The landlord vs. tenant showdown!
Who really has the upper hand - the landlord or the tenant? Robert Powell gets out and about to see what you think...
The relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be testing to say the least.
But with more and more people blocked out of the property market by a stagnant mortgage sector, it’s a relationship that's set to rise across the country.
In fact, recent research shows that there are now one million more people renting than were doing so back in 2005, with private rented properties now making up almost one in six homes.
But with rising costs and high taxes hitting everyone, is it currently better to be a landlord or a tenant?
Is it better to be a landlord or a tenant?
Increased demand for rented homes is obviously benefiting landlords and allowing them to increase rents.
According to research by Paragon Mortgages, almost a third of landlords have put up rents in the last 12 months.
But it’s not all good news for landlords, who have to deal with rising costs on their own property as well as on their rental investment.
Needless to say, the last thing a landlord wants in these fragile economic times is an unruly tenant. But who has the upper hand in the landlord–tenant relationship?
Who do you think has the upper hand?
Most people I’ve spoken to today thought that landlords always have the upper hand and final say over issues concerning their rented property.
But it’s not always as clear cut as this – especially when it comes to deposits.
Since 2004, all landlords have to safeguard a tenant’s deposit using a third-party deposit protection scheme.
At the end of a tenancy either the landlord or tenant can request repayment of the deposit with the third-party service resolving any disputes – avoiding the need for court action.
Another common dispute between landlords and tenants is over the non-payment of rent.
But despite what many people think, a landlord cannot actually kick a tenant out straight away if they stop paying rent.
Is it right that a tenant can’t be kicked out straight away if they stop paying rent?
A landlord has to obtain a court eviction order to get rid of a tenant – even if they are not paying rent.
This can take anything from two to five months to come through, which means the tenant can live rent-free for a long time, all at the landlord’s expense.
Kicking out non-paying tenants is one area of property law where landlords really seem to be on the back-foot and exposed to fraudulent renters.
And it’s this same rental loophole that squatters use to occupy properties until they are evicted by the courts. But this might not be possible for much longer, as the government has vowed to make squatting completely illegal from next year.
Should squatting be made illegal?
Currently, squatters are able to legally inhabit a property if they enter it without breaking in and the owner is not occupying it or intending to occupy it.
If they satisfy both of these clauses then the owner has to obtain an eviction or interim possession order from the courts to kick the squatters out.
Recently squatters have been targeting expensive, derelict properties bought by overseas businessmen as investments – not homes.
And it’s this difference that can cause difficulties between regular landlords and tenants.
Perhaps if more tenants thought of their rented home as their landlord’s biggest investment – and in return, more landlords viewed their investment as also their tenants’ home - then the testing relationship between these two parties could be made a lot simpler.
What do you think?
Who has the upper hand in the landlord-tenant relationship?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.