Disputes with tenants are always incredibly unfortunate events and can often be the downside to renting out your properties. However, there’s no particular reason why you have to struggle on alone against a problem tenant, and help is at hand. In this blog, we run through some essential advice for landlords disputing with their tenant.
Getting the Legalities Right from the Outset
As a landlord, you have certain rights and responsibilities before the tenancy begins. It’s important that you fulfil these in case a tenant should ever attempt to lodge a complaint against you or attempt to counter one of your claims.
Firstly, you should ensure that you provide a tenancy agreement (if applicable) that’s fair and complies with the law. This should state who you are and your details. If you fail to do this within 21 days, you may be fined. You should also provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) for the property and a How to Rent guide.
Finally, you should also ensure that an inventory and the condition of what has been provided is completed and signed by both you and the tenant. This can then be used in case of dispute.
By getting these legalities right from the beginning of the tenancy, you should have a good basis for any claim you need to lodge against your tenant.
Know What You Cannot Do
When you’re disputing with a tenant, there are certain things that you cannot do. It’s important you know these, as if you do them you may not be able to lodge a claim against them. They include:
- Visiting your property without written permission. You must give the notice designated in the tenancy agreement and cannot turn up uninvited.
- Harass your tenants. This is a criminal offence and you may be prosecuted.
- Evict your tenants without the correct process. An illegal eviction could lead to action against you.
If you follow the legalities correctly and do not act inappropriately then you should find it easier to get disputes resolved in your favour. However, disputes about damage or missed payments of rent are never easily solved and the process can be lengthy, so it’s important that you seek legal advice from litigation and arbitration experts such as Withers.
If you have held the tenant’s deposit in a Deposit Protection Scheme (which you must if it’s an Assured Shorthold Tenancy), then you may also receive a dispute resolution service through them. However, this is only applicable if you can take the money from the deposit in this type of tenancy.
By following these three steps, you can increase the likelihood of successfully resolving disputes with your tenants.