Protecting Yourself Legally as Both a Landlord and Tenant

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Rented accommodation is becoming more and more the norm in the modern world. Which means that problems, issues and disagreements in regards to tenancies are also becoming much more prevalent. Understanding and knowing how to deal with these issues, then, is important from both sides of the issues. With that in mind, here are the most important things to keep in mind when you are having a landlord/tenant disagreement, from both perspectives.

Tenants

For a tenant, it can be difficult to fight any decision from your landlord which you might not agree with. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel like you have to bow down to whatever your landlord decides. Especially if you might believe that it is wrong or potentially illegal. Know your legal rights as a tenant, this way you can avoid a lot of issues without having to actually take things further in a legal manner.

Here are some general tips if you are worried a landlord may be taking advantage of you or you are in disagreement over a number of issues:

  • Document everything; emails, texts and whatever other form of communication you might have.
  • Document if any of your rights are denied. For example, the right to know the identity of your landlord, the right to live undisturbed in the property, the right to see the EPC,
  • Keep calm throughout and try not to make accusations.
  • Check your tenancy agreement to ensure you are not simply unaware of the
  • Double check that your deposit is in the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.

For more information on your legal rights as a private tenant, then check out the government resources here.

Landlords

As a landlord, you are responsible for a number of things when it comes to your tenant property. However, in some cases ‘nightmare’ tenants can end up causing you issues outside the norm. Damage to property, abuse and failure to pay rent may only scratch the surface of issues you are presented with a particularly bad tenant.

Which is why it is important to protect yourself in a number of ways, including:

  • Always run checks on your tenants; such as credit, employment references, etc.
  • Contact past landlords, if possible.
  • Have landlord insurance, this will protect you when it comes to unpaid rent and other such issues such as damage to the property.
  • Ensure that a legal professional has written your lease agreement, this is way it becomes much more safe from potential legal action from your tenant later down the line. If you write a tenancy agreement yourself, it can leave you vulnerable.
  • Document the condition of your property. Include photographs, an inventory of your items and anything else you might want to ensure is maintained over the course of the tenancy.
  • Perform regular walk-throughs of the property to keep your tenants in line, but remember to give at least 24-hours notice prior to this.

If you require more guidance in regards to your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, then don’t hesitate to check out free resources such as this or get in touch with a legal counsel.

Mediate

The best way to ensure that any problems you may have as a tenant or landlord are dealt with appropriately. Which may mean, in all likelihood, that you seek the assistance of mediation solicitors. Mediation should be the first step you take in order to avoid long and drawn out legal issues.

If you seek mediation, you could resolve the escalated dispute in order to pay the rent, agree on fixes for the property, etc. At the very least, it will give both sides an opportunity to sit down and air out both sides of the dispute in a safe space. Conflict in regards to property can often become heated, so being able to resolve it in a relatively calm manner is the best option.

For a faster, cost-effective, solution mediation is typically the best choice. It also helps to prevent a scenario where one party feels they have ‘lost’.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, not all tenancies can run smoothly and the fault can come from either the landlord or tenant. And knowing your legal rights, whether things go badly or not, is not necessarily a bad thing. Whether you’re dealing with a difficult tenant or a difficult landlord, your legal rights should always be upheld and it is important to know them inside-out in the event of such a scenario.

 

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