Tips on handling common landlord disputes (part 2)

7 August 2009

If you are a renter, you can be assured that your landlord knows his or her rights and exercises them. But do you know what your rights are as a tenant?

Following up on our recent post on tenant rights are some tips on handling common landlord-tenant disputes:

In general, the best way to protect yourself is by having copies of any written correspondence you have with your landlord. This includes written notice that something needs repairing. If your landlord has been notified in writing and has not acted, you can go to court to force his hand, but only if you've made the request in writing.

If you feel like you are the victim of an unfair landlord, there are specific legal steps you can take. If your landlord refuses repairs and you have to pay for them yourself, you are entitled to take the cost of those repairs out of your rent, but you need to follow a prescribed procedure to protect yourself legally.

If you believe that your landlord is unfairly keeping part of your deposit when your tenancy is over, there are several steps you need to take, and they differ depending on whether you paid the deposit before or after 6 April 2007. If the landlord refuses and the case is decided by the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service (available to all landlords and tenants where the deposit is in a Tenency Deposit Scheme) once the ADR makes a decision, it is legally binding, and neither tenant nor landlord can take the case to the courts. If, however, either tenant or landlord refuses to use the ADR service, then the case must be resolved in the courts.

Your landlord can only increase your rent after the initial fixed term of tenancy and provided that the tenancy agreement has guidelines written into it about a rent increase. If there is no such language in the agreement, the landlord is required to issue the tenant with a Section 13 notice stating the specifics of the rent increase. If you refuse to go along with any properly documented rent increase after the fixed term is up, your landlord may evict you.

If you find out that your landlord is in foreclosure, do not stop paying the rent, but do visit your solicitor or the CAB as soon as possible to find out what your specific rights are. It will depend on whether the mortgage was taken out before or after your tenancy began.


  • Congercod
    Hi nice article to look after ther rights od tennants. how about balancing it up with one that gives a few tips on how to avoid scumbags not paying rent (after claiming it in benefits), leaving the place in a tip and generally smashing things up. Vitually nothing and honest decent hard working landlord can do about it! Balance it and it'll have a bit more depth.
  • Student
    Congercod, i think thats what the deposit is for. If they dont pay rent after a few months you could try nailing them inside and setting the place alight, you could then claim it all back provided the house is insured, im not a lawyer so i cant comment on the legality of this approach with regards to murder etc. Perhaps someone else reading has tried this and can shed somelight?
  • Congercod
    Hi Student, thanks for the hot tips. These days you can't apply for eviction untill a tenant is at least 8 weeks in arrears (2 deposits worth). Your 2nd hot tip is the way forward or alternatively be a complete [email protected]$ard of a landlord with no regard for the supposed problems young families go through etc etc and nail them to the floor when they miss the first payment. Or I could always become prejudiced against people who need to claim benefits etc and just f$%k em off. I don't do it to get rich, it's to try and make my own way to a healthy and safe retirement plan (without the government or some dodgy company stiffing me) Do I sound bitter?
  • Marcus S.
    Honest and hard working landlords? lol, chance would be a fine thing. Jog on, spazticus.
  • acecatcher3
    just trying to keep myself awake for the ufc on tonight, another great article vince, i think they are pretty popular also with all of the readers

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