Tenants may soon be able to sue their landlords

Tenants to sue landlords over substandard properties!

Yes, that’s right. Last week MPs voted in favour of a Bill that could give tenants the ability to sue landlords over poor housing conditions.

The Government supports The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill and MPs voted unanimously to pass it. It now moves to the Committee stage, where a detailed examination of its obligations takes place.

The details as known

Housing reform If made law, the Bill would amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of “fitness for human habitation”. The Bill extends to England and Wales but will only apply to tenancies in England.

Why is the Bill necessary?

An outdated legal framework

The law at the moment relating to health and safety in people’s homes is widely regarded as piecemeal, out-dated and complex.

The current legislation under section 8 of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act requires most landlords to keep their properties in good repair, including the supply of water, heating and sanitation. But annual rent limits (£52 or less, and £80 or less in London) means that for most tenants, the provisions of section 8 don’t apply.

Increasing concern about standards 

poor housing

A survey in 2015/16 found that the private rented sector has the highest proportion of homes (40%) in England that have at least one indicator of poor housing conditions. What’s more, 28% of privately rented properties failed the decent home standard in 2015.

In July last year, I blogged about the rise in retaliatory evictions by landlords, following requests by private tenants for repairs to be carried out.  This, combined with a lack of resources (be it lack of legal aid, private finance or the wherewithal of how to go about it) makes it very difficult for some tenants to insist on basic improvements to their living conditions.

It makes for a bleak picture for tenants in some areas of the country. But whilst unsuccessful attempts to amend the current legislation have been made a number of times recently,  the devastating events at Grenfell Tower last year, have rightly brought the issue of housing firmly back into the spotlight.

What’s your view?

Of course, full details of what may eventually become law aren’t known. But the Residential Association of Landlords (RLA), National Association of Landlords (NLA) and Shelter have expressed support for the Bill.

As do many landlords. After all, a lot of landlords provide perfectly suitable and well maintained rental properties and the Bill does nothing more than state what they are doing already.

Housing reform However, in November last year you will recall I wrote about the rise in spurious claims by tenants against their landlords and there will always be an element of concern that for those with such intent, this is one more weapon to beat their landlords with.

Overall, however, my view is that this reform is a force for good. Anything that clarifies and simplifies the current legislation should be embraced and to be a successful landlord, you should always be trying to maintain high standards for your tenants.

I’ll keep you posted on any amendments and on the Bill’s progress through Parliament but if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

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10+ reasons to move to Dorking!

10+ reasons to move to Dorking!

Why move to Dorking?

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2018 will be a prosperous and successful one!

But there’s no escaping the general feeling of gloom and doom in January. The twinkly lights and festive spirit are gone, the weather is, well, mainly cold, wet and grey and it feels like a long time until spring.

Add to that the news that as rail fares go up yet again, there’s set to be more strike action in some areas of the country.  It’s all enough to drive you into hibernation until well after the daffodils are out.

But I’m looking on the bright side

Because let’s face it, there is lots to love about living in the Dorking area. We’ve got some incredible countryside right on our doorstep which is perfect for some stunning winter walks. Or you can head into town for a browse of the antique shops or a bite to eat in one of the many quaint little cafés or restaurants.

I’m not the only one who thinks Dorking is a great place to live

Surrey Hills

At the end of last year, estate agent Jackson-Stops revealed its top commuter hotspots based on considerations such as house prices, annual house price growth, train reliability and speed of journey.

And guess what? Dorking game second! Ok, I’d have liked it to come first but second is pretty impressive when you consider some of the competition from the home counties and the south-east corner.

What’s more, Luton in Bedfordshire came first, notwithstanding the fact that last year Reddit users voted it the ‘worst place to live in the UK’!

Now I don’t know Luton that well but I do know Dorking. I know that over the years, it’s won lots of awards, and often been voted one of the best places to live. Even on the gloomiest January day, it’s still a pretty and attractive market town with a thriving and vibrant community and if you’re thinking of moving out of London, you couldn’t do much better than moving to Dorking.

Still not convinced?

10+ great reasons to move to Dorking:

  1. The North Downs and the Surrey Hills (a designated area of outstanding natural beauty which includes Leith Hill, Box Hill, Colley Hill, Holmbury Hill and Newlands Corner) are right on your doorstep for you to enjoy.
  2. Because of its situation, Dorking is a great base if you’re a keen cyclist, runner, hiker or walker.
  3. For commuters, there are no fewer than 3 railway stations, with regular trains to London and the south as well as cross-country links to Guildford, Reigate and Reading. The journey time to central London is just 25 mins and nearby Guildford is a thriving and busy town with a University, large hospital and cathedral!
  4. And if it’s foreign travel you enjoy, you’re only a short distance from the M25 and links to Gatwick and Heathrow.
  5. Dorking even has its own vineyard, the very successful and award-winning Denbies Wine Estate, where you can enjoy wine tasting and tours!
  6. Unemployment in Dorking is lower than both the Surrey and national averages with the number in receipt of working benefits 10% lower than the national average. But during the 2011 census, the residents of Dorking rated their health “very good” which is higher than the national average.
  7. Dorking Dorking is an historic town, with a network of underground caves, attractive architecture and a traditional market.
  8. And if it’s a night out on the town you’re after, Dorking has a cinema, theatre and arts centre as well as lots going on.
  9. According to Zoopla house prices in Dorking rose between January 2017 and 2018 by nearly 3.43% although according to RightMove, “Dorking, with an overall average price of £498,742 was cheaper than nearby Brockham (£610,500), Westcott (£639,864) and Betchworth (£738,000).”
  10. And if you’d love to move here but don’t think you stand a chance, there are a number of new developments within the Dorking area with houses, flats and apartments for sale.
    So, if you already live in Dorking, that’s great news. It really is a lot nicer than Luton, isn’t it? And if you don’t live here, but would like to, why not come and spend some time here this January and discover the many delights Dorking has to offer!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

A brief review of the property market this year and a look at predictions for 2018

A brief review of the property market this year and a look at predictions for 2018

Let’s end the year on a high! House prices are up, if only just and there’s good news for first-time buyers.

Back in October, the BBC published a rather depressing report.  “House prices in more than half of neighbourhoods in England and Wales are still lower in real terms than a decade ago.” they revealed. Up to 58% less in some areas. Added to the general gloom and doom of the Brexit negotiations, it wasn’t what most of us wanted to hear.

But …

maximising the rental yieldHere in the South East, house prices have in fact risen. And although the UK is still very much divided between north and south when it comes to house prices, overall across the UK, prices were up by 5% in the year to August 2017 and the market has been more robust this year than was predicted.

On Zoopla’s website they are recording:

The average price for property in South East England stood at £416,084 in December 2017. This is a rise of 0.81% in the last three months (since September 2017) and rise of 1.84% since 12 months ago. In terms of property types, flats in South East England sold for an average of £243,845 and terraced houses for £306,503.”

And in 2018?

Early this week, Rightmove predicted that house prices of small and medium-priced homes around the country will rise by 1% in 2018 (albeit with a decline in London). That’s despite a slight drop in the average asking price in England and Wales between November and December this year.

Rightmove also predicts that the increase will be slightly higher (3%) for properties typically bought by first time buyers (i.e. two bedroom properties or less) and for properties bought by those moving on from their first home (2%).

Slow but still good news

There is no escaping the fact that an increase of 1% is pretty modest, but it’s worth considering the predictions from this time last year which were that the property market would stagnate and the picture would be a lot worse.

Incentives for first-time buyers

tips for moving houseAnnounced in last month’s budget, the new stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers saw an instant flurry of new buyers making enquiries and registering with estate agents.

With immediate effect, the exemption abolished stamp duty for all properties up to £300,000 bought by first-time buyers.  For those first-time buyers buying a property worth between £300,000 and £500,000, the new policy provides a £5k discount off stamp duty.

Despite more predictions of gloom, it remains to be seen what effect this will have on house prices, although some suspect that those who will benefit most will be those second-time buyers who are upsizing.

The stamp duty cut wasn’t the only measure in the recent Budget introduced to boost the property market which included making available £44bn of funding, loans and guarantees to boost the housing supply by 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that there are still other resources available if you’re hoping to buy for the first time, including:

  • Help to Buy with an Equity Loan. Save a minimum 5% deposit of the property value and the Government will offer an interest-free loan of a further 20%. The remaining 75% is covered by a standard mortgage.
  • Help to Buy ISA and Lifetime ISA. I’ve written about these previously, and they are still a valuable resource. With the Help to Buy ISA, for every £200 you save into the account, the Government will add £50. This is up to a maximum bonus of £3,000 (which applies to £12,000 of savings). The Lifetime ISA offers a tax-free boost of up to £1,000 a year towards either buying your first home or saving towards retirement – and is available for savers aged under 40.

It’s always difficult to predict the property market but from an on the ground perspective here in the Dorking area, the situation does seem to continue to be reasonably dynamic. And if you’re thinking of buying or selling your first home in the foreseeable future, early in the new year could be the best time to capture some of the current interest and best deals.

So all that remains now, is for me to wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to catching up with you in 2018!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Selling an empty house? Should you furnish it or not?

What’s the best way to sell an empty property?

 

Hard as it is to believe, soon Christmas will be over and it will be prime time to place your property on the market. That’s all well and good if it’s your current home and you can spend time tidying up and adding some warm, finishing touches to present it at its best.

selling your empty property But what about when it’s empty? Should you furnish it or leave it as it is? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all answer to this. However, if you go through the following list, you should get a better idea of what is best for your situation:

  1. The condition of the property 

Fixtures and fittings hide a multitude of sins. That’s not that I am suggesting for one moment that you should deceive potential buyers. Absolutely not. But in an empty house, issues that may not actually be that significant or major can look like a much bigger issue and become a distraction.

selling your home

Take a slight stain on the paintwork, a bit of mildew from condensation or a damaged bit of skirting board. With an empty house, they are very obvious and can become the focus of a buyer’s attention – even though they are probably easy to fix.

The other thing to consider is how an empty house portrays itself and what first impression it creates. Does it come across as a warm, family home or will the first impression be a damp, musty smell?

My advice would be that if you want or have to sell it empty, you should invest a little in making sure it’s gleaming and spotless, as well as smelling fresh and clean. That will mean you probably need to bring the decor up to a very high standard.

Whatsmore, don’t forget to consider the condition of any fixtures that are being sold with it – do they need refreshing or replacing? And make sure the property is kept well ventilated and smelling fresh. Could you use some scented home fragrance (but don’t overdo it of course) to ensure it smells nice?

Finally, do not forget the condition of the carpets, floors and curtains! These can and do often retain unpleasant odours and stains so professional cleaning may be required.

2. The condition of any furniture you could install 

You may not have the budget or resources to furnish the property you’re selling, in which case, you will have to follow the steps above and below. But if you are considering furniture, do think about quality and impressions.

A furnished house is great for those buyers that can’t see beyond what is in front of them, those that don’t have the vision to imagine it as their home. It helps them work out how a bedroom or sitting room could be laid out and to what extent their furniture will fit.

But shabby, battered old furniture, that you’ve sourced on the cheap, could do more harm than good when it comes to creating the impression of a warm and comfortable home. Think about your budget carefully and decide whether your money wouldn’t be better spent bringing the decor and empty interior up to standard.

3. Don’t forget the outside 

maintaining your property for sale Having talked about first impressions, you must not forget kerb appeal and the garden. It’s absolutely essential to keep the garden of an empty property well maintained – even in winter – so that it looks tidy. You should also consider outside lighting and any other little touches that may have an impact if a potential buyer drives passed for a quick look or for when they first arrive.

4. Photos and floor plans 

One of the most influential aspects of encouraging interest is, of course, the photographs or your property. Most buyers will decide whether or not to view, based on these.

It can be difficult to create the right impression with an empty room. You don’t necessarily get the perspective of a room, in the same way as you do with a furnished house, where there is furniture by which you can judge how big a room is.

Therefore, if your property is unfurnished, your floor plans are going to play an important role. Check that they are crystal clear and include each room and ask whether you can add any details to make them more illustrative.

5. Your buyers 

In much of this post, I’ve put the emphasis on the buyers looking for a family home but of course, that’s not always the case. Think about the different types of buyers you might attract. Is your property likely to sell as an investment property? Is it ripe for substantial improvements or alterations? Might it be converted into multiple occupancies? It goes without saying, these factors will make a difference as to whether or not furnishings will make a difference.

If you’re still in any doubt, why not give me a call and we can discuss your property and what the best way to present it is.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

Calling all landlords – new Energy Efficiency rules from April 18

Calling all landlords – new Energy Efficiency rules from April 18

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

In April next year, new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force. I blogged about this back in April this year and the fact that non-compliance carries a fine of up to £150,000!

So it’s very worrying to read research by EON which suggests 21% of landlords expect to have to spend over £1,000 on energy efficiency over the next 5 years.

Even more worrying is research by LetBritain that suggests 34% of landlords still don’t even know that they have to provide an Energy Performance Certificate for their property.

The new regulations – a quick recap

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales. These regulations mean that from April 2018, it will be unlawful to grant a new lease of a property if it has an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

After 1 April 2023, landlords must register an exemption for any building with an EPC rating of less than E if they wish to let the building.

EPCs let the person who will use the building know how costly it will be to heat and light, and what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be.

For more information about the exemptions and non-compliance penalties, just visit our previous blog about Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES).

energy efficiency certificate

Mitigating the impact

Back in April, I made the point that the regulations aren’t all doom and gloom, and forward-thinking landlords have the potential to increase rental and asset value by making energy efficiency improvements and combining these with other upgrades.

This remains the case, and having a highly energy efficient property (which therefore attracts lower bills) may make your property the stand out property for potential tenants.

Check any existing EPC

If your property has an existing EPC, it will highlight cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating.  This can be a good place to start a thorough review of your property’s energy performance and identify areas for improvement.

Next, check the basics:

  • Windows and doors. Poorly insulated windows can account for 10%+ of heat loss. Double glazed windows or secondary glazing can make a significant difference. Secondary glazing is not quite as effective as double glazing but is more affordable.

Also check areas prone to drafts such as doors, letterboxes and even keyholes. Replacing old doors to exclude drafts (and improve security) can be a quick win.

MEES

  • Walls and lofts. Consider the construction of the property. Older properties with solid walls as well as newer ones, with cavity walls, can both benefit from additional insulation. It can be relatively easily applied and make a big difference to energy loss.

Also, check the quality of the loft insulation and whether it is complete. Loss of heat through the roof can amount to a quarter of a property’s overall heat loss.

  • Boiler. Check the boiler and consider whether an upgrade is appropriate.
  • Solar panels (which help heat the house) may seem like a big investment but could make a difference long term.

It’s also worth exploring any other new technology which could have an impact long-term and be attractive to potential tenants.

For landlords who are worried about the costs, financial support may be available through the Energy Company Obligation if tenants meet certain qualifying criteria.

However, the most important thing at this stage is to be aware of your responsibility and to take the appropriate measures. Failure to do so, may not only open you up to the risk of a substantial fine but could leave you with a property that is empty and unrentable.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

How to avoid a claim that an eviction was retaliatory

How to avoid a claim that an eviction was retaliatory

Back in July, I posted a blog about retaliatory evictions – landlords who evict tenants (or put up their rent) because the tenant has complained about something or asked for repairs to be carried out.

In that post, I outlined the current protection available to tenants as well as some basic steps that landlords should take to ensure they don’t fall foul of the law.

However, according to recent research, there has been a rise in claims against landlords for retaliatory evictions, some of which have been found to be spurious – a retaliatory claim of retaliatory eviction if you like. So, in this post, I thought it would be helpful to expand on my recommendations for what you should do as a landlord to safeguard yourself against such a claim.

A quick recap of the law

The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced protection against retaliatory eviction for tenants who have assured shorthold tenancy agreements entered into after the 1st October 2015. However, the protection will be extended to all assured shorthold tenancies from the 1st October 2018.

Under current provisions, landlords should provide an “adequate response” to a complaint within 14 days. Failure to respond and / or repair can result in a number of sanctions including the court refusing a claim for eviction, a court order to carry out the repairs / or the service of a notice of improvement and the possibility of hefty fines.

Protecting your position

  1. Make sure you have a written policy and procedure in respect of complaints and repairs. I would suggest that this records that you actively encourage tenants to report any issues and includes a system for making sure your tenants are asked on a reasonably regular basis, whether or not there are any repairs required or other issues. This is likely to include regular inspections by you as a landlord or by your agent.

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingYour policy should also, of course, include what your intentions are in respect of both responding and ensuring the necessary work is carried out.

As a minimal requirement, I would suggest that your policy includes that you will provide a response to the complaint within 14 days at the very latest. If this is an issue, then you really ought to consider engaging the services of a managing agent to do it for you.

Of course, getting works carried out may take longer. However, always make sure you:

  • keep a written record to show what you’ve done and that you have done everything you could have done in order to get the works carried out as quickly as possible.
  • keep the tenants informed (preferably with a paper trail), every step of the way.

If, for any reason, the tenant is obstructive, ensure you also keep a written record of this too.

  1. Make sure your tenant knows about your approach and attitude towards reporting repairs as early as possible. It would be a good idea for tenants to sign your policy to indicate that they are aware of it but you also need to make sure it’s easy for your tenant to report a problem. Make sure they know how to do so, and continue, throughout the tenancy, to remind them that you take a positive attitude towards repairs.
  2. Make sure you know your legal repair obligations (both in respect of the exterior structure and the internal installations such as water, gas, electricity and sanitation) under Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. If you’re not clear about any aspect, please get in touch.
  3. Make sure any agent you choose is both reliable and shares your positive and encouraging approach in respect of repairs.
  4. Keep a written record of works carried out and when.
  5. If you are thinking of evicting a tenant, for whatever reason, check that there is nothing outstanding before you issue your claim.

It’s a common-sense approach

Being positive and proactive in respect of complaints and repairs shouldn’t be an additional burden. In fact, it’s both essential and obvious, if you want to attract good, long-term tenants who treat your property well and keep it well maintained. Failure to be positive in your approach, not only opens you up to the possibility of a claim, it also means you are neglecting your own asset.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Have you protected yourself against rent arrears?

Have you protected yourself against rent arrears?

Protecting yourself against arrears

Research by the Residential Landlords Association suggests that 28% of landlords have experienced rent arrears in the last 12 months.

What’s more, earlier this year, a study by Your Move found that at least 9% of tenants across England and Wales were in arrears.

It paints a slightly bleak picture for landlords.

So how do you reconcile rent payments and collect both rent and arrears?

rent collection serviceDo you have an efficient, automated system or do you get out a ledger, spend several hours going through the books and several more chasing the payments?

And more importantly, what sort of impact is this having on your rental business and your stress levels?

Even the most efficient and well-organised landlords may find themselves dealing with a tenant who is in arrears and sometimes, with persistently late or non-payers, it can feel like the law is weighted heavily in the tenant’s favour.

All of which means, it’s very important to ensure you have the best possible systems to avoid arrears in the first place, as well as having protection in place in case the worst happens.

Prepare for late payment

Even the best tenants can fall into arrears sometimes so make sure you make provision for some arrears as you plan your annual costs. Otherwise, you may find yourself unexpectedly unable to meet your overheads.

As early as possible in your career as a landlord, build arrears into your financial plan. As you plan purchase costs and ongoing upkeep and outgoings, budget on the basis that you will only receive 10 out of 12 rent payments a year. This should give you a sufficient buffer to see you safely through any periods of late or non-payment.

Vet tenants and ask for a guarantor

A thorough vetting of any prospective tenant is essential. Most letting agents will do this for you but do check that their vetting process includes checking a tenant’s employment and previous landlord and in some cases, asking for someone to guarantee the rent payments. In fact, at EweMove we even go so far as visiting a prospective tenant in their current home because we believe that gives us a really good indication as to what sort of tenant they’ll be.

Insure against lost rental income

There are a variety of landlord insurance products available to help minimise your risk of loss. You will need to check the terms of any such policies to see what degree of tenant referencing they require, how much they will cover and whether that includes legal costs.

At EweMove we provide you with our own insurance and protection, namely with our Client Money Protection Insurance and if you’d like to know more about that, please get in touch.

Consider your collection process

This should include a written policy for dealing with late payment (including repayment terms) which you must stick to.

You should also try and make your rent collection as automated and efficient as possible: send reminders in advance of the day rent is due, collect rent by way of direct debit and have a system which tries to collect again if the first attempt fails.

And of course, regular reconciliation of payments due and made is another essential, so that you’re immediately aware if a payment is late.

But what if, despite your best efforts, the rent is still not paid?

dealing with rent arrears The first thing to remember is that you cannot evict your tenant yourself for non or late payment of rent. Indeed, you may be committing a crime if you do! Harassing a tenant can also result in criminal sanctions and fines.

Of course, you will need to contact a non-paying tenant promptly but this needs to be handled sensitively.  Find out what’s gone wrong and then you can establish the best way forward.

Your options will of course vary, from repayment plans to temporarily adjusting the rent or in the worse case scenario, applying to the courts for eviction. You may also want or need to take professional advice at this stage.

And remember, if you want to evict your tenant you will have to apply to the court for an order and there will be a period of at least two months even if you succeed before you get an order for vacant possession.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com