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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.
Landlords have many legal responsibilities around safety and the condition of the property that they must adhere to.
Common landlord problems include:
Landlords have a responsibility to maintain their property and provide you, as their tenant, with a safe living environment. Failure to ensure that they are fulfilling these responsibilities can mean fines by governing bodies.
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 and 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, 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:
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.
If the issue persists, contact Citizens Advice.
They will let you know what your rights as a renter are. You can contact Citizens 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 Citizens Advice Bureau.
Contact your local council
If you feel your home is 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.
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.
Make notes of what was discussed in any phone conversations or meetings between yourself and the landlord so you have a clear picture of what has been agreed.
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:
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.
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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