Finding a new home to rent can sometimes be quite a hassle, but when you find a suitable property one of the most important things you need to do is establish a good and stable relationship with your landlord. That will most likely ensure a smooth and easy tenancy and a happy life in your new dwelling. Sometimes all that is easier said than done, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Read through to find out about the most common problems tenants have with their landlords along with some advices of best practices.
Problems with Repairs and Living Conditions
Even if it is not included in the tenancy agreement all landlords have certain repair responsibilities for the property they let. These include, but are not limited to: problems with the building structure (walls, ceilings, roofs, chimney, doors, windows), ventilation, sanitary fittings, electrical wirings, gas and fire safety. If any of these requirements is not met properly and cause problems to their everyday life, the tenants have the right to press legal charges. If any such issue occurs, notify the landlord in writing and keep a copy of the notification as a proof. It can serve as evidence if things escalate and reach the court.
Problems With Tenants Responsibilities
Tenants also have responsibilities while occupying a rented property. They have to make sure it is maintained in a good and clean state and repair or restore whatever they break. Any other minor or large repairs and maintenance projects have to be specifically mentioned in the tenancy agreement or additionally agreed to. All additional repairs agreements should be put down on paper, signed by both parties and kept safe as evidence. Repairs problems are very common with tenancies and very often cause a number of disageements between tenants and landlords. That is why it is most advisable that you go for a tenancy agreement that is as detailed as possible. This way you can refer to the clauses in case of any disputes and even take the landlord to court if he refuses to do whatever is expected from him.
The tenancy agreement should also include a wear and tear clause. It includes items, fixtures and furniture that are normal to wear and tear or are prone to breaking after being used for a long period of time. Those are normally assessed by a speciallist, who will set an expiration date for each item to prevent any unnecessary and unfair deductions from the security deposit, if the item has run its course at the end of the tenancy.
Problems With The Rent
As a tenant one of your most important duties is to pay your rent on time. If however, you are experiencing certain financial difficulties, you can negotiate with your landlord to postpone your payment or break down the payment into two or three installments. If you manage to reach to an agreement, make sure you get it down in writing and also keep a copy safe. Also, do NOT forget to keep all payment receipts as evidence, in case your landlord tries to evict you for unpaid rent.
If your landlord wants to increase your rent, there are certain rules and procedures he must follow. By law if you are on a rolling contract, your rent cannot be increased more than once a year without your permission. If however, you are on a fixed-term tennacy, your landlord can only increase your rent if you agree to it or after the contract expires. Whatever the tenancy type, the increase must be fair and realistic, and in line with the average local rates.
If you are on a low income as a tenant you can claim housing benefit – help with rent arrears from your local council. It is your landlord’s last concern how you find money to pay your rent as long as it is legal and you pay it on time. Very often, however, there are certain delays with housing benefit payments and if those delays are significant and regular, that means you are breaking the tenancy agreement and the landlord has grounds to start an eviction procedure or take you to court if you are not paying at all.
Problems With The Deposit
By law, if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy, your landlord MUST put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 calendar days of receiving it. It ensures that you get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, do not damage the property and pay your rent and bills.
Very often landlords come to the decision that the tenants do not deserve their deposit back, because they have not been responsible enough. For that reason many tenants turn to a professional end of tenancy cleaning company to shine the property throughout and guarantee it is clean to the required standard for the check-out. Even then, however, some landlords tend to find problems and something to dispute.
When your deposit is protected, the TDP agency can assess the situation and make a decision whether your landlord is right or not. If his claim is dismissed he must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing of how much you’ll get back. If you have any disputes with your landlord, the deposit will be protected by the TDP scheme until the issue is resolved.
There are many instances of unprotected deposits, where landlords do whatever they decide. Their wrondoing may stretch as far as having significant and unfair deductions when and if the deposit is paid back. If you are experiencing anything similar and are sure the landlord is not doing right, you can contact a solicitor or citizen’s advice bureau, make a claim and take him to court.
Landlord Breaking The Clauses of The Tenancy Agreement
Very often landlords like to do surprise inspections of their property no matter if the tenants are in or not. The law, however, states that the landlord must serve notice at least 24 hours prior to his visit. Failure to do so gives the tenants solid grounds to file a complaint and even have him sued. You can find more information on the citizens advice bureau website.
The only two situations where the landlord has the right to enter the property without notice are in case of an emergency (gas leak, flooding, fire or medical emergencies) or when in suspicion that the tenant has moved out without announcing or returning the key.
The tenants also have rights to seek legal help if they feel they are being harrased or discriminated by their landlord. These accusations, however, are very serious and need to be backed up with solid evidence. It is always best to first speak to your landlord and try to sort things out with him before you escalate the problem to court.
Other Problems With Tenancy
Other common problems during tenancy might include conflicts with other tenants, if you live in a shared house, problems with noisy or aggressive neighbours, or antisocial behaviour by members of the public.
Conflicts and disputes between tenants living in a shared home are very common and unfortunately arise very often. In most cases the tenants will take the problem to the landlord to help them resolve it. However, he does not have the ultimate power to evict people without a valid reason and they have to make a decision whether they can find a way to make peace with each other, continue living under the same roof ignoring each other or simply find another accommodation. The truth is such conflicts are really unnecessary and also bring a lot of stress to the tenants everyday life. So, whatever issue you come accross during your tenancy it is best if you try and find a peaceful solution and avoid any conflicts.
Noisy neighbours can be a real problem, especially if they affect your sleep or time for relaxation. There also are neighbours that are simply problematic and hard to live next to. Whatever the case do your best to resolve the problem peacefully and try to avoid getting into conflicts and disputes. Any harrasments report to your landlord or the police.
Antisocial behaviour by members of the public is quite a nuissance and can sometimes become a real issue, especially if you try and deal with it on your own. In most cases it is caused by alcohol or drug abusers and it is best if you report the problem straight to the police. They will deal with it accordingly and find a way to restore the peace in your neighbourhood.