What Property Managers Must Know About Fair Housing Laws, but Are Afraid to Ask

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 5:00 AM | Leave Comment

Fair Housing Laws have undergone significant reform over the past century. New legislation continues to be pushed back and forth between landlords and their tenants in an effort to ensure fairness and equality.

But this confusion about what is law and what might not be covered by the legal code can leave property managers with a lot of questions that we will answer here today.

  • The Fast Track “No Fault” Eviction

    Known as Section 21 in the Housing Act 1988, this legislation allows a landlord to legally force an assured short-hold tenancy agreement to come to an end.

    However, proper precautions must be taken in order to make this legally binding:

    • A property manager must serve a tenant with a Notice Requiring Possession

    • The tenant must be give a minimum of two months’ notice

    As long as done properly and lawfully, a property manager is not required to give any reason for the eviction. However, when not lawfully performed, a property manager and/or the landlord of the property can find themselves facing harsh penalties and possibly a lengthy court battle.

    Before serving an eviction notice of any kind, it’s always best to seek counsel from legal professionals such as the solicitors at the law office of GT Stewart, who are experienced in proper application of the UK’s housing and tenement laws.

  • Anti-Social Behaviour in Tenants

    One of the primary reasons why landlords and property managers may choose to make use of Section 21 is because their tenants are displaying “anti-social behaviour.” This can include:

    • Verbal abuse

    • Animal nuisance (this includes a tenant not picking up dog waste)

    • Intimidation and harassment

    • Homophobic behaviour

    • Vandalism and graffiti

    • Property damage

    • Rubbish dumping

  • Housing Repairs and Inspections

    It’s always a good idea for a property manager to perform, at a minimum, an annual inspection of the property.

    Many property managers will also be tasked by the owner to perform regular and routine maintenance, from major repairs to minor fixes.

    Landlords must ensure that the property being rented by another individual is in good repair. This means:

    • Ensuring all common areas are safe and secure

    • Providing a dry home (i.e. any leaks in the roof or foundation are taken care of)

    • That the home is free from pest infestation (i.e. rodents, bed bugs, fleas, etc.)

    When a tenant contacts the property manager about a repair, it is then the property manager’s responsibility to obtain a quotation for the repair and then receive approval from the landlord to proceed with the repair.

    In many cases, a property manager and the landlord will have already discussed allowable expenditure limits, though this should be contained within a written contract to protect the property manager’s rights as well as those of the landlord.

  • Contracts and Property Managers

    Many property managers assume that they are immediately taking on all of the roles and obligations of a landlord, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Property managers must have a discussion with the landlord before signing any contracts on their behalf.

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