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Landlord Legal Issues September 2018

Landlord & tenant lawyer, Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q. I have read that it is a good idea to take photographs at inspection visits but my tenant says that I can’t and that it is an invasion of his privacy. Is this correct?

A. This is often a contentious issue. I always recommend that landlords take photographs of anything which relates to the condition of the property when doing inspection visits – otherwise how can they prove anything? So, for example it is a good idea to take photos of:

  • Anything which has been damaged – if only so you can show it to your contractor when arranging for repair works to be done.
  • Fire escapes – so you can see whether or not they were being blocked (e.g. by bicycles or prams) on your visit.  
  • Any ‘lifestyle’ issues (such as drying clothes indoors) which could cause problems such as condensation and mould.
  • Anything which could impact negatively on the property – such as hoarding excessive paperwork which could be a fire hazard.
  • Shots of the rooms to show general cleanliness.

However, you need to be sensitive to the feelings of your tenants when doing this – for example there is no need for specific photographs of their own personal possessions. Also, you should not take photographs of underage children.  

If you take a large number of photographs of items (such as the tenant’s clothing and other personal possessions) which do not impact of the condition or otherwise of the property it is possible that this could be deemed to be an invasion of the tenant’s privacy and breach of their covenant of quiet enjoyment. So you need to be careful and only take such photographs as are reasonable and necessary.

Q. My tenant’s rent is paid by the Council but as it is paid directly to him and he often spends it by mistake. He tells me he would like the money paid direct to me to prevent this happening but the Council tell me that they can’t do this. Is there any other way we could deal with this problem?

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