Disputes between landlords and tenants happen more often than many people imagine. Sometimes they are the result of unreasonable behaviour by one or other party, and sometimes they stem from misunderstandings that are allowed to escalate. Here are some common questions and answers that will help reduce the chances of a dispute arising and ensure that any that do arise are dealt with without too much cost or stress.
What are the most common causes of disputes?
Apart from the obvious one of unpaid rent, disputes tend to arise when landlords withhold part of the deposit because of the cleanliness or condition of the property at the end of the lease. Other disputes arise from landlords not fulfilling maintenance obligations, unauthorised keeping of pets and unauthorised subletting.
How are these disputes best avoided?
The best protection is usually to have a clearly written lease agreement and for each party to read it carefully, take appropriate advice and understand the legal obligations they are signing up to. For landlords, in particular, it’s important to stay up to date with the law. Housing legislation changes from time to time and case law provides interpretations of the existing laws that you should be aware of.
The quickest and cheapest option:
If you are unhappy with the behaviour of a landlord or tenant, as with most things, talking things through is often the best way to resolve any issues.
The low-cost option:
The best option is to try to resolve the issue through mediation. This will probably involve getting professional help but will hopefully avoid costly legal action.
The court option:
The final resort may have to be pursuing your case through the courts. This can be more costly and may take longer to resolve. However, sometimes it is the only way to exercise your rights.
If legal action seems to be the only course of action left open PowellsLaw have considerable experience in this field and can offer a free initial review of your case to determine the avenues available to you. If you decide to pursue the case PowellsLaw also offer a staged payments model. You can review and pay for each stage of the case without having to commit to unknown costs at the start of the process.
If you have any questions or concerns, Paul Addison our Senior Partner and expert in Landlord & Tenant Disputes who will be happy to advise you.