FAQ – Housing Law


FAQ - Housing Law

My landlord has evicted me. What can I do?
You can only be evicted if your landlord has followed the proper procedure. If they have not followed the procedure correctly, or your notice is not valid, you may be able to contest their decision to evict you. You may also be able to challenge an eviction if you have been evicted for discriminatory reasons, such as if they are evicting you because of who you are, or for a reason that is connected to a disability.
My relationship has broken down and we rent a property. What will happen?
This is a complicated situation, and it is best to come and talk to us as soon as possible. There are two types of tenancy:
  • Sole tenancy – where one of you is the tenant, regardless of how many occupiers there are. In this situation, the tenant only needs to give 24 hours’ notice to ask them to leave.
  • Joint tenancy – this can be more complicated. If you are both named tenants, then you both likely have a single tenancy and you are both liable for the whole rent, not just a share of it. this means that if one of you leaves the property, that person cannot just be ‘removed’ from the tenancy. However, only one of you needs to end the tenancy for the tenancy for everyone to be ended.
The above points only apply to couples who are not married and have no children. The situation will become more complicated if you have a family, are married or are in a civil partnership. We strongly recommend that if you and your partner rent a property and your relationship has ended, that you come and see us so that we can advise you on your next steps.
Where is my tenancy deposit?
Your deposit must be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme until you move out of the property if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. Your landlord will have to protect your deposit by a certain date, depending on when you paid your deposit. There are three scheme providers: Deposit Protection Service, My Deposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme. If you are unsure whether your deposit has been protected, you can check on their websites. If your deposit has not been protected and there is an issue with your deposit, you can claim compensation as well as the deposit back in court. If you have been given a s21 eviction notice and your deposit was not protected but it should have been, they will have to pay your deposit back. Please note that deposits do not have to be protected if you are a student in halls, a lodger, rent privately or have an assured or protected tenancy. This information may seem a lot to take in, or very confusing. Stella Maris Solicitors LLP are experts in housing law and are here to guide you through the whole process.
Do I need a licence if I want to become a landlord?
Currently, you only need to obtain a licence if you want to let your property to three or more tenants who are not from one ‘household’ and who will share facilities (a HMO). The exact requirements for obtaining a licence will depend on your local council. You will need a separate licence for each HMO you run. Stella Maris Solicitors LLP are expert housing solicitors based in Swindon and are able to help you with any concerns you may have as a landlord when renting out your home.
I am a landlord and my tenants have left without making their final rent payment. What can I do?
The easiest way to do this is to take money from the deposit, provided that the tenancy agreement has a clause stating that you can take money from the deposit for rent arrears. If this is not possible, then you must apply for a County Court Judgment. The tenant will have this registered against their name if they apply for a mortgage or a bank loan and may pay the money owed in order to remove it. The court can also send bailiffs to take away the tenant’s goods if they do not pay you the money, or they can make an attachment of earnings order if your ex-tenant has a job. However, these processes can be flawed so it is best for you to contact a solicitor for more advice.