Complaining about issues with your landlord

🕑 6 minute read

Issues or complaints about your landlord

Renters can sometimes feel helpless in situations where the landlord is not addressing an issue in your home.

You have rights as a renter, and the power to challenge unfair treatment from a landlord. Explore common complaints against landlords and learn how to go about resolving them. 

Common landlord complaints

Landlords have many legally required responsibilities around safety and the condition of the property that they must adhere to.

Common landlord problems include:

  • Not making repairs.
    Failure to repair damaged items within the property that impact your quality of life, for example, the washing machine, kettle, boiler or oven.
  • Failing to make the property safe.
    This is when the landlord fails to fix or repair the door, locks, windows or burglar alarm.  
  • Failing to return your deposit or making unfair reductions.
    Your deposit must be placed in a tenancy deposit scheme by your landlord. You can challenge any deductions with the providers of your tenancy deposit scheme. If your deposit hasn’t been put into a scheme, your landlord could be liable to pay you 1-3 times the amount, subject to court approval.
  • Harassment or entering the property without permission.
    Landlords must give you at least 24 hours’ notice before they can enter the property. They must give this notice in writing, explaining when and why they are entering the property.
  • Discrimination.
    A landlord cannot discriminate due to sex, race, gender, or disability, according to the Equality Act 2010. They also cannot discriminate against you for receiving benefits (also known as DSS discrimination).

Landlords have a responsibility to you as their tenant and their property. Failure to ensure that they are fulfilling these responsibilities can mean fines by governing bodies.

How to make a complaint against your landlord

Speak to your landlord directly

Call your landlord directly or send them an email to point out any problems you may have.

Make notes before the meeting of what you want to say, stay calm & be clear and concise. 

There’s also a chance a breakdown in communication is the cause of the issue, for example, if the letting agent hasn’t informed the landlord of your problem. 

Make a written complaint

If you have spoken to your landlord directly and they are still refusing to help or their behaviour is not improving, make a written complaint.

If sent as a letter, make sure it’s tracked and you keep a copy. Over email, turn on read receipts so you can prove they have seen it. Your written complaint should be clear about:

  • What the issue is
  • What you want them to do
  • When the issue was brought to the landlord’s attention
  • Include any photographs or receipts for work you’ve had to pay for.

Contact the letting agent

Letting agents are there as intermediaries between the landlord and tenant.

They often also have a property management department that will handle repairs and damage, so this could be the best place to go.

If they don’t manage the property, but just arrange the lease and rent payments, they should still be able to act on your behalf.

Present your issues in writing to the letting agent and follow their complaints procedures.

Citizen’s Advice

If the issue persists, contact Citizen’s Advice.

They will let you know what your rights as a renter are. You can contact Citizen’s Advice with the following details:

England Tel: 0800 144 8848

Wales Tel: 0800 702 2020

Do not stop paying rent or bills for the property as this could work against you when a decision is made.

Make sure everything is noted down, including any advice on the action you should take that is provided by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Contact your local council

If you feel your home in unsafe, or you’re under threat from harassment or illegal eviction, contact the council if all other avenues have been exhausted.

Write a letter noting down the situation and what has been done so far, include copies of any communication sent to your landlord and the letting agent. The council will try and help you come to a resolution.

Advice for complaining about a landlord

Keep a paper trail

Keep records and a timeline of all contact and issues – this will mean you have a clear timeline of what has happened and when.

Write up exactly what was discussed in any phone conversations between yourself and the landlord – make notes during meetings and phone calls so you have a clear picture of what was said and agreed.

Be clear

Be clear about your issue – mention specifically the issue you are complaining about. Being specific about the problem can help your case and make it clear to a third party whose responsibility the issue is and if your landlord has acted unlawfully.

Know your rights

Be aware of laws and your rights as a tenant, referencing them in discussions to prove you’re in the right. Here are a few laws to keep in mind:

  • Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – States that the landlord must maintain the interior and exterior of the property and keep water, gas, electricity and sanitation in full working order.
  • Landlord And Tenant Act 1985 – Also states that a landlord must give 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, in writing, stating why and when the visit will take place.
  • Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations – States all electrical appliances must be PAT tested and in safe working order. This ensure they are safe to use. Your appliances should have a sticker which indicates the date they were tested.

Check your contract

Inspect your tenancy agreement closely and ask a friend or family member to read it and check for anything you may have missed. Solicitors often provide up to an hour for a free consultation, so use that if necessary to get advice on the contract.

Gather evidence

Photographic or video evidence is hard to beat, especially if something is clearly broken or there’s mould. Make sure any photos or videos can be dated to prove when they were taken.

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