You should agree with the tenant the rent and arrangements for paying it before the tenancy begins. The details of the rent due should be included in the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy is for a fixed term, the agreement should say either that the rent will be fixed for the length of the term or that it will be reviewed at regular intervals. During the fixed term the landlord can only put the rent up if the tenant agrees. If the tenant does not agree the landlord will have to wait until the fixed term ends before the rent can be raised.
A landlord must give at least one months notice of the increase if the rent is paid on a monthly basis or a weeks notice if the rent is paid weekly.
A shorthold tenant can apply to a Rent Assessment Committee to set a rent at the beginning of the tenancy if they consider the rent being charged is significantly higher than comparable rents in the area. A tenant, however, can only apply to the committee once within 6 months of the start of an original tenancy. An application cannot be made if the original tenancy has ended and been replaced or more than 6 months have elapsed since the original tenancy began.
The landlord is only legally obliged to provide a rent book if the rent is payable on a weekly basis but it is a good idea to try to provide a receipt and keep records for any rent paid which is not being entered in a rent book, as this can avoid disputes later.
There are many instances whereby tenancies fail because of rent arrears.
The tenancy agreement should clearly state how much rental amount is due per week or month.
If a tenant is to be claiming housing benefit they should request a pre-tenancy determination from the welfare benefits section. This will give an indication of how much housing benefit they are likely to receive and will show them how much of a shortfall they will have to pay themselves.
It is the landlords responsibility to collect or arrange collection of the rent and should a tenant accrue arrears it is often beneficial for a landlord to enter into dialogue with his tenant to reach an agreement as to how any arrears are paid.
Should a tenant accrue the equivalent of 8 weeks rent arrears the landlord has the right to serve a 2-week notice on the tenant in order to obtain possession of the property, and the arrears, through the Courts.
If the tenant is claiming housing benefit, which gets paid to them, the landlord has the right to contact welfare benefit and get any further payment paid to him/herself once the tenant is 8 weeks in arrears.
The PRS Team will assist members of the GPLA with issues regarding rent arrears and the eviction process, if necessary.
For more information about the GPLA please visit - www.renting-in-gateshead.co.uk
Gateshead Housing Benefit Section can be contacted on 0191 433 3000
Landlords usually ask their tenants to pay a bond at the start of the tenancy. The bond is security against damage to the property and contents or if the tenant does not adhere to the terms of your tenancy - such as not paying your rent or damaging the property.
The Landlord should provide the tenant with an inventory of the property. This should be a full list of fixtures and fittings, such as furniture, pinpointing the condition and decoration of the property. It is recommended that the landlord visit with the tenant to note and agree, at the commencement of the tenancy, the condition of the property. Photographs are also a good idea. This is very important, as it will save any dispute between the landlord and the tenant regarding the bond at the end of the tenancy.