This guide provides information for private landlords, including standards for privately rented housing.

Lambeth's private rented sector is vibrant and growing. At Lambeth we take a balanced approach to the private rented sector which celebrates best practice whilst taking robust enforcement action against rogue landlords.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Rent your property - Lambeth Lets

Lambeth Lets is a free service available to landlords and agents working in Lambeth and beyond. We will introduce you to an excellent tenant and provide an efficient service which will minimise your voids. Our vision is to create lasting tenancies which work for both landlords and tenants.

Rent and incentive

All of the rents that we agree are set at the local housing allowance. This is to ensure that they are affordable for your new tenant, who is likely to be on housing benefit. By agreeing a rent at the local housing allowance level, you are able to budget for the long term knowing that you have a sustainable and secure source of income.
You can find the local housing allowance in your area on the Government website: Local Housing Allowance Rates.

We will pay you a generous non-refundable incentive. Unlike a conventional deposit, this does not need to be placed in a deposit protection scheme. You can decide how you use the money. The incentive you will be entitled to depends on the size and location of your property as well as our demand at the time of letting.

Tenants

All of the tenants we will introduce to you are thoroughly assessed by our expert team. You can be confident that they have gone through a robust tenant vetting process. They also attend a training course to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and they sign our tenant's code of conduct.
You will meet your tenant before they sign up and we are happy to arrange block viewings so as to give you a choice of suitable tenants.

Ongoing support

Our landlord advice team will deal with your enquiries and support you to manage your property free of charge. We can also provide your tenant with support through our floating support service. If you already have a tenant, please contact your landlord adviser.

Landlord advice
Telephone: 020 7926 0200

What we are looking for

We are interested in decent properties in South London. Currently we have a high demand for two bed properties but have tenants waiting for properties of all sizes. All we ask of you is that you supply the normal safety certificates, are an accredited landlord, and agree to our terms and conditions. As standard we agree fixed term tenancies of 12 months, but are happy to negotiate longer agreements if this would benefit your business.

So you are interested

Contact the team today! A property finder will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the scheme and to guide you through our simple and efficient letting process.

Lettings
Telephone: 020 7926 9105

2. Landlord Accreditation and Forums

The council is committed to improving practice and standards in the private rented sector in Lambeth. We want to promote good landlords and involve them in decisions about the future of the sector.

Landlord Accreditation

Accredited alndlords understand the law and are committed to best practice in the sector. They have attended and passed landlords training and keep up-to-date through continuous professional development. Anyone who is a good landlord can become accredited.
Find out more about landlord accreditation.

All accredited landlords can promote themselves as meeting the 'London Rental Standard'. This is a London-wide quality mark set up specifically to promote best practice among landlords. As a London Rental Standard landlord you will be entitled to a range of benefits including preferential rates on insurance and deposit protection scheme.
Find out more about the London Rental Standard.

If you want further advice or information on landlord accreditation or the landlord rental standard, contact a landlord adviser:

Landlord advice Telephone: 020 7926 0200

Landlord Forum

The Private Sector Landlord Forum is an opportunity for all landlords working in Lambeth to meet and discuss the issues that affect them. We run the forum in partnership with the National Landlord's Association, ensuring that we attract a varied range of landlords.
We invite a varied selection of speakers from the council and the privat erented sector who cover a range of important and pertinent matters. There is also time for you to network and there is always a lively debate.
For more information about the Forum, please contact the Advice Team:

Landlord advice Telephone: 020 7926 0200

3. Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities, a guide for landlords

Tenants can have various reghts, depending on when their tenancy agreement was signed. This guide concentrates on assured short hold tenancies (ASTs). All tenancies signed after 28 February 1996 are ASTs unless you served notice stating that the tenancy was granted as an assured tenancy.

What is a tenancy?

A tenancy is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant. By signing a tenancy the landlord agrees to give their tenant exclusion possession of their property. This means that the tenant has a legal right to possess the property. This differs from a license or lodging agreement where the licensee only has permission to occupy the property. In order for a tenancy to be created, the tenant must pay rent and the tenancy must be granted a term.

Access

As the tenant has been granted exclusion possession of the property, they are able to exclude whoever they choose from the property. This includes their landlord. As a landlord you have the right to carry out repairs in line with your legal duties, however you should agree a mutually convenient time to arrange access. Always give your tenant at least 24 hours notice. Except in an emergency, you should never let yourself into the property without your tentant's consent as this could be construed as harassment.

When the tenancy ends

When an AST ends, it becomes a periodic tenancy. Both your rights and responsibilities and those of your tenant remain the same. At this stage you may choose to grant your tenant a new fixed term tenancy agreement, or you can let the tenancy continue on a periodic basis. If you wish to recover possession, you will need to follow the normal legal process.

Recovering possession

In order to recover possession of a property, you need to follow due legal process. If you attempt to evict your tenant or do something to force them to move without following legal process, you may be committing a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The council has legal powers to prosecute landlords and will always seek to recover costs. Your tenant may also be able to take civil action against you.

As a landlord you have a mandatory right to recover possession under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Your section 21 notice must be for at least two months, in writing and properly served to the tenant. If your tenant is still in the fixed term of their tenancy you must check that the contract allows you to serve notice. You cannot recover possession through section 21 until at least 6 months after the tenancy start date. Legally your tenant does not have to leave the property after the expiry of the section 21 notice. If they do not leave, you will have to enforce the notice through the courts by obtaining a possession order and a bailiff's warrant.
You cannot recover possession through section 21 if you fail to protect your tenant's deposit correctly or you are operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation.

Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to recover possession of the property for a variety of reasons. There are 17 grounds under section 8 and the majority of these are discretionary. However, ground 8 grants you a mandatory right to possession if your tenant is at least 2 months in arrears (monthly rent payments) at the time the notice is served and at the time of any court hearing. The notice requirement under section 8 ground 8 is 2 weeks.

Disclaimer: this information is intended as advice only. You should always seek independent advice before serving your tenant with a notice.

Deposit protection scheme

If you take a deposit from your tenant, you are legally required to place it in one of three government approved deposit protection schemes:

You must do this within 30 days and inform your tenant giving them the following prescribed information:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit you have paid
  • how the deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • their (or the letting agency's) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party that has paid the deposit
  • why they would keep some of all of the deposit
  • how to apply to get the deposit back
  • what to do if you cannot get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if there is a dispute over the deposit

Your deposit protection scheme will provide guidance and a standard template for this. You must ensure that you reissue the prescribed information whenever a tenancy becomes periodic or you grant a new agreement.
You must return the deposit within 10 days of you and your tenant agreeing any deductions. Should there be a dispute you and your tenant will need to use the dispute resolution service offered by your protection scheme. This will require both to provide evidence and the decision provided by the resolution service will be final.

It is a legal requirement to place a deposit into a protection scheme. A tenant can claim compensation of up to 3 times the value of the deposit if it is not protected. Landlords cannot recover possession of their property through section 21 if they fail to protect the deposit.

4. Lettings and management agents redress scheme

In October 2014 it became a legal requirement for all Lettings and Property Management companies to join a government approved redress scheme.

The schemes

How does the scheme affect you?

If you are providing lettings or management services in the course of your business it is likely that you will need to register with a government approved redress scheme. You can find more information on this by reading the Government's Guide

Penalties for failing to join

The council has a legal power to enforce this act where an agent is identified as not belonging to a scheme. Fines of up to £5,000 can be imposed on non-compliant agents.

How will we enforce the scheme?

We will seek to enforce the bill where ever an agent has failed to comply with the legislation after 1 April 2014. This gives agents a sufficient period in which to ensure their compliance.

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