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Landlord & Tenant Disputes

Legal Support For Tenants In Landlord Disputes

A dispute with your landlord can be distressing.

You may feel unsafe in your home because of required repair work, but the landlord doesn’t feel that it is their responsibility's – or perhaps you’ve been evicted from your home, and you don’t think they have acted legally.

If you are in a dispute with your landlord, you don’t need to go through it alone. We can help you.

Landlord and tenant disputes can occur for many different reasons. We’ll discuss some of the most common, but of course, there are plenty of examples that may not appear here.

If you are in a dispute with your landlord and believe they have acted illegally, contact us as soon as you can. We’ll help you to understand your options.

Housing Disrepair Claims

Your landlord needs to maintain your rented home to an acceptable standard. If you’ve reported repairs and your landlord has ignored them, they could be breaking the law.

Which Repairs Are My Landlord’s Responsibility?

Your landlord needs to uphold their responsibilities as stipulated in the tenancy agreement.

In addition, they are usually responsible for:

  • The structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
  • Basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
  • Water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.

Your landlord only needs to remedy the issues that they’ve been made aware of, so it’s important to report repairs as soon as they’re needed. If you report the issue verbally, be sure to send a letter or email as well, so you have the request in writing.

If you’ve reported the problem at least once and given your landlord a reasonable amount of time to complete the work, you may find yourself unsure of what to do next. Speak to us as soon as possible, so we can advise you of whether your landlord has acted illegally.

Be sure to keep hold of any evidence, such as photos and correspondence, to support your claim and help to resolve the issue.

Tenancy Deposit Disputes

If you signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then your deposit must be protected in a Deposit Protection Scheme.

The scheme keeps your money safe until you move out of your home. If you are owed money from the deposit when you leave, the scheme makes sure you are fairly repaid.

When your tenancy ends, your landlord may decide that some (or all) money needs to be deducted from your deposit.  

Your landlord might make reasonable deductions because:

  • You are in rent arrears
  • The property required additional cleaning
  • You damaged items in the property, or they went missing
  • You made unauthorised changes to the property
  • You have unpaid utility bills.

If you disagree with your landlord over how much of the deposit is returned, you have the right to use a free arbitration service called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

This service is operated by the Deposit Protection Scheme. You and your landlord will have the opportunity to submit claims and supporting evidence, so an independent party can decide if the sum the landlord has requested is fair.

It is illegal for your deposit to be unprotected. It must be put into a Deposit Protection Scheme within 30 days of being paid.

According to Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, all tenants and guarantors must be given information proving the deposit is protected. This is usually called a Deposit Protection Certificate.

You could be entitled to the return of the deposit, as well as up to three times the deposit amount as compensation, if:

  • The deposit was not protected
  • The deposit was protected more than 30 days after you paid it
  • The Deposit Protection Certificate was not given to all tenants and guarantors
  • The wrong deposit amount is protected on the Deposit Protection Certificate
  • Not all tenants or guarantors are listed on the Deposit Protection Certificate.

Unfair Evictions

Your landlord can gain possession of their property if it were rented on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. However, this is a legal process with specific requirements.

Rent Repayment Orders

A Rent Repayment Order (RRO) forces a landlord to refund up to 12 months’ rent. They are only awarded to tenants in very specific circumstances.

A Rent Repayment Order could be awarded to you if:

  • The property you are renting does not have a license
  • Your landlord has not complied with a council notice
  • You have been harassed by your landlord
  • You have been evicted – or threatened with eviction - without the correct court paperwork. You can find out more about the legal requirements for eviction here.

Rent Repayment Orders exist so that:

  • Tenants who have been put at risk or lived in poor conditions from mismanaged properties can be compensated
  • Landlords do not profit from acting illegally
  • Landlords are punished for acting illegally and are deterred from doing so again.

In A Dispute With Your Landlord? Get Expert Legal Advice

Our debt recovery solicitors have years of experience in this specialist field. We handle enquiries from all over the country.

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Neil Andrews

Partner, Head of Commercial Department and Business Property Law

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