Residential Landlord and Tenant Disputes
If you are a landlord or tenant and are having trouble, the team at JMW Solicitors can help. With our vast experience, we can help landlords and tenants deal with disputes in a way that protects their legal rights and resolves these complex matters as swiftly and painlessly as possible.
Whether your tenant has failed to comply with their tenancy agreement, neglected to pay rent on time or engaged in unreasonable behaviour, our expert landlord and tenant solicitors can provide you with clear guidance on how to take legal action, while remaining compliant with tenant law.
To find out more about the services we offer and the options available to you, get in touch today. Call us on 0345 872 6666 for specialist advice, or complete our 0345 872 6666 or by completing our online enquiry form, which will allow us to give you a call back at a time that is convenient for you.
We offer a full range of support services to help resolve landlord and tenant disputes, including:
- Drafting precedent tenancies, licences and guarantee agreements
- Advice in respect of compliance with relevant laws and statutes, including Tenancy Deposit Schemes and Houses of Multiple Occupation
- Recovery of rent arrears
- Dealing with breaches of covenants, including antisocial behaviour
- Defending disrepair claims
- Advising in instances of unlawful eviction
- Defending Tenancy Deposit Scheme claims
- Preparation and service of notices to quit and notices requiring possession
- Possession proceedings and bailiff evictions
- Eviction of squatters
- Preparation and service of rent review notices
Why Choose JMW?
The landlord and tenant solicitors at JMW are able to assist with a wide range of disputes between landlords and tenants, and have great experience in dealing with even the most complex of cases. We will support you every step of the way, offering expert advice and guidance on tenant matters to put you in the best possible position to get the outcome you want.
We know how disrupting and frustrating it can be to suffer because of a problem tenant or unpaid rent. Our team is fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and we will work closely with you at every stage of the process to make sure the matter is resolved swiftly and to your satisfaction, avoiding unnecessary escalation or stressful court proceedings wherever possible.
About Landlord and Tenant Disputes
Trying to deal with a problem tenant who has violated their tenancy agreement can be a thankless exercise. It can also lead to serious issues and negative consequences for the landlord, including:
- Being denied access to your property
- Being owed money by your tenant
- Falling into arrears with your mortgage
The laws governing the relationships between landlords and tenants can often seem to be weighted in favour of protecting tenants, while placing more and more obligations on the landlord. Landlords could find themselves paying out to defend an unwarranted claim or to recover their property, which could be even more frustrating if a tenant is in receipt of Legal Aid.
Either a breach of obligations or a conflict of interests is usually to blame for a landlord and tenant dispute. This could involve, for example, the tenant falling into rent arrears, or the landlord finding that the tenant has sub-let part of the property. In these cases, you will require expert legal advice to make sure the dispute is brought to the right conclusion, and quickly.
We offer practical and pragmatic advice, backed up by our expert knowledge of legal matters, to ensure you take the best course of action to deliver your desired outcome, from the initial consultation through to the conclusion of the case.
How should a landlord resolve disputes?
If landlord/tenant disputes arise, the ideal outcome should always be a collaborative solution or compromise. Both parties can save significant time and money by resolving problems through negotiation, without having to escalate the dispute into a legal matter.
As such, landlords should speak to their tenants directly as the first course of action, raising any potential concerns with the hope of coming to an amicable conclusion. If this is not effective, the landlord can instead write a formal letter to the tenant to explain the problem; this has the additional benefit of ensuring that the details of the communication are recorded, in case they need to be referred to later on.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement, we recommend using a professional mediation service to see if a compromise can be found. If all of these steps fail, you should contact a solicitor, who will be able to advise on whether legal action can be taken against the problem tenant.
Can I evict a tenant?
If you are trying to evict a tenant from your property, it is vital to remember that you can only do so under specific circumstances, and by following the correct procedures. There are two main routes for the legal eviction of a tenant:
- Serving a Section 8 notice, which is ordinarily utilised where the tenant has violated the terms of their tenancy agreement. You will need to specify which terms they have broken, and provide them with the requisite notice period, depending on the seriousness of their infraction, before commencing court proceedings.
- Serving a Section 21 notice, also known as a "no-fault" eviction. This process allows landlords to repossess properties from residents on an assured shorthold tenancy without having to establish fault, either because their fixed-term tenancy has ended or because they have transitioned to a periodic month-to-month contract. There are numerous rules limiting the use of this method - for example, landlords must have all the necessary paperwork in place - as well as strict regulations as to when such a notice can be served.
It is vital to seek legal advice before evicting a tenant - if you fail to meet any of your obligations, the tenant may take you to court for an unlawful eviction. Additionally, the government is currently working to bring an end to no-fault Section 21 evictions, making it even more important to discuss your rights and the changing laws with a solicitor before proceeding.
FAQs About Landlord and Tenant Disputes
What are a landlord's rights if their property is damaged?
Tenants are under an implied duty to use the property in a ‘tenant-like’ manner, and are required to keep a property clean and in good condition during their tenancy, and to carry out basic maintenance. Although normal wear and tear is to be expected, landlords can seek to claim back the cost of any significant damages from the tenant's deposit if the tenant fails to uphold these responsibilities.
If you are dealing with tenants who are refusing to pay for damages they have caused to your property, get in touch with a legal professional who can advise you on whether you have a right of recourse.
When is it illegal for a landlord to enter their property?
Even if a landlord is involved in a tenant dispute, it is important to remember that there are various circumstances in which it is not permitted for them to enter the property.
As a rule, landlords cannot access an occupied property without consent during the tenancy period. Although they have a right to 'reasonable' access to carry out repairs, they must provide at least 24 hours’ notice, while any of the following behaviours may be seen as criminal harassment:
- Entering the property without permission
- Behaving abusively or threateningly
- Using needless repairs as a pretext to enter the premises
- Physically ejecting tenants from the property
If a dispute should arise with your tenants, it is essential to ensure that you do not take any potentially illegal actions against them, as this will make it much more difficult to resolve the dispute in your favour.