Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Landlord and tenant disputes can arise for a number of reasons, and they can escalate quickly. We’re here to help if you find yourself in need of legal advice.

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What are the common causes of landlord and tenant disputes?

There are numerous reasons why tenant and landlord disputes arise. They can be caused by late rent payments, damage to property, broken tenancy terms, rent increases or unfair evictions.

If you’re going through a rental dispute – as a landlord or a tenant – you may feel unsure of the best course of action to take. We would always suggest speaking to the other party involved in the first instance. It may be that you’re able to settle your disagreement without taking it any further.

But if you’ve already tried this and it wasn’t successful, you could consider taking legal action. We work with property solicitors who are experienced in landlord and tenant law. They’ll work on your behalf to build a case and secure you the best possible outcome.

How much can a landlord charge for damages?

Most properties will undergo some wear and tear during the course of a tenancy, and landlords cannot charge for this. But the lines between fair wear and tear and chargeable damage caused by the tenant can often become blurred, which is where disputes can arise.

If a landlord believes a tenant has caused unreasonable damage to the property, they should charge a fair amount that reflects the cost of repairs. For example, if you as a tenant stained a carpet, your landlord should not charge you for a brand new, expensive replacement.

One of the best ways to avoid property damage disputes is to carry out an extensive inventory report, right at the beginning of the tenancy. This will allow for any existing damage to be noted down, meaning there will be less opportunity for disagreements.

What are the rules surrounding eviction?

This will ultimately depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have, and the terms set out within it. But generally speaking, landlords can evict tenants using either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice:

  • Section 21*
    Section 21 notices can only be used to evict tenants when a fixed term tenancy has ended, or during a tenancy with no end date – known as a periodic or rolling tenancy. Tenants must be given at least two months’ notice to leave a property under a Section 21 notice.
  • Section 8
    Section 8 notices are there to be used if tenants have broken the terms of a tenancy agreement. This could apply if a tenant behaves anti-socially, or falls into rent arrears. A landlord can give between two weeks and two months’ notice in this instance, depending on the terms that have been broken.

*The government has now introduced a new Renters’ Reform Bill to parliament which would effectively ban Section 21 evictions. There is no date set for this legislation to be passed, but it is expected to come into law in 2024.

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Can a landlord enter a property without permission?

During a tenancy period, it’s illegal for a landlord to enter the property they own without the permission of a tenant.

If a landlord ignores this legislation and enters a rental property without telling the tenants first, it could be classed as harassment under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. It could also be considered a violation of the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment under the Housing Act 1988.

Landlords do have the right to ‘reasonable’ access for the carrying out of repairs, but they must give 24 hours’ notice. This also means a landlord must not pay their tenants an impromptu visit without a good reason.

I have a deposit dispute – what can I do?

If a property is let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), the landlord must place their tenant’s deposit into a government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. These schemes offer a free dispute resolution service if there is an issue at the end of a tenancy.

You aren’t required to use this service but it could help you reach a final decision about how much of the deposit should be returned. Both parties will need to bring evidence, and the decision made will be final.

If you’re a tenant and your deposit was not protected by a TDP scheme, you may be able to apply to your local county court to get your money back. But this should only be a last resort after speaking to your landlord or letting agent directly.

How can a solicitor help me with a landlord tenant dispute?

If you’re involved in a rental dispute, our specialist solicitors could help you. They’re able to provide legal advice for tenants and landlords, so you’ll have the reassurance of knowing there’s a legal expert on your side.

To find out how we could match you with a dedicated solicitor, give us a call on the number at the top of the screen or start your enquiry online.

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