Landlord & Tenant Disputes – 5 common landlord-tenant fallouts and ways to avoid them

  1. Pay day rental arrears

Issue:
Tenant has forgotten to/ fallen behind on paying rent.

Solution:
Encourage you tenant set payment dates on or within a few days of pay day to avoid lack of funds being in their account and thus, defaulting on payments.

Set up a standing order to avoid delayed payments and relying on the tenant to remember to make payment.

  1. Cleaning

Issue:
Tenant fails to leave the property in good, clean condition when they vacate the property.

Landlord wants to retain the deposit for cleaning the property, tenant has a difference of opinion … dispute arises.  For the landlord to claim any of the deposit money, the costs have to be justified and evidenced to the deposit scheme holding the deposit, if not agreed with the tenant.

Solution:
If you organised a cleaner before the tenant moved into the property you could provide the details to the tenant so that the tenant can use the cleaner either during the term or before vacating the property.

Write to the tenant before the end of the tenancy to remind them of their obligations and enclose a copy of the check-in report (if applicable) and any photos from when they moved into the property to remind them of the condition to be expected on return (a tip taken from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme).

  1. Protect the Deposit

Issue:
You failed to protect the deposit and want to obtain possession of your property but cannot serve notice without returning the deposit.

Solution:
Always protect the deposit! Landlords must put a tenant’s deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales a deposit can be registered with:

  1. Deposit Protection Service
  2. MyDeposits
  3. Tenancy Deposit Scheme

There are options for obtaining possession where you have not protected deposit but it is best to seek advice in this scenario/

  1. Disrepair/ Damage to the Property

Issue:
A landlord has a duty to maintain the property and it is a tenant’s right.

Boiler broken, leak, damp on the walls, no running water – a headache for any landlord but must be resolved quickly. Failing to address issues promptly can prevent landlords from serving notices requiring possession and can leave them open to disrepair claims from the tenant. Often tenants will also withhold rent until the issue is fixed.

Solution:
Save time panicking and searching for a contractor and have a reliable handyman that you can use on call.

Use an agent – Agencies can also be a easy solution should you want to offload the stress of the problems. Agents will often work with a team of contractors to make sure problems are solved quickly no matter the time of night the tenant calls.

  1. Inspection of the Property

Issue:
You are claiming possession of the property and find there is a unauthorised individual or sub tenant in the property; or tenant has made alterations to your property.

Solution:
Regular inspections – not only do they flag maintenance issues, they can also tell you whether there are unauthorised individuals living in the property, that are not listed on the tenancy agreement. Subletting is not usually allowed within residential tenancies, and unchecked tenants could also cause disputes with neighbouring properties e.g. noise. Make sure you adhere to the requirements of notice (found in your AST) before entering the property.

If you have any concerns about any property litigation matter then it is recommended that you contact Aileigh Brough at Meaby & Co for timely advice: abrough@meaby.co.uk or call 0207 703 5034.

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