Frequently Asked Questions
We receive a wide variety of queries to our letting agents legal helpline. In this section we share some of the answers that we think may be of wider interest.
Q: Does a resident landlord have to obtain and provide a gas safety certificate to a lodger?
A: Yes - if a boiler is in the property, regardless of whether the lodger has access to it, the landlord must have it checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer every year and provide a gas safety record.
Q: Does a landlord need a new tenancy or formal assignment if they buy an investment property with an AST tenant already in occupation?
A: No, the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) act 1995 apply to all types of tenancy agreements including ASTs. It means that the incoming landlord will get the benefit of the tenant’s covenants under the agreement without the need for a formal assignment or new tenancy.
Q: In a block of flats does the landlord need an EPC for each flat that is rented out or can one cover the whole building?
A: In almost every case the landlord will need to produce an EPC for each separate flat let out. The regulations are unhelpfully complicated but the Energy Performance of Buildings (England & Wales) Regulations 2012 recently changed the definition of a ‘Building’ to include a flat in a block.
Q: Does a surrender of a tenancy have to be in writing and by deed?
A: No, if the tenancy is for less than three years – which the vast majority of ASTs are - it does not have to be by deed. Nor does it have to be in writing. Surrender can happen by operation of law when both parties unequivocally act in a way that is inconsistent with the continuation of the tenancy, e.g. the tenant handing the keys back and the landlord re-letting the property. Our advice, however, is always to obtain a surrender agreement in writing to give certainty and avoid potential disputes.
Q: Does a tenant have to give notice to move out at the end of the fixed term?
A: No, it is settled law that tenants don’t have to give notice to end the tenancy on the expiry of the fixed term. Many tenancy agreements contain a clause to that effect but the OFT guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements makes it clear that they consider such clauses to be unfair, and therefore liable to be struck out if challenged at court.
For more information regarding our legal helpline for landlords and letting agents, or if you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact us directly on 080 8168 4210.