There are law-abiding landlords who do everything that they can to ensure that their tenants are safe and comfortable in their rented properties. And then there are rogue landlords who do not seem to care if their tenants are unsafe and their homes are in disrepair. These landlords are a nightmare to deal with.
According to Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, a rogue landlord is:
Someone who intentionally defies their obligations by providing mostly vulnerable tenants with substandard and unsafe accommodations.
The Baroness also stated that local authorities can use measures contained in the Housing and Planning Bill to legally deal with rogue landlords and force them to improve their services or leave the house rental sector.
A rogue landlord can cause tenants you additional problems, stress, anxieties, and in some cases, health issues. Renting should make you feel safe and comfortable, not trapped and constantly in fear because your landlord is breaking the law.
To prevent this from happening to you, it is important to know how you can deal with landlords and the nightmares they give you.
What to do to avoid unnecessary friction with your landlord
1. Know your rights
In every tenant-landlord dispute, rights and responsibilities are vital. This is the first thing that you need to do - familiarise yourself with your rights as a tenant. If you know what you are entitled to and what you are responsible for, identifying and dealing with disputes with your landlord will be easier. Your landlord won’t be able to fool you because you know what ’is supposed to happen and what each party is supposed to do in various tenant-landlord situations.
Your most important right, which is what most rogue landlords take for granted, is to live in a rented home that is in a good state of repair, safe, and not a health hazard. It is also your right as a law-abiding tenant to have your deposit protected and kept safe in any of the three government-approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS).
You have the right to protection against unfair eviction, to request for reasonable repair, and require proof of the property’s energy performance certificate.
Read, familiarise, and understand your tenancy agreement as your rights and responsibilities are indicated there. You should do this before you sign the tenancy agreement, to ensure there are no nasty surprises when you move in.
2. Always document your activities
Documenting all your activities as you move in or are about to end the tenancy and move out is essential. Any activity or event that requires interaction and communication with your landlord should be recorded or documented.
As you start your tenancy and move in, take photos of the property, including the tiny spots and corners. Take note of the condition of every item in the home that your landlord has allowed you to use (ex. furniture and appliances). Make sure they are in good condition, and if they are not, inform your landlord and document it so you have proof that they know about the issue. All repair requests, concerns, and agreements should be in writing. Correspondence and communication with the landlord should be documented as well. If maintenance was or hasn’t been done, you should take note of these, too.
Document everything by taking photos, videos, recording phone calls, saving messages and emails, and keeping all receipts and paperwork. These will all prove helpful in the event of a dispute with your landlord.
3. Try to stay calm
Dealing with a rogue landlord while you are upset is not advisable. Yes, it’s normal to get angry if you’ve been requesting for repairs to be carried out for days and your landlord does not pick up the phone or reply. However, acting in anger will not solve the problem either. Additionally, you shouldn’t withhold your rent payments to get back at your landlord because it’s not allowed by law. If you do that, you run the risk of being evicted and losing any potential compensation owed to you from a housing disrepair claim.
Do your best to stay calm and try to reach a compromise with your landlord. As much as possible, avoid arguing with them, especially if you do not want to be evicted. You may also look to use a third- party who can help mediate and calm down both parties.
4. Get help from the professionals
If mediation does not work and you are fairly certain your landlord has broken the law, you should find a professional who can give you the right advice and help you with what you need to do.
Get in touch with housing authorities, the council, housing association, and local authorities. Some councils in the UK also have helplines dedicated to tenant-landlord issues.
You can also seek the professional advice of experts in anything rental housing-related, especially since you can choose to file a complaint against your landlord. This involves enlisting the services of expert housing disrepair solicitors to bring forward a claim for compensation.
Filing a Housing Disrepair Claim
Filing a housing disrepair claim against your rogue landlord for disrepair, unfair practices, or any rental property-related issue can be challenging, but it can be easier with the help of experienced professionals. ClaimExperts.co.uk has a panel of housing disrepair solicitors who are experts in dealing with rogue landlords, so they know exactly what you need to do to successfully file housing claims against your landlord.
Find out today if you are eligible to claim housing disrepair compensation by using our free-to-use eligibility checker.
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