Landlord & tenant disputes
Whether freehold/leasehold disputes (such as blocks of flats, converted villas or residential tenancies) we deal with issues with regard to setting up the management companies, resolution of disputes and recovering possession. In most cases, spending some money at the start of a contractual relationship can reap rewards at the end, when issues can arise and things can turn quite nasty. Failure to draw up correct documentation at the beginning can incur significant costs at the end.
Assured shorthold tenancies
We can help at all stages of the setting up of an assured shorthold tenancy for residential properties and provide all of the relevant paperwork. There is a whole raft of legislation that covers residential tenancies and, as a landlord, it is important to ensure your paperwork is current and up to date. What may have been adequate last year, may not be this year. Failure to provide correct paperwork to your tenant could leave you open to a significant claim.
We also advise tenants on claims against their landlords. The assured shorthold tenancy document is a contract between the two parties and they must both understand what they are entering into. Disputes can be solved through the courts or, ideally, through pragmatic exchange of letters and phone calls, for example. It’s much more cost effective than the court process. We have good links with most local authorities in Devon regarding housing standards, as well as strong relationships with other relevant professionals.
These are often encountered in blocks of flats or big houses converted into flats/apartments. Understanding the terms of the lease is critical. Quite often, there are disputes about the maintenance of the building, buildings insurance and who is liable to carry out the repairs, for example. Freeholders’ responsibilities are quite onerous, but often they are not aware of the implications of the failure to carry out their obligations correctly. The most common disputes in this area relate to service charge and maintenance.
Commercial premises leases can vary significantly because each party can, effectively, draft their own agreement, or rely on standard documents. The interpretation of standard leases can still be difficult and failure to follow the terms can have significant impact on businesses. For example, if you wish to end your own lease by service of notice on the landlord, serving the notice one day late can have a significant impact on your business. Payment of rent, guarantors, and breach of lease are the most common issues that arise and the sooner either party seeks advice, the sooner the issue, usually, can be resolved (hopefully at a cheaper cost to both sides).
We cover repossession proceedings for assured shorthold tenancies, residential leases and commercial premises. Each has their own process and often it is not clear to the inexperienced which route to follow or, indeed, how to start. Much will depend on the ultimate result the end result the client is seeking, and our advice would be tailored to that. Regarding residential properties, if an occupier has not left when requested to do so then a court order is needed. Any attempt to evict the occupier without one amounts to an illegal eviction, which can have financial consequences. We offer cost-effective advice that helps deliver a good outcome. Sometimes we seek the opinion of other experts, giving you the best possible chance of success.
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