My tenants have left, but not handed back the keys. Can I change the locks?
If you believe, or have reasonable cause to believe, that your tenant has ceased to reside in the premises, you are entitled to change the locks without serving notice or getting a court order. We would always urge you to seek advice though, to avoid any potential claims for unlawful eviction.
What if the tenant still doesn’t leave when the possession order says they should?
In this case, you will need to instruct a bailiff. Again, we offer a fixed fee to assist you with this. A bailiff appointment can take four to six weeks to obtain.
How long will it take?
This will vary depending on if the tenant raises a defence/ counterclaim, and how quickly the court deals with the matter. Typically, both proceedings can take four to six months.
What happens after the notice has expired?
If the tenant doesn’t leave, then we can help you to issue a claim for possession at court.
How do I get my property back?
Whether your tenants have rent arrears, have caused damage or you simply need it back, the first step is to serve them with either a Section 21 Notice or a Section 8 Notice (under the Housing Act 1988).
Whats the difference?
A Section 21 Notice must be in writing and give two clear months’ notice. There are also additional requirements depending on when the tenancy started. The tenant doesn’t have to have breached their tenancy.
A Section 8 Notice must be in a prescribed form and gives two weeks’ notice. It applies when the tenant has breached their tenancy in some way, usually by building up rent arrears.
What licence do I need to run a pub?
You are going to need a premises licence in order to provide any of the following licensable activities:
- The sale of alcohol
- The provision of regulated entertainment
- The provision of late night refreshment
We can apply for a premises licence on your behalf and guide you through the complex application process as well as arrange to advertise your application in a local newspaper as required.
What do I need to do to get a licence?
You will need to complete a premises licence application form and submit it to the relevant Licensing Authority (and relevant authorities) together with a scale plan for the premises. If you intend to sell alcohol then you will need to nominate a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) on the application. The DPS will need to provide a consent form (the DPS also needs to hold a personal licence) and you will also need to submit the relevant fee with the application.
After you have put your application in you'll need to:
- place a public notice on your premises to allow for 28 days’ consultation
- place the same public notice in a local newspaper within ten working days of submitting the application
There will be a 28-day consultation period which allows consultees and members of the public time to consider your application, and raise any concerns under the licensing objectives. Once this period has expired without any representations having been made, your premises licence will be granted.
A hearing must be held if any representations are made in respect of the application. If a hearing is held it can result in the licence:
- being granted
- being granted subject to additional conditions
- have licensable activities listed in the application be excluded
- being rejected
A premises licence lasts for an unlimited time unless the licence is revoked, suspended or surrendered.
I want to buy a pub what should I do?
Buying a pub can be a hugely nerve-wracking experience with many aspects to cover before you get your name above the door.
The first step is to decide whether it is in fact the life for you. It is important also to research, plan and adapt your business strategy. Decide how you want to own the business and consider the following options:
- Take a tenancy for a number of years tied to a brewery - this business will not be your own
- Take a lease for a longer period of time which will allow you to have more control
- Purchase the freehold where every aspect of the business is yours outright.
Regardless of which option you choose, all businesses need supply chains to succeed and you must consider the costs of purchasing stock, products and equipment, including leasing of any third-party items. It may be that you want to continue with existing suppliers but also consider the opportunities available with new suppliers and the benefits of signing up to new agreements.
Licensing is an important aspect of any public house business purchase. It is important that you transfer any premises licence into your name or someone of your choosing. A premises supervisor will be responsible for ensuring that the conditions of the premises licence are complied with at all times. The premises licence will determine what, when, and how you will be able to carry out activities in the business, varying from service of alcohol and food through to opening hours and even entertainment allowed in your pub. You should consider if the existing premises licence fits with your strategy and whether any applications need to be made to vary the licence such as extending opening hours.
I have been served with a section 146 notice, what is this and do I need a solicitor?
A section 146 notice is served by a landlord when they consider their tenant to be in breach of the terms of the tenancy.
Other than in relation to unpaid rent (where a section 146 notice isn’t required, but sometimes served), a section 146 notice is a necessary first step in the process of recovering possession of a property. The notice must give the tenant a reasonable period of time to comply with its requirements. Should the tenant fail to comply, the landlord can take steps to terminate the tenancy, resulting in the tenant being evicted from the property.
If the tenant accept the contents of the section 146 notice but wish to avoid being evicted, they should comply with its requirements as soon as they are able. It is also sensible to engage in discussions with the landlord to let them know they are doing that. If some additional time is needed to comply, the tenant should ask the landlord, Providing the request is reasonable, they should accept your request.
If the tenant contests the contents of the section 146 notice because they do not believe they are in breach, then it would be sensible to consult with a solicitor so that a formal response can be given to the landlord. It makes sense to do this before the landlord issues proceedings seeking to evict the tenant from the property, as in the long run that is likely to save a considerable amount of money.
What are dilapidations and how can I calculate them?
Dilapidations is the technical word used to describe the repairs which need to be carried out at a property at the end of a tenancy. A tenant’s obligations in relation to dilapidations are defined by the tenancy itself, and are not always related to the condition of the property when the tenant took it on.
If you are a landlord wishing to pursue a tenant in relation to dilapidations there are certain steps you need to take before you can pursue such a claim, and it is sensible to get early legal advice on those options.
If you are a tenant who thinks a dilapidations claim may be made against them, it is important that you take steps before the end of the tenancy to complete any works which you think need to be done.
If, as a tenant, you think there is likely to be a dispute over the dilapidations, it is also important that you gather evidence prior to your departure from the property in the form of a surveyor’s report and/or photographic evidence showing the condition of it when you leave.