been provided.
However, If the contract-holder believes the failure to provide the written statement was intentional, section 87 also enables the contract-holder to apply to the court for the compensation amount to be increased.
Interest will be added to the compensation amount if the landlord fails to provide the statement within the two month period.
Section 88 enables the contract-holder to set off any compensation he or she is owed against rent.
Failure to provide a complete written statement of the contract – the contract-holder may apply to the court for a declaration. If the court concludes that the provision of an incomplete statement was deliberate on the part of the landlord it can order the landlord to pay compensation to the contract-holder and that compensation may be increased up to a maximum of double the original amount.
Here at MLS we are regularly instructed by landlords to advise on compliance and possession claims. If you have any questions please contact us on 01244 478 730 and we will be happy to help.
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us for advice.Read More
Welsh Landlords – the requirement for Landlords to provide 6 months notice to occupants who are protected tenants, statutory tenants, secure tenants, assured tenants, assured shorthold tenants , introductory tenants and demoted tenants (except where those notices relate to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence) is EXTENDED once more to 24 March 2022.
This extension is NOT applicable to English Landlords.
We are sure that a renewed extension period will be both heart-breaking and frustrating for many Landlords across Wales. However, Landlords do not have to wait to take positive legal action.
Landlords should seriously consider serving their tenants with either a s21 notice or a s8 notice. Actual receipt of the notice correctly drafted and served with an appropriate letter from your solicitor, could provide the catalyst for tenants leaving the property without the necessity and expense of issuing court proceedings.
An extension to the notice period for eviction is not a waiver of the tenants contractual responsibilities to pay the rent.
Landlords are reminded that there is no defence (provided the s21 notice is correctly drafted) to obtaining possession of a property should possession proceedings be initiated. Furthermore, the tenant could be responsible for the legal costs of the Landlord.
If Landlords rely on a s8 notice served on their tenants as a first step initiating possession proceedings, the tenant will not only be ordered to leave the property but also be held responsible for all outstanding rent arrears and legal costs.
To help prevent people getting into financial hardship, there has been an increase in the local housing allowance (LHA) as of in April 2020 to the 30th percentile of local market rents.
For 2021-22 the Government has made available £140 million in Discretionary Housing Payments funding for local authorities in England and Wales to distribute to help support vulnerable people with housing costs.
In Wales there is a Tenancy Hardship Grant. The tenant must have experienced financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been unable to pay their rent. (Previous blog on website).
Here at MLS we are regularly instructed by Landlords to advise on compliance and possession claims. If you have any questions please contact us on 01244 478730 and we will be happy to help.
By Elaine Gunning
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on 01244 478 730 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
A Letter Before Action (LBA) is a formal letter sent by a creditor (a business) to the debtor (another business) which includes the demand for payment and the terms on which it is to be paid and is in line with the guidelines set in the Practice Direction.
The letter acts as a firm warning of the claim going to court if the amount is not repaid by the date mentioned. A solicitor’s letter is usually quite effective in encouraging an open discussion and can lead to an out of court settlement for your business, which not only saves you time but also helps to maintain business relationships.
Why using MLS can save you time and money
We understand that recovering debt can be a tiring process and that businesses may be cautious when it comes to confronting debtors that have been in partnership with for a long time and asking them for money.
Our experienced team can take the stress of sending a final warning and remind the other side of the consequences of not responding.
We have your best interests in mind, which is why we take a personal approach to each individual case to see what will work for our clients.
We will use the information you provide to write a clear and concise LBA that will encourage open communication and aim for an out of court settlement if possible.
What should you include in an LBA? (This is for guidance only)
- The name and address of your company.
- The name and address of the company that owes you money (ensure all information isup to date).
- Their contact details.
- The terms on how the relationship of both parties will continue e.g. are you carrying onas a partnership?
- The amount owed and the fact that this is overdue.
- If you are claiming any interest then state the amount.
- The date on which the payment is to be made by and the consequences of not doing so.
Benefits of an LBA
- Satisfies the legal requirement and advice set out in the pre-action protocols for commercial debt recovery in the event of court proceedings.
- Helps both parties to communicate effectively
- Shows that you are taking control of the debt and are serious about recovering the remaining balance.
- Reduces the risk of relationships deteriorating by allowing the debtor time to repay the debt and/or talk through possible repayment options with the business.
Click here for our fees for a Letter Before Action and commercial debt support
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call us today on 01244 478 730 to book free consultation.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a massive impact on the operation of businesses in the UK. Some have been left with very little to spare, which has hurt their operations and ability to grow. Recovering debt can be a time-consuming and stressful process for an organisation that is already facing repercussions from the pandemic. Data taken from Sidetrade showed that in March 2020, the rate of unpaid invoices increased by +23% as a result of the UK leaving the EU as well as the pandemic. Our firm can help you maintain business relationships by exploring an effective but sympathetic approach to your debts.
How long is the process?
Debt recovery can take as little as 24 hours to a few weeks to recover, in some cases longer depending on the nature of the debt and the amount involved. Using a third party such as a law firm can increase the chances of your debt being recovered as it puts pressure on debtors to pay up.
If pursuing action through the courts, it can take up to 30 weeks for a case to go to trial and extra time depending on whether the debt is disputed.
The steps involved
- Check if adequate time has passed before taking action. You may wish to speak with the debtor personally and check any existing contract to allow them the opportunity to repay the amount owed.
- Send a letter to remind the debtor by stipulating a deadline by which they must pay the outstanding balance. This can be used as evidence should the matter be taken to court and so it is essential for all communication to be in writing, particularly to avoid any misunderstandings.
- A Letter Before Action (LBA) is an official letter that ought to be sent to the debtor before court proceedings are started. Complex set of rules govern what needs to be included within LBA and it is advisable to speak to an experienced solicitor before it is sent.
Usually a LBA is highly effective in retrieving payment as it is a formal letter by a law firm and more likely to receive a response.
- If the LBA does not work, the last step is to take the debtor to court and start proceedings against them. Although this is the quickest way to ensure that the money owed is returned, it can become a costly and lengthy process if there are large amounts involved or if the debtor does not have enough money to repay the creditor.
Once a judge grants a County Court Judgement, but the debt remains unpaid the creditor usually has several options to recover it, including:
- A charging order- This is the most common method of recovering debt and involves an order being made against the debtor’s property, shares and assets.
- Control goods agreement- Here the debtor agrees to grant the creditor control over certain goods for a fixed amount of time. If the debtor defaults, they risk losing ownership over these goods which are then put up for sale and the proceeds given to the creditor.
- Winding up order- This is where the court appoints a liquidator to recover any assets that are still owned by the debtor in order to obtain as much money as possible to cover the debt.
How we can help
We have an experienced team who can help you in recovering debt in as little time as possible and working in your best interest. We work closely with you and provide updates on each stage of the process to allow you to make the right decision. Click here to find out about our incredible and competitively priced subscription service for businesses.
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call us today on 01244 478 730 to book free consultation.Read More
When starting a business, partners may feel excited and optimistic regarding the future of the company and may believe that they will always get along with one another. This is not always true.
There are a number of factors which can affect the day to day running of a business, such as change in legislation or personal vision for the company. These issues are likely to create a difference in opinion in minor matters or major transactions and lead to stressful situations. Therefore, it is wise to consider the possibility of obtaining a partnership agreement which protects everyone’s interest along the way.
What is a partnership agreement?
A partnership agreement is a formal contract that outlines each partners’ responsibility and aims to divide these equally between all parties. Depending on what type of company you have, a partnership agreement may take on a slightly different name. There are three types of agreements, including:
- Operating Agreement for limited companies;
- Shareholder Agreement for corporations;
- Partnership Agreement for general partnerships
Why create a partnership agreement?
There are major benefits to having a partnership agreement, some of these are discussed below:
This form of agreement helps to establish rules for each partner and dictates how a partnership is run. A major benefit to having such an agreement in place is that it removes any doubt as to the partners’ position and role within a company, thus, leading to fewer disagreements.
If a partnership agreement does not cover a particular situation, there may be disagreements concerning its operation which could result in solicitors being involved. If the dispute is not resolved, it will cost the business time and money to reach a fair decision, especially if courts are involved. Planning in advance and setting out clear terms will help to remove the stress and reduce the chances of a dispute getting out of control.
The Partnership Act 1890
This piece of legislation will be used to govern a partnership in cases where there is no partnership agreement. This will put the company and its partners at a major disadvantage, as the law is quite archaic and will presume all partners have an equal stake in the business. This will not factor in a non-performing or disruptive partner and will contribute to further disputes moving forward.
If you do not have a partnership agreement, the law as mentioned previously, will assume all partners have an equal share. Therefore, this will not take into account how much each partner has contributed to the company in terms of capital and is likely to result in an unfair financial settlement for those who may not have invested as much or carried out the same level of responsibility.
As seen in the examples above, the main purpose of a partnership agreement is to ensure that all partners have a clear vision of their roles and responsibilities. It acts as a safeguard to protect their financial interests as well as dictate how partners can be removed. The main goal here is to ensure fair practices and reduce costs to the company due to disagreements and/or failure to perform.
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please get in touch with us by calling 01244 478730 or email email@example.com and one of our experts will be able to advise.
Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Coronavirus Act 2020, provided tenants, in the rented sector, with protection from eviction, to pevent a homelessness crisis. Tenants received an extension to the notice periods, when a landlord tried to recover possession of their property. The Government also prevented evictions from being enforced by bailiffs. However,the ban on eviction enforcement in England came to an end on 31 May 2021. This article explores the ban being lifted and the impact of the ban being lifted.
Lifting of Eviction Ban
In England, bailiffs will be able to enforce evictions from 1 June 2021. However, if someone in the property, has Covid-19 symptoms, or is self-isolating, bailiffs will not be able to enforce evictions. Landlords will only need to give four months’ notice of eviction, as opposed to six months’ notice, that was required since the start of the pandemic. Subject to the Government’s roadmap, it is likely that from 1 October 2021, two months’ notice periods will return. Notice periods for serious cases will remain lower: domestic abuse (2 to 4 weeks’ notice), anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice), death of a tenant (2 months’ notice), false statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice), 4 months’ or more accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice), breach of immigration rules (2 weeks’ notice). From 1 August, where there is less than 4 months’ unpaid rent, notice periods should reduce to 2 months’ notice.
Impact of the Ban being Lifted
Many councils are warning that the ban being lifted will result in a wave of homelessness, costing a potential £2.2 billion. A study by Shelter, found that 72% of private renters in England, are worried about losing their home, and are already cutting back on heating and food to pay rent. However, tenants still have access to the furlough scheme, and a £20.00 per week uplift in Universal Credit, which the Government has extended until 30 September 2021. Also, evictions will not be enforced if someone in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating. This caveat could prompt a tenant to feign Covid symptoms to prevent enforcement action from a bailiff, and stay in the property. Whilst the ban has been lifted, the ban has not been lifted completely.
The true impact of the ban being lifted is yet to be seen. It is clear that the narrative has been very tenant-centric but more consideration needs to be given to landlords. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated that 45% of private landlords own one property, and are extremely vulnerable to rent arrears. Landlords have outgoings, such as mortgages and bills. There needs to be a consideration of the need for landlords to access justice, and their financial plight, as a result of the Covid pandemic. Specialist legal advice from MLS will be needed by landlords, who seek to evict their tenants, as the eviction ban has not been lifted absolutely.
This article does not constitute legal advice. The law relating to landlord and tenant matters changes rapidly. Please ring us for an up to date legal advice on 01244 478 730
New Safety Rules for Residential Landlords – April 2021 – What does it mean for Tenants and Landlords? (by Jessie Smith)
The new Electrical Safety Standards in Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on the 1st April 2021 and require private sector landlords to monitor the safety of the electrical systems in their properties as well as making any necessary inspections and improvements.
What are the duties of Landlords under the New Safety Rules?
- Electrical instillations to be inspected and tested at least every five years followed by a copy of the safety report to go to the tenant within 28 days.
- Ensure that national standards for electrical safety are met.
- A safety report should also be given to a new tenant before they move in.
- A copy of the report must be sent to any local authority within 7 days of request.
- Complete any remedial or further investigative work shown by the report within 28 days or less if specified by the inspector.
What are the affected properties?
- Regulations apply to all private tenants who pay rent and occupy the property. They also apply to properties which are occupied by multiple parties who share facilities.
Who will enforce the Regulations?
- Local Authorities can enforce the new safety rules if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach of the rules.
- If this is the case, the Local Authority will serve the landlord with a remedial notice and if this is not complied with the authority can step in to arrange a completion of the necessary work and then they will recover the cost from the landlord.
- Local Authorities also have the power to impose a penalty on the landlord for the breach of regulations ( with a notice of intent ) which the landlord has the right to appeal within 28 days of the notice.
Who can carry out the Inspections?
Inspections must be carried out be a qualified professional. Landlords can choose an inspector who is a member of the Competent Person scheme established by the electrical safety industry however the landlord can also choose a non-member and have them sign a checklist to verify their qualifications. Fixed electrical parts of the property such as wiring, and sockets must be inspected although the new rules do not apply to appliances such as refrigerators or cookers, but these still should be regularly checked.
Issues an inspector would be looking for include:
- Fire hazards
- Electrical shock risks
- Defective electrical work
Here an MLS we are regularly instructed by landlords to advise on compliance and possession claims. If you have any questions please contact us on 01244 478 730 , we will be happy to help.
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us for advice.