Rogue landlords are everywhere. If your landlord did not provide a copy of their license when you started your tenancy, you could be dealing with one yourself.
Rogue landlords usually disregard policies and laws. For example, owners of properties that failed safety inspections may not provide you with gas and safety certificates. These landlords often disregard housing disrepair issues, much to the discomfort of their tenants and neighbours.
Rogue landlords pay no attention to the law. They often miss out on their legal responsibilities and harass their tenants, whether it is to forcefully enter the home without prior permission from the lessees or to unlawfully evict their tenants if they, the owners, get complaints about disrepair issues in the formers’ homes. Though these issues can be dealt with directly by the tenant, one should do so carefully as there’s no telling what a rogue landlord would do.
Speaking of precautions, it is better to be well prepared before anything negative happens to you and your family. The best time to prevent having to do business with errant landlords is during viewings, before making the final decision to rent the home you want.
Choose a reputable agency or landlord
Firstly, choose a letting agency and landlord that are well-respected and have not been complained about or in the news regarding disrepair. There is also a UK database of rogue landlords or agents for cross-checking of any criminal convictions and offences. The list will show the name of the landlord or agent, rental property address, enforcement authority, the offences they’ve committed, and the offence description.
Know the law
Know your tenant rights by brushing up on UK housing law beforehand as this will help show whether the landlord is making up their own rules or if what they require is mandated by law. There are documents that the landlord is obligated to present to the tenant before finalising the tenancy agreement. These documents are the gas safety and energy performance certificates, the “How to Rent” checklist, a deposit protection scheme (for assured shorthold tenancies), and their contact details.
Be very inquisitive during your viewing, and even before moving in. Make sure you ask the right questions and get satisfactory responses. For example, ask what your responsibilities are against the responsibilities of the landlord. Know which repairs you need to handle yourself, and which ones are your landlord obligated to fix like mould, structural damage, and damp.
Keep a record of all correspondence
On move-in day, take photos and videos of your new home to document how it looked on the first day compared to move-out day. Anything that can be used as evidence for when there is a need to take the matter to court must be documented. Make sure to save all email and text message attempts of reaching out to the landlord as this will show proof if they have not been responding or providing any feedback. Take photos or videos of the disrepair issues that have not been addressed despite constant follow-ups.
Be the better person
It will not help your cause if issues are exacerbated with hostile behaviour like withholding rent payment or shouting expletives at your landlord, especially if there isn’t any solid evidence that the landlord is avoiding responsibility. They might have not opened their email yet or are away on a trip. Allow them reasonable time to get back to you. If 14 to 21 days of waiting has elapsed, you can contact the local authorities or housing association (if they are not the landlords) to assist you with your concerns.
How to file a complaint
Rogue landlords can make life miserable for their tenants if they feel they’ve been inconvenienced by complaints about the homes their lessees are renting out or – if things have gotten out of hand – by a court summons. They could forcefully evict the complainants and not give back the tenancy deposit as a means of getting back.
Before filing a complaint with the local council, the landlord needs to be made aware of the issue. Tell them what needs to be done and let them know what your tenant’s rights are. If they do not respond at all, the complaint must be forwarded to the local council. They can help with issues regarding unlawful acts committed by landlords, ignored repair requests pertaining to health and safety, unjust eviction, and harassment.
The council will need to know all the details of the issue and what has been done to notify the landlord about everything. If they cannot handle the problems themselves, it is best to take the matter to court. There are legal firms that specialise in housing rental disputes like this.
If your landlord illegally evicted you, would not give you back your tenancy deposit, harassed or discriminated against you, you can seek the help of tenant solicitors. Additionally, if your landlord has ignored your requests to fix disrepair in your home,, seek the advice of the housing disrepair experts at DisrepairClaim.co.uk.