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Landlord and tenant disputes

Landlord and tenant disputes are legal conflicts which are predominantly governed by property law. Landlord and tenant disputes can be divided into three main types:

  • Disputes about non-payment of rent
  • Dispute about the landlord’s non-performance of legal obligations
  • Disputes regarding service charge

If you are having a dispute which you feel you cannot resolve between yourselves, we can recommend a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor to help you resolve the issues as quickly as possible.

Types of dispute

When a tenant does not pay rent continually they are seen to be in breach of contract. It is the landlord’s legal right to evict a tenant provided that the landlord follows the proper procedure.

Landlord and tenant disputes may also arise if a landlord does not fulfil certain legal obligations. For example, under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord must ensure that water heating devices are operating properly during the tenancy.

If the boiler of a rented flat breaks and the landlord does not fulfil the responsibility, the tenant has the right to complain and seek compensation from the landlord.

A third common issue in landlord and tenant disputes relates to service charges. When a flat is leased as a long-term leasehold the freeholder often charges a service charge which is allocated to maintaining the common areas of the building, for example:

  • The stairs
  • The roof
  • The exterior

Disputes arise because often the person in charge of spending the service charge monies does not have an interest in reducing the cost of the work. The leaseholders therefore indirectly pay for work which they often feel could have been done cheaper.

Other landlord and tenants’ disputes include:

  • When one party wants to terminate the agreement
  • Disputed proposed increases in rent
  • Problems recovering the deposit at the end of the tenancy
  • Disputes over repairs
  • In serious cases, illegal eviction

How to resolve disputes

There are many different ways for landlord and tenancy disputes to be resolved:

  • The most common way is that both parties enter into unofficial negotiations and a compromise is reached
  • On some occasions the dispute is more serious and legal professionals become involved; a tenancy tribunal should be a final resort

However, there are strict rules governing the ending of a tenancy and repayment of monies under it, and thus, whilst litigation may be desired by one party, it is often not an effective method for resolving landlord and tenancy disputes, particularly if the tenancy agreement is to continue.

A solicitor specialising in landlord and tenancy law might be able to offer both sides a much quicker and cheaper way of resolving a dispute through negotiation and possibly mediation.

If you are involved in a landlord and tenancy dispute and you wish to resolve it as quickly as possible, you may be able to do so amicably by approaching the other party whilst keeping in mind your common goal of a resolution.

Speaking to a specialist solicitor first is usually beneficial as it will allow you to know what your legal rights are, from which point you can better negotiate with the other side.

Speaking with a professional about your specific dispute will allow you to better understand how the law treats cases such as yours. For more general advice, visit our page on landlord tenant law.

Are you a landlord or tenant involved in a dispute? Contact Law can recommend a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor to help you resolve the issue as amicably as possible, whether through mediation or negotiation via both party’s solicitors. Please call us on 0808 129 5759 or complete the web-form above.