How & When Tenants Can Complain About Their Landlord

While there are a gazillion potential reasons to complain about landlords, the reason for why most tenants make a complain (or at least, want to) usually falls into one of a few categories.

The most common tenant complaints are typically related to one of the following: maintenance & repair issues, health & safety issues, tenancy deposit disputes, harassment, or ‘revenge evictions’

In this section, I’ll try to provide a game plan for tenants that believe they have a legitimate case for lodging a complaint against their landlord.

How & When Tenants Can Complain About Their Landlord

Maintenance & Repair Issues

Landlords in England & Wales are legally obligated to ensure their rental property is in good repair and in safe working order.

For example, there must be a supply of hot and cold water, there shouldn’t be any dampness, there should be suitable drainage and sanitary conveniences etc.

If a landlord fails to meet his/her obligations, they could be sued by the tenant.

For more information on resolving maintenance & repair issues, I recommend reading the following blog posts:

Health & Safety Issues

Health & safety issues often cross-over with maintenance & repair issues, but it can also include the following common scenarios:

For more information on resolving health and safety issues, or how to report your landlord for not complying with their health & safety obligations, I recommend reading the following blog posts:

Tenancy Deposit Disputes

Disputes over tenancy deposits has become incredibly common, especially with the rise of specialist “No Win No Fee” Deposit Recovery services like depositrecoveryclaims.co.uk, and charities like Shelter bringing the issue to the forefront.

Unfortunately many landlords ARE failing to meet their legal obligations when it comes to the handling of tenants’ deposits, which means tenants have valid grounds for not only recovering their deposit, but also claiming compensation.

If you think your landlord may have mishandled your deposit, I recommend reading the following blog post:

Harassment

Unfortunately, many landlords aren’t aware of the tenants statutory right to live in ‘quiet enjoyment‘, which essentially means landlords aren’t allowed to harass tenants. The line is commonly crossed when landlords do either of the following:

  • Make unannounced visits
  • Excessively contact the tenant, usually in a threatening and abusive tone.

If you feel you are being harassed, I recommend seeking legal advice from Citizen’s advice. If more urgent cases, call 999 and lodge a complaint with the police.

Revenge Evictions

This seems to be the hot new topic. Apparently every tenant under the sun is being booted out of their home under unfair grounds, allegedly.

A ‘revenge eviction‘ refers to when tenants get evicted (i.e. when they’re given notice) after reporting a matter of disrepair to their landlord.

It’s still not clear how much of a widespread issue this is, it’s an ongoing debate among ‘the powers that be’.

I have no doubt in my mind that it happens, but I’m not convinced it’s as widespread as it’s made out to be, because it doesn’t make financial sense for the typical landlord to evict a good tenant just because they report a maintenance issue.

In any case, it’s what we’re being told is happening! *cough*

If you feel like you are legitimately being evicted out of spite because you have reported a maintenance issue to your landlord – unfortunately, from what I’m aware, there is currently no recourse for tenants.

Ultimately, as long as your landlord terminates a tenancy through the proper means (i.e. serves the appropriate notice and provides an ample notice period), regardless if ‘why’, there isn’t anything you can object to.

If anything changes in the future, which it very well may (because it’s an ongoing topic of debate), I’ll update this section.

Free legal advice for Tenants

If you’re a tenant looking for free legal advice or professional support related to evictions, repairs or homelessness, I recommend getting in touch with Citizens Advice and/or Shelter.

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