Having suffered through an arguably ‘slow news week’ you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘quiet enjoyment’ has more to do with celebrity super injunctions than rented property.
In fact it is one of the core concepts that underpin tenure legislation in the UK – and in particular allows the PRS to function as well that it does. It is the virtue which makes the PRS an attractive place to live, as tenants can be reassured of their right to privacy and a home life throughout their tenancy.
In fact, It is so basic a concept that most landlords and tenants rarely give it s a moment’s conscious thought.
However, over the course of the last week two stories have come to the attention of the media which highlight members of the letting community demonstrating a worrying degree of disregard for tenants’ rights to quiet enjoyment.
Both stories focussed on the perennial issue of how to handle non-paying tenants – and offer a master-class in what not to do.
At the beginning of the week it seemed that every national newspaper ran extensive stories about the landlord near Harrogate who effectively barricaded his tenants in his property when they attempted to terminate their tenancy early. The landlord in question was pictured having skips placed at the entrance to the property in order to prevent removal of the his tenants’ possessions.
The second story, which rounded off the week on Friday, looked at the latest in a string of letting agents who has started erecting advertising boards which ‘name and shame’ those in arrears.
Obviously, press coverage tends to simplify and exaggerate reality but taking the published details on face value it is hard to imagine that any judge would fail to conclude that tenants were being harassed in both cases.
The NLA – as you would expect – shares the frustration of landlords and agents who are losing significant amounts of money to errant householders. We can certainly sympathise with the thousands of landlords every year that have to pursue their losses through the courts while their businesses suffer.
Press coverage like this reflects badly on us all.
Being a landlord is both an investment and a business, and with any venture such as this there are risks which must be considered and laws which must be observed.
Once a tenancy is entered into, every tenant has a right to treat that property as his or her home – and as distasteful as it sometimes seems – this applies even if they fail to pay the rent.
Only once the tenancy has been lawfully ended, by mutual agreement or court order, do a landlords’ obligations end.
Any attempt to ‘make life difficult’ for a tenant, or to prevent them going about their daily life may fall foul of a number of laws – and could even result in a custodial sentence.
We all know that letting property can be frustrating and rent arrears can destroy a business – but is a short cut really worth a criminal record?