Common landlord problems
A short guide to keeping landlords at bay, when they're messing you around, trying to put up your rent, not giving your deposit back, or not doing repairs.
Landlord puts rent up half way through your lease
Before moving into any privately rented accommodation you will need to have read and signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. This is a legal contract – signed by both landlord and tenant – that sets down the terms and conditions of your tenancy, usually for the next 12 months. These include the amount of rent you will be charged during this time period, so the landlord cannot, by law, choose to increase it during the term of the contract.
However,if you’re on a periodic tenancy, the landlord can legally put the rent up but usually only once a year.
Landlord withholds your deposit
From April 6, 2007, the deposit you give your landlord will, by law, need to be held in the Government’s Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This has been set up to prevent unscrupulous landlords from withholding all your dosh – which can be up to six weeks’ rent – for no good reason. The scheme will help you get your deposit back without having to go to court.
But this doesn’t mean you can withhold your final month’s rent, either. This is breaking the terms of your contract, too, and you risk prosecution. Always pay a deposit using a cheque, banker’s draft or credit card so you have your own proof of payment. But ask your landlord or lettings agent for a receipt, too.
Landlord turns up uninvited
You don’t have to let him in because 24 hours’ notice is required for inspection. Also, under the law, landlords can’t prevent your friends from visiting – neither can they let themselves in when you’re not there without your prior consent. To all intent and purposes, when you’re renting the home it belongs to you and not the landlord.
Landlord kicks us out
You can only be kicked out if:
- The owner wants to come back and live in the property
- The house is being repossessed – though the mortgage lender must still give notice
- You’re over two months in arrears with your rent
- You refuse vital maintenance work
A landlord can also ask the court to consider eviction if:
- You’ve broken the terms of your contract
- You’re consistently late in paying the rent
- You lied to get the place
However, for most private tenants, the landlord can give two months’ notice and get a court order without needing to give a reason. Provided the landlord has followed certain housing rules (e.g. the two months’ notice must not end before the end of the first six months of a tenancy), the court will grant an order.
If you live with your landlord, however, in most cases they can just give you notice and don’t need a court order.
Read our advice if you do find yourself homeless.
The landlord isn’t repairing things
The landlord is responsible for fixing things, unless you’ve broken them. So feel free to call them until it’s fixed. If they refuse, or don’t seem to be getting around to it this article has more details about your rights.
The house isn’t safe
It is your landlord’s job to make sure the house is safe to live in. If you think there’s problems with gas, electric, fire safety, or anything else, you need to tell your landlord immediately. If they don’t do anything about it then contact your local council’s housing department, because they can make your landlord take action.
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
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