Hilliers Law

Dean Evans
By Dean Evans

Residential Landlord and Tenant Disputes
Disputes between residential landlords and tenants are difficult to resolve without the correct legal help. The matter often comes down to the rights and responsibilities of each person, and the terms of the tenancy agreement – if one exists.

To find out how we can help you resolve your dispute, please contact us at Hilliers Law for a free initial enquiry.

“I just want to say what a fantastic and very professional service you provide. You made it so easy for us and put our minds at rest from day one.”

Call us on 01622-619480, email charles@hillierslaw.com
or complete a Free Enquiry.

Types of residential landlord and tenant disputes
As a residential landlord, you will want to protect your property as much as possible. After all, it is a significant asset and a source of income. However, as a tenant, your rented property is your home. You live there, even if your name is not on the mortgage deeds.

Therefore each party has an attachment to the property, and sometimes this creates friction between a landlord and a tenant. Often, disputes between a residential landlord and tenant relate to –
• The tenancy agreement
• The deposit
• Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities
• A house in multiple occupation
• Possession claims

Tenancy agreements
Before the start of the tenancy, it is essential to put a written agreement in place. This protects both landlords and tenants, as it sets out each person’s rights and responsibilities. This contract often provides clarification as to who is in the right, and who is in the wrong, should a dispute arise.

For example, if a tenant wishes to get a pet and the landlord objects, it is necessary to consider the terms of the original agreement. If it expressly states that pets are not permitted at the property, the tenant must comply. But if the agreement is silent on the matter, or the terms are ambiguous, a pet may be allowed – even if the landlord does not like it.

Additionally, if there are several tenants sharing a property, is there one agreement, or does each tenant a separate agreement? This is a crucial question if one tenant fails to pay rent or decides to leave, as it will determine whether the other tenants are responsible for the shortfall in rent.

“Very good value for money and extremely good service. I will certainly use you in the future.”

Because of the implications of a tenancy agreement, it is prudent to speak to a solicitor before signing anything.

Rent deposits
If a deposit is paid at the start of the tenancy, it must be put into a protection scheme run by an authorised third party. This third party acts as an independent arbitrator, should the landlord refuse to return the deposit in full at the end of the tenancy. If the landlord does not protect the deposit, the tenant can claim three times the monthly rent as compensation.

Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities
Both the landlord and a tenant have certain rights and responsibilities. These are set out under the terms of the tenancy agreement, and under English and Welsh law. For instance, the landlord must ensure all the services are working for the supply of water, heat and sanitation. If not, the tenant may be able to take action or withhold some rent until the problem is fixed.

Another common problem is the state or condition of the property. The tenancy agreement, if it is in writing, should set out who is responsible for doing what when it comes to maintaining the property. If it does not, or there is no written agreement, certain obligations may be imposed on the landlord by law.

Whether you are a landlord or tenant, you need to be sure of your legal rights or responsibilities, before acting on any demands with regards to repairs and maintenance.

House in multiple occupation
When several tenants share one property, it is known as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ or an ‘HMO’. In these situations, there are minimum standards in terms of bathrooms and toilets. If there are not enough bathrooms/toilets for the number of tenants/rooms being let, action can be taken to put this right.

Possession claims
If a landlord wishes to recover possession of the property, it may lead to a possession claim. This requires a landlord to comply with various procedural and administrative tasks.

For example, a landlord must provide certain documents at the start of a tenancy, such as an Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate. If these are not in place, it could delay a possession claim by months, because the landlord must wait until the correct documents are obtained.

“Mindful of costs and fair and reasonable fees.”

There are also different tactical approaches to possession claims. A landlord may find it easier to serve a tenant with a two-month notice, rather than proceed with a possession claim. That way, it is not necessary to prove that the tenant is in breach of the agreement.

Find out more about Possession Claims.

Resolving residential landlord and tenant disputes 
Whatever stage you are at in your landlord/tenant dispute, it is beneficial to speak to us sooner, rather than later.

It might be that there is no disagreement as such – rather, you would simply like some legal advice about the terms of your tenancy agreement, or your personal rights and responsibilities. This is a wise step, as you can establish your legal position, preventing or ending any misunderstandings between you.

On the other hand, if a conflict has developed between you and your landlord/tenant, early legal intervention can help you resolve the matter as quickly and as painlessly as possible. We can assess the terms of the agreement, and your legal obligations, before explaining the options available to you.

It might be that there is an easy solution to your problem. Sometimes clarification from a solicitor is all it takes for one side to back down, whereas other times action through the courts is needed, particularly is a possession claim is called for.

Regardless of the situation, we can act on your behalf throughout.

Contact us now
For expert legal advice, please contact us at Hilliers Law for a free initial enquiry.

Call us on 01622-619480, email charles@hillierslaw.com
or complete a Free Enquiry.

“Friendly manner inspiring confidence, reliable and efficient service”.

Dean Evans
By Dean Evans
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