Legal Documents for Private Landlords

This page provides the links and documents likely to be required when issuing, terminating or making changes to tenancies including documents required when issuing court proceedings.

 Seeking Possession 

There are 2 main routes private landlords can take to regain possession of their property under the Housing Act 1988 – Section 8 and Section 21.

The following link provides guidance on how to get your property back; which route to use and information on what to do if your tenant refuses to leave - Evicting tenants in England and Wales

 Notices and Prescribed Forms

Most landlords whether private or housing associations issue assured and assured shorthold tenancies (AST). During the tenancy certain issues may arise that affect landlords and tenants, such as changes to rent or terms and conditions, changes to the type of tenancy or ending a tenancy. 

For issues that fall inside regulation the government has a series of prescribed forms which should be filled in depending on your scenario - they are called assured tenancy forms - forms for landlords and/or tenants to propose action relating to tenancy agreements.

From 1 October 2015 the validity of section 21 notices depend on when the tenancy started. Landlords who have granted a tenancy after this date will no longer be able to serve a section 21 unless:

  • You have provided a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate and a copy of the latest How to Rent guide
  • You have protected the deposit in an appropriate scheme and issued information required to the tenant within 30 days
  • You have used the prescribed Section 21 Form

Furthermore, landlords cannot serve notice during the first 4 months of the AST start date and once served the section 21 will expire 6 months from the date of service.  

Also, the landlord will not be able to serve a Section 21 for a period of 6 months following the council’s involvement due to disrepair issues which leads to enforcement action through either an improvement notice or emergency remedial action.

From 1 October 2018 AST’s regardless of when they started will be subject to the above changes.

 How to Rent Guide

The guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities and contains a useful checklist when renting properties.

From 1 October 2015 landlords have been required to issue the latest edition of the How to Rent guide on all new and renewal tenancies. The guide will be updated from time to time and landlords must ensure the tenant has the most current issue.

Download the latest edition of the How to Rent guide.

How to Let Guide

The government has produced a guide for current private residential landlords and anyone interested in letting a property in the private rented sector - explaining responsibilities, legal requirements and best practice.

It does not cover leasehold, holiday lets or "resident landlords" who let to lodgers.

Download the latest edition of the How to Let guide.

 Tenancy Deposit Schemes

For tenancies starter after the 6 April 2007 landlords have been required to store tenancy deposits in 1 of 3 government backed schemes:

The schemes protect the deposit and return the deposit once both parties have agreed how much should be returned. Landlords are required to store the deposit and issue the tenant with certain information about the scheme.
Take a look at the government's guidance on tenancy deposit protection for information about how to store deposits, information landlords must provide and the penalties landlords may face for failing to abide by the rules.

Tenant Fees Act 2019

As of June 2019, it is illegal to charge tenant fees other than a deposit, a holding deposit and rent in advance. The changes also include a limit to deposits, you may only charge 5 weeks' worth of rent as a deposit, and you cannot reduce rent over an assured short hold tenancy; this means that you cannot charge £1000 for the first month and £800 for the consecutive months.

For other changes to the law, please the government's Tenant Fee Act 2019 - Guidance 

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