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Trouble with your landlords? Here are a few tips that should help

Forget troublesome tenants – what to do when your landlord doesn’t play fair

There’s a lot of advice available for landlords with problem tenants, but what about when the situation is reversed? Most landlords are perfectly reasonable, allowing you to enjoy your tenancy in “quiet enjoyment” without harassment, unplanned visits, or unreasonable demands, but what should you do when you do come across that unreasonable individual who ignores your calls and letters, and won’t put things right when they go wrong?

Nothing works – can you put it right?

Things go wrong in every property; the boiler may stop working, or the washing machine may flood. More seriously, you may suspect issues such as gas leaks, or environmental health problems, like pests, damp or mould. Your first attempt should always be a polite request to put things right. Your landlord is obliged to do this within a “reasonable” timescale, but proving what is and isn’t reasonable isn’t always clear-cut. For example, contractors may be busy, or parts for boilers may not be easy to come by. Although it’s your landlord’s obligation to put things right, it may be quicker for you to find your own contractor, and bill your landlord.

When your landlord harasses you

Most landlords will give you suitable notice of visits. However, if you’re getting calls at unreasonable times, or you suspect that entry has been made in your absence without reasonable cause, then your landlord is committing a criminal offence. You must keep records of any incidents, and if there is threatening behaviour, call the police. However, the police won’t have any interest in harassment that is annoying rather than potentially violent; there are other organisations which are available to help, and the CAB is always a good starting point.

When your deposit goes unprotected

Your landlord has a legal obligation to protect your deposit, and it’s a simple process to make sure that your money is lodged with one of the three government-backed schemes. If your landlord brushes off your concerns, politely remind him that the deposit protection process is to protect both tenant and landlord, particularly if any damage takes places during the course of the tenancy. There is always a slightly uneasy relationship between tenant and landlord simply because you are under an obligation to take good care of someone else’s property. However, both sides must operate within the law, and however tempting, don’t withhold rent, as arrears immediately put you in the wrong, whatever the issues may be.

Bio: Denny Banks currently works on behalf of Carnabys Estate Agents who specialise in property management in and around the Sussex area. Denny is currently on route to becoming a copywriter, he is passionate about all things legal, especially when it comes to property.

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