Landlord's responsibilities


Being a landlord in the UK attaches you to several legal obligations. A landlord must comply with government-imposed guidelines when dealing with tenants, especially when it comes to short-term residential leases.

If you are unsure as to your legal obligations as a landlord, it is important to contact a landlord and tenant specialist solicitor to help make sure you are treating your tenant within the law.

Residential landlords

In recent years it has become more common for a non-professional person to become a residential landlord. Legal requirements which are attached to that title often catch people by surprise.

The most significant legal landlord duty is to maintain the property. Duties include:

  • Addressing any structural damage to the property
  • Addressing any utility issues, such as heating or water
  • Making sure a health and safety inspection has been completed on the property

Landlord liability extends to the responsibility not to injure the tenant as a result of any damage in the property which was not addressed. Any injury that the tenant suffers as a result of the landlord’s lack of maintenance is deemed to be the responsibility of the landlord.

Commercial landlords

In commercial leases, the landlord’s legal obligations are much less strict. In accordance with the English law principle of allowing parties the freedom to enter into any contract they choose, the legal obligations of commercial landlords depend largely on the applicable lease.

Because commercial leases are made between two commercial entities, the courts have made a conscious decision to minimise the protections offered to the tenants.

However, there are still some legal obligations which demand the attention of the commercial landlord. These vary depending on the property and the bargaining positions of the tenant and the landlord.

What to do next

If you are currently in a dispute with your tenant, your first step should be to check your lease agreement and see if it specifies what each party’s responsibilities are in relation to the point in dispute.

Once you have found the lease and established what the relevant section is, you should also find a landlord and tenant solicitor to consult. Whether or not you are considering bringing the claim to court, having a better understanding of your legal position is likely to help you resolve your dispute quickly.

If you are unsure as to your legal obligations as a residential or commercial landlord, Contact Law can put you back in touch with a landlord and tenant solicitor specialising in protecting landlord’s rights. Please call us on 0808 129 5759 or complete the web-form above.

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