Illegal Things Landlords Can Do To Tenants 

Illegal Things Landlords Can Do To Tenants 

The following contribution is from another author.

Of the estimated 2.5 million landlords in the UK, an estimated 0.42% or 10,500 are considered to be “rogue”. No matter how small a portion this is compared to the number of law-abiding ones, the relatively small number  can still make an impact as each landlord  can have several tenants. These landlords often do not fulfil their legal obligations in ensuring their tenants’ safety and security. Situations like this can lead to ignored disrepair in home issues, which can cause physical and emotional distress, especially when the tenant(s) and landlord disagree more than agree with each other.

If you intend to rent, whether privately or through a social housing association, you need to arm yourself with sufficient knowledge about the UK’s Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which applies to leases seven years or shorter, as well as periodic tenancies. This law draws the line between the landlords and tenants’ rights and responsibilities. Landlords are required to “keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling.” This includes pipes, drains, and gutters. Also required to be kept in good working condition are the installations for the supply of gas, water, electricity, and the (central) heating system. 

Here are some illegal things that landlords might do that you should be aware of. If your landlord exhibits any of these behaviours, they may be one of the 0.42% who cannot be trusted. You may also use the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker to see if they are legitimate.

Unfair treatment

The Fair Home Act prohibits discrimination in housing sales and rents. This means that  race, colour, religion, gender, familial status, ethnicity or ancestry, and disability should not be considered when selecting potential tenants . Some landlords choose to deny tenant applicants because they do not want to be inconvenienced or do not accept  someone’s protected characteristics.

Some tenants are turned down after the first phone call, while others are refused after meeting with the landlord during viewings. Although it is unclear whether the landlord discriminated against that individual, anyone who has a protected characteristic has likely faced prejudice and knows how it feels.

Excessive rent increase

Landlords cannot simply increase rent whenever they want. For fixed-term tenancies, they will need the tenant’s approval before they can make any rent increase, which should be in line with the industry rates or the average rent in the area.

Rent increases for periodic tenancies cannot be carried out more than once a year without the tenant’s agreement. The landlord should apply for the rent increase at the end of the fixed-term, but not without providing the tenant with a form for “landlord’s notice proposing a new rent”. Tenants must be given prior notice of at least one month for periodic tenancy, and six months for fixed-term.

Ignoring repair requests

It is the responsibility of the landlord or property owner to ensure their tenant lives in a habitable home that’s free from any unaddressed structural issues or safety hazards. Some landlords take time to respond to reports by tenants regarding much-needed repairs. Mould, damp, faulty wiring, and infestations are just some of the usual complaints that tenants make because of shoddy structural integrity, poor ventilation, or defective central heating systems. 

Some issues are addressed superficially where mould is just simply wiped away or the leaking roof is just patched with a slat of wood as a temporary resolution. Some landlords, sometimes due to lack of resources , do not address the underlying cause of the disrepair in a home at all.

Trespassing

It is logical for landlords to enter a tenant’s home unannounced during emergencies such as fires, gas leaks, or floods. But for situations like inspections or viewings for prospective tenants, they will need to inform the current tenant 24 to 48 hours before the intended visit. Not doing so will violate the right to privacy of the resident.

The tenancy agreement should have the right to privacy clause that should be agreeable to both the tenant and the landlord. 

Unjustified tenancy deposit deductions

Tenancy deposits are used by landlords for any damage that a tenant caused to the rented home. In addition to this, a reasonable deduction could be made from unpaid rent and utility bills, if any. Tenants must document any issues like marks, cracks in walls, or any obvious structural damage that they discover before they move in. This will serve as evidence once they move out and are given back their security deposit.

Landlords should also provide a complete breakdown of the deductions that they made from the tenancy deposit. Tenants are allowed to dispute any deduction that they think is unwarranted or unreasonable.

If you feel that your landlord has been treating you unfairly or handling your tenancy illegally, contact the housing disrepair experts at disrepairclaim.co.uk to help you lodge a formal disrepair complaint against them.

Author

Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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