Jim Lougheed and Brian Roscow man the RLA’s busy help desk. Here are their most frequently asked questions – and their answers.
Q: Why does the price of a property not appear on the Land Registry? I am interested in purchasing a property. However, although the owner is shown on the Land Registry document, the price that they paid is not. Does it mean they were given the property or that developers’ discounts (the house was bought new) have made it impossible to state the price?
A: Not necessarily. The Land Registry always tries to disclose the price, but does not do so when it cannot identify the price that was paid. As from May 1 this year, it has revised its practices in asking for price paid, or value information, and you can see more here: www.landregistry.gov.uk/professional/guides/practice-guide-7
Generally speaking, the price paid for a property will always be published unless it is misleading (for some reason associated with the nature of the transaction) or the price may not have been readily ascertainable.
If no entry of price paid or value stated appears, the Land Registry may have received the application to register the change of ownership before April 1, 2000, or some aspect of the transaction would make the entry of value stated misleading.
If only the transfer of half a property were registered, showing the half price of the property, that would be considered misleading and the sum would be omitted.
Developers’ discounts and incentives may indeed be misleading, and the Land
Registry always tries to publish the actual price paid, not the pre-discount price. It does, however, ignore some incentives, such as moving costs paid.
You cannot, by the way, ask for the price you paid for a property to be omitted. If you do omit it when title is transferred, you will be asked to supply it.
Q: I understand that as a landlord, I have a legal responsibility to prevent an infection of Legionnaire’s Disease on my premises. Do I need a health and safety expert for this? It seems a bit over the top!
A: You can bring in an expert, but you don’t need to. There is some commonsense guidance here: www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-you-must-do.htm
Q: I have been told by a friend and landlord of many years’ experience that if I have a HMO licence on my student let I do not need to protect my tenants’ deposits. Is that correct ?
A: No, what you have been told is most certainly not correct. There are no exceptions to the legal requirement to protect deposits. If you fail to do this within 30 days of receiving the deposit you could be facing a claim from your tenants for up to three times the deposit amount. Not only that, you will lose your right to serve a Section 21 Notice to Quit on your tenant.
To sum up, if you want professional advice, ask a professional organisation who know what they are talking about.
Q: My long-term tenants are usually one month behind paying their rent. What can I do ?
A: Go to the ‘Documents’ section of the RLA website and look for ‘Landlord Letter Pack’. You will find no fewer than eight different standard letters (all Word documents) which you can download and adapt to your individual tenant’s circumstances. As an RLA member, feel free to use them as often as the need arises.
Q: The fixed term of this tenant’s agreement runs out in three weeks’ time. His rent is up to date, but can I give him a notice to leave in three weeks’ time ?
A: No. If there is no serious breach of the tenancy you will need to serve a Section 21(1)B Notice to Quit. Serve this before the end of the fixed term but make sure you give the tenant at least two months’ notice to leave. Check out the RLA’s tips for serving such a notice.
Q: I was granted a Possession Order on my property on October 12, 2012. As the tenant made a firm, but failed, promise to bring the rent arrears up to date, I did not follow up the Possession Order with an application for eviction. Is it too late to do this?
A: No. You have 12 months from the date the Possession Order is granted by the County Court in which to follow it up. Download and complete court form N325 from the RLA website.
Q: The young couple who are my tenants have recently married. Do I need to offer them a new tenancy agreement?
A: No, their tenancy agreement will still be valid. However, if you need at some point in the future to apply to the county court for possession of your property, do ring the RLA Helpdesk for advice on completing the court form.
Brian, Jim and the rest of the very popular RLA help desk are available Monday – Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm*.
You can reach the helpline on 0845 666 5000. www.rla.org.uk
*Due to ever-increasing popularity you may be asked to leave some contact information, where we guarantee to get back to you as quickly as possible.