A nasty landlord is every tenant’s worst nightmare. To help dispel it, here are ten top tips for dealing with a nasty landlord.
Keep Your Cool
It can be immensely difficult to keep your cool when dealing with a nasty landlord. It is always worth at least trying though. Refusing to descend to the level and tactics of somebody who seems bent on getting the better of you ensures they never will.
Further, if your landlord is looking for reasons to treat you as if you are ‘the problem’, failing to provide them with any can only go in your favour. Hence, keep your cool; do not resort to shouting, engaging in arguments or acting in any way to confirm their idea of you, regardless of the deeps they sink to themselves.
Put it in Writing
A lot of the disputes reported between landlords and tenants ultimately boil down to ‘he said, she said’ scenarios. To avoid this is is important to always calmly and carefully word your grievances in writing, always retain your own copy and when possible email written communications so that you have proof of having sent them, and the content of what you sent.
The point is to leave as little wriggle room for an awkward landlord as possible so that a situation cannot be twisted or used against you. Further, putting it in writing demands a reply from a landlord or agency and should the issue escalate provides you with proof of the efforts you have made to contact and communicate with your landlord.
Call for Back Up
If your landlord has arranged to come to the property in order to inspect it, carry out necessary repairs or for just about any reason within their rights and you are anxious or fearful of them or how they might behave towards you, ensure you are not alone.
You are perfectly within your right to have somebody present at the time of a landlord’s visit to act as a witness or even to deter your landlord from saying, doing or behaving in anyway which is intimidating or inappropriate towards you.
Know Your Rights
Because many of the disputes between landlords and tenants come down to who is acting ‘within their rights’ with both sides often feeling their rights have or are being ignored or denied, it is imperative when renting a room or property to familiarise yourself with exactly what your rights as tenant are.
Hence, never sign a tenancy agreement with first having read it and re-read it until every detail is understood. Secondly, always make a point of studying up on your rights as a tenant living within the UK. You can access your rights by reading the information contained in the Private Renting section of the official UK Government website.
You can also seek free and unbiased legal assistance, advice and support if your rights have or are being contravened by contacting The Citizens’’ Advice Bureau. To learn more about CAB and how to find their offices in your area, visit the Citizens’ Advice Bureau website.
Be Clear on What a Landlord’s Responsibilities Are
In order to operate legally as a landlord with the UK, there are a number of roles and responsibilities a person must submit to, accept and uphold. To learn what they are and so arm yourself against being taken advantage of as a tenant, you can find them set on the housing and homeless charity, Shelter website.
Respect Your Landlord’s Rights
Just as the law is there to protect tenants from nightmare landlords, the law also serves to protect landlords from nightmare tenants. Hence, it is important for tenants to be aware and respectful of their landlords rights as well and as much as their own.
You can learn about the rights of a landlord by reading your tenancy agreement, which will set out the terms of your agreement in full, and by reading the information provided via the article: ‘Landlord Rights ‘ featured on the Money Facts website. Further, making a point of reading articles such as this one can help a tenant to empathise with their landlord and so enable them to communicate more calmly and clearly.
Entering a Property without Your Consent
A landlord who enters your property without your consent or providing reasonable prior notice that they will be doing so is not only a violating and distressing experience, but sadly one which regularly occurs and is complained by tenants. Hence, it is important to know how to prevent and stop this behaviour.
If this is something you experience, first explain to your landlord that you find this unacceptable and try to negotiate an agreement by which your landlord must negotiate visits with you at least 24 hours ahead of arriving. If your landlord ignores or violates this agreement, put it in writing.
Finally, if your landlord still refuses to respect your privacy, seek help and advice from your letting agent or visit The Tenant’s Voice website for further help and advice as to the law surrounding landlord access.
Keep a Diary
When dealing with a nasty landlord, situations can easily spiral into long standing grievances. As such, it is also easy to end up confused or struggle to keep on top of what might well become a growing list of ‘issues’.
Hence, keeping a diary of ‘going on’ can prove invaluable when it comes to dealing with the situation, explaining to an outside advocate, agency tenant officer or even legal representative exactly what has gone on, or is going on.
Further, and at worst, tenants can be accused of lying, embellishing or exaggerating issues. Then, having an organised and clear record of everything that has happened, minus any personal or subjective thoughts about it all, can prove a real life saver.
If You and Your Written Communications Go Ignored
If you have put your grievance(s) with your landlord in writing and failed to receive a response, it is advisable to contact and forward your written communications onto a tenancy relations or housing officer at your local council who can further assist, advice and investigate the situation.
You can find out who your local council is and how to contact them by using the ‘Find My Local Council’ tool provided via the gov.uk website.
What to Do If Things Turn (Really) Nasty?
If observing the nine tips above prove ineffective or fail to resolve the issues you are experiencing, it might be time to call in the big guns. That is, it could be time to call your lawyer.
If you are not in a position which enables you to afford the services of a lawyer, you can still seek advice and help from the Legal Aid Agency which is sponsored by the UK Ministry of Justice and was set up to ‘provide civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales’.
The LAA help millions of people every year. You can find if they could help you by visiting the Legal Aid Agency via the gov.uk website.