Property law is something of a minefield for the unwary and unenlightened, and it’s a well known fact that many who enter the landlording field do so with very little legal knowledge.
Particularly so the new and so called “reluctant landlords” who, we know from our own experience on the forum and the enquiries we receive, get themselves into all kinds of difficulties through ignorance of the law.
To unravel the complexities of these rules and regulations there’s nothing quite like a well written text, set out in a clear manner with a well defined structure, by people that really know their stuff.
Repairs: tenants’ rights, is one such example. The two hundred pages or so of text are not too long to daunt the amateur, but long enough and detailed enough (with appendices, index and cases) to satisfy the property professional and housing specialist. Ostensibly advice for the tenant side, the information is equally relevant for landlords.
Laws change, so it’s important to make sure your text is up-to-date: this up-date of the original 1999 text takes in the changes brought about in the 2004 Housing Act including the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and the various measures concerning energy saving and environmental issues since then.
The introduction sets out a brief review of the whole, with guidance on how to use and get the most from the book, highlighting some topical issues covered in detail in the text. This is followed by an excellent section on contractual rights: every tenancy is based on contact rules, usually set-out in the agreement, but these rules of course are in many cases over-ridden by the myriad of statutory rules developed by parliament over the last century.
It’s the ability to interpret these rules in a clear and concise way that makes a textbook such as this so valuable to the practitioner. The section on contract is followed by sections on tenancy rights which go beyond contract: the common law rights of all citizens on negligence and nuisance, and the statutory rights specific to housing repair laid down by parliament.
Of particular interest to landlords and housing professionals should be the sections on proceedings under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 with specific reference to housing standards and repairs, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Housing Act 2004, with its scheme of assessment known as the “risk assessment” process involved with the HHSRS.
This book is a very handy and worthwhile addition to any landlord’s or housing professional’s bookshelf. I can certainly recommend it.
Books from the Legal Action Group (LAG) can be purchased on-line from the book shop: www.lag.org.uk/bookshop.aspx or by telephone on the order line at: 01235 465577
Tom Entwistle, Editor.