Property Guardians on the rise as the Cost of Living Crisis forces Tenants to Reconsider Their Options
This winter, the private rented sector has seen more than 1 million Tenants being evicted. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Property Guardian Providers Association expects the number of people wanting to act as guardians to increase by 50%.
Property Guardians are different to Tenants. They’re entering an agreement to reside at an empty premises for security purposes. Therefore, they will not be charged market rent. They do not have the same legal rights as Tenants under an assured shorthold tenancy.
Effectively, Guardians are licence holders, and the route to obtaining possession is different. An assured shorthold tenancy requires a landlord to serve a valid s8 or s21 notice. Both of which have strict requirements. Once served, if the Tenant fails to vacate, the landlord will need to issue court proceedings. In comparison, to evict a licence holder you will simply need to be serve them with a valid notice to quit. This can be at any time, and they will be served a court order afterwards.
Requirements of a Notice to Quit
Comparatively to a s8 notice, a notice to quit does not have a prescribed form. Neither does it require the occupier to have breached the terms of the licence.
There is a requirement of at least 4 weeks’ notice to be given or if the period of the licence is longer the equivalent notice period is required. If the licence is for a year, then 6 months’ notice must be given.
A notice to quit cannot be withdrawn and when calculating the notice period the day of notice expiry is not included. The notice to quit must also expire on the first or last day of the licence, i.e. if the licence runs monthly from the 4th of every month, then the notice can expire on the 3rd or the 4th of the month.
What should Landlords be aware of when entering into agreements with Property Guardians?
- When taking a deposit under a licence agreement, the guardian companies are not required to protect the deposits of Property Guardians in a government-approved scheme.
- Agreements are usually on a weekly or monthly basis.
- A minimum notice period of 4 weeks applies as a result of s5(1A) Protection from Eviction Act 1977. It overrides any shorter period given in the licence agreement.
- The Home Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 does not apply to a licence agreement.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), electrical condition reports and Gas certificates are still needed where the property is a dwelling and is occupied as such.
- Where a category 1 Hazard is identified by the council the licence may include repairing obligations.
- Landlords should also be aware of squatters.
Landlords can contact Woodstock Legal Services on email@example.com for further advice in respect of the above.
– The cost of living crisis will see more evictions taking place
– As a result, more people will want to act as guardians to vacant properties
– Property guardians have less rights than a tenant
For more information on the law around lettings and all questions to do with tenancy, visit the rest of our blog. You can find posts written by Woodstock Legal team and by The Lettings Hub.