Suing your landlord

Tenants have the right to sue landlords for a variety of reasons, and many tenants seek to claim compensation from landlords for damage.

Many local councils are facing budget cuts and manpower shortages, which makes it hard to enforce laws that let landlords cut corners on repairs and maintenance costs, leaving their tenants to deal with the consequences

This requires landlords to be responsible for ensuring that the rental property they rent is fit for human habitation. They must ensure that this is the case throughout. Throughout the lease, the property remains suitable for use and habitable. This involves poor conditions like ventilation, dampness, and cold, as well as issues that extend beyond repair.

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What are the grounds for suing my landlord?

Neglected building and structural work, resulting in the building’s poor condition or health problems.

Difficulty with food preparation and cooking, resulting in an unsanitary cooking area

Toilet drainage problems and exposure to carbon monoxide or radiation from gas leaks or leaking appliances can be very bad for your health.

Safety issues, such as the absence of a lock on the entrance door and electric or fire dangers. You can also sue your landlord for things like exposure to asbestos or other chemicals, poor bathing or showering conditions, and extreme cold or heat.

If your landlord failed to protect your deposit, you can also sue for that.

The Suitability of Buildings for Human Habitation Act

This is to ensure that rental residences and apartments are safe and suitable for human settlement. They should be safe, healthy, and free of hazards or things that could cause issues for the tenant.

This means that landlords who fail to provide tenants with a safe, secure, and warm home may be prosecuted and have to pay for repairs or rectify health and safety violations. Additionally, the court has the authority to make the landlord pay compensation.

What is required of my landlord by law?

There are currently laws requiring your landlord to make your home fit for habitation, including any health and safety issues that may cause you, the tenant, or anyone else, serious injury.

It makes no difference if the rental property is a bungalow, an apartment, or a house; what matters is your lease agreement with your landlord or agent. The Home Act is now applicable to all tenants.

Are there any instances in which I can’t sue my landlord?

Yes. There are a few exceptions to the general list of things for which you can sue your landlord. For instance, any issues that arise as a result of your behaviour as a tenant, including reckless or illegal conduct.

Also, unforeseeable events, such as fire, flood, or a natural calamity, which are beyond the landlord’s control and any concerns you have about furniture provided by a former tenant but not included in an inventory at the start of your tenancy.

What should I do if I wish to sue my landlord?

To begin with, if there is a problem, you must notify your landlord; presumably, they will take appropriate action, take your complaint seriously and work to resolve it.

Examine your lease; it should specify the types of repairs for which the landlord is responsible.

Provide and find evidence of the damage-notify your landlord of the problem(s) and send photographs where appropriate.

Contact your landlord or letting agent and explain the situation. This is possible verbally, but it is also a good idea to document it in writing.

Maintain records of all correspondence, including text messages, emails, and even handwritten letters, related to your landlord.

If the property’s faults are causing you to become ill, retain all doctor’s notes and, in circumstances where you are compelled to do repairs yourself, ensure that you retain the receipts as proof.

 

How to deal with tenant harassment from landlords or agents

What is considered as harassment? Protect from Eviction Act 1977: Harassment is any action that could make you feel uncomfortable or stressed in your home.

It is a crime for a landlord or agent to know or think that their behaviour is likely to compel you to either relinquish your right to tenancy or leave the property before you are legally required to do so.

Harassment if you owe rent

A delay in rent payment does not provide the landlord with a legal justification to harass tenants. It is fine for your landlord or agent to contact you about late payments.

However, they must refrain from threatening you with illegal eviction. They should not visit your home on a frequent basis requesting money, even more so if you’ve made it obvious that you are unable to pay at the moment.

Issues that arise towards the end of the tenancy

Sometimes, problems start to get worse when you or the landlord try to end the tenancy.

It is critical to understand your fundamental tenancy rights. Your tenant rights terminate only if you so choose to leave, or if court bailiffs evict you.

To remove you from your apartment, the majority of landlords require a court order, and only court bailiffs are authorized to carry out evictions.

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Know your tenant rights.

Understanding your fundamental tenants’ rights empowers you. It can help you fight back against your landlord or agent and help you recognize and resist coercive coercion to give up your home.

Inform other people about your situation, such as the local authority or the police. Tenancy rights do not require a written agreement and remain indefinitely. You either give up your tenancy willingly or are evicted through legal means.

Landlords are required to adhere to a legal eviction process. Your landlord may harass you with the intention of evicting you sooner than what is required by law.

For the majority of tenants, eviction occurs in three stages. It is either through notice, court action, or bailiff eviction. Your landlord must follow legal action; otherwise, the eviction is illegal.

This implies that they must seek court action if you do not vacate the premises during the notification period. The entire process takes several months.

The right to live in peace in your own house. You should be able to enjoy and make use of your house throughout your tenure without any interference on the part of the landlord or anybody acting on his or her behalf. This is referred to as the “right to silent enjoyment.”

You have this right even if no written agreement was signed or if your fixed term was assured that short-hold tenancy has come to an end.

Types of behaviour that could violate your right to enjoy your own space in peace.

Entering your home without your permission could breach your right to quiet enjoyment. Also, interfering with the supply of gas, electricity, or water and frequent visits without prior notification, agreement, or appointment, excessively persistent messages on any subject are also things that could cause a violation of your right to be violated.

As a tenant, you have control over who comes into your home. This is called “exclusive possession.” It means your landlord can not come in without your permission.

Repairs and inspections for safety

Certain maintenance and inspections in your home are the responsibility of your landlord. For instance, annual gas safety inspections. You should give access so that your landlord can fulfil their legal obligations to help maintain your property and house. This does not mean that your landlord or contractors can simply show up or gain access. They should typically provide written notice of an examination of at least 24 hours.

Inspections at the conclusion of your tenancy

Your landlord does not automatically have the right to enter your home simply because you have a lease. However, your tenancy may be coming to an end soon. They cannot simply appear or enter without prior notice or permission.

Certain tenancy agreements have terms requiring the tenant to allow new tenants to view the property when the tenancy draws to a close. If this is included in your agreement, you may offer an opportunity for the new tenant.

Missing rent payments

A delay in rent payment does not give the landlord a legal excuse to harass tenants. Your landlord can contact you about missed payments and rent arrears or take legal action through the courts if you owe them money.

However, they must refrain from threatening you with eviction. They should not visit your home on a frequent basis requesting money, even more so if you’ve made it obvious that you are unable to pay at the moment. You must make an attempt to pay your rent on time and reach an agreement over delays.

Pressure to leave before or after warning

If your landlord wishes to evict you, they must follow the legal process. If you receive any sort of notice to vacate, you should thoroughly check to ensure that the notice is valid and decide whether you are willing to vacate by the notice’s given date.

You are not required to move out of the house by the date specified on the notice, even though it is a formal notice. Even if your landlord serves you with a legal notice, your tenancy continues. It only ends if you legally terminate your tenancy.

Your landlord may have a personal reason for asking you to move out of the house before the legal notice period ends. For instance, if they choose to move back to the apartment or sell it while it is vacant, you can negotiate an early termination of the tenancy if you wish, but only agree on a move-out date once you have secured another place to live. Avoid feeling pressured to leave before you’re ready, especially if you have nowhere else to go.

Keep a record of harassment for a court hearing.

You can seek help in dealing with harassment from the local council, police, housing association tenants or a solicitor. It helps to have a record of what has happened.

Harassment from a landlord or agent is rarely an isolated incident. Often, there is a pattern of behaviour, and sometimes the harassment gets worse over time.

What is evidence of harassment?

Keep a personal record of all incidents or communications that show potentially dangerous behaviour that could be harassment, which might be a written communication from the landlord or agent. Keep any letters or notices informing you to vacate, as well as any emails or messages that are threatening or nasty.

Your account of what happened

If your landlord, agent, or anybody working on their behalf makes an unannounced visit to your property, or enters without permission, note the precise time and date of their visit. Remember precisely what they said or did and how it affected you. Also note if anyone else was present to witness their conduct.

Make a note of it as soon as possible when the incidence occurs. Alternatively, make a voice recording on your phone right away to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Claim compensation from your landlord on a NO Win, NO Fee basis.

Your phone’s recordings

You may film or record any instances of harassment if you feel secure doing so. For instance, whether you’re hiding behind a locked door or peering through an upstairs window,

Bear in mind that filming some criminal landlords may result in an increase in their criminal activity. However, it can provide useful evidence of what occurred.

Seek assistance in dealing with harassment through legal action.

Dealing with dishonest landlords or agents on your own might be challenging. While help is always available, the kind of help or support you get may depend on where you live.

For example, not every council or police agency offers the same level of service. However, they should treat your communication with them seriously. It’s beneficial to keep track of what transpires when you speak with them.

Contact your local council.

Each local council has a team dedicated to resolving harassment and illegal evictions. You can contact them immediately as soon as the problems arise. The council must try to stop an illegal eviction that might result in your homelessness.

Additionally, they can inform your landlord of the law, mediate other tenancy disputes and enact legislation to enforce HMO licensing standards. If your landlord continues to violate the law, the council may prosecute them.

When to involve the police

Harassment in connection with a tenancy is a criminal offence. However, the police may choose not to help, and they often say that it’s just a civil issue.

If you dial 999 and are in a violent or frightening situation, the police must respond. You are immediately in danger of being harmed by your landlord or someone acting on their behalf.

Generally, the police do not investigate or punish complaints of tenancy-related harassment unless there have been violent offences committed. You can report a non-emergency incident online or by calling 101. Request a reference number and see what happens next.

Assistance from a renters’ union

Tenant unions are locally organized organizations that provide assistance and guidance to private tenants who decide to join them. They are occasionally referred to as tenants’ unions.

They can provide invaluable support if you are a victim of harassment or another type of tenancy conflict or difficulties while renting privately.

While renter’s unions are not yet common, cities and major towns will probably have at least one local group.

Legal aid from a solicitor

If you are unsure about pursuing legal action against your landlord or require assistance, speak with a lawyer or a solicitor. You may be able to obtain a court order known as an injunction to put an end to the harassment.

A solicitor may be able to assist, but you must have a compelling case. It’s tough to obtain free legal assistance. Occasionally, solicitors can assist you under a conditional fee arrangement if you are also claiming compensation. This is frequently referred to as “no win, no fee.”

Going to court if your landlord refuses to make repairs

You can take your landlord to court if they won’t make repairs after you’ve asked them to. You’re more likely to win your case if you provide the court with enough evidence. Before reaching a conclusion, the judge will consider the evidence presented by you and your landlord.

The court could order your landlord to do the repairs and pay you compensation, for example, if your health has been affected because they didn’t do the repairs, and for some of your legal costs. You should read our advice on getting repairs done before suing your landlord in court.

Your landlord is likely to have a solicitor to stand for them in court. If you’d rather have an expert present your case, you might want to get a solicitor to speak for you in court too. You’ll usually have to pay for a solicitor as well as any court fees.

If you are on a low income or are claiming certain benefits, you may be eligible for assistance with court costs. If you win your case, you may be able to recover part of your costs. Also, you should check whether you qualify for legal aid to cover court costs.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to find out if you can get legal aid.

 

Fill in the court form.

To start taking your landlord to court, you’ll need to fill in and print the court form. Write enough details and information you can use a separate piece of paper if there’s not enough room on the form.

Make sure you gather as much evidence as possible to back up your allegations. You’ll need to be able to prove that you asked your landlord for repairs and he ignored them. You’ll also have to prove your landlord is responsible for repairs.

Put together all the evidence you can before you go to court, for example, letters or emails you sent to your landlord or local council about the repairs, pictures of what needs to be repaired, receipts for items you’ve had to replace, for example, furniture or carpets, and a copy of your tenancy agreement. You should send this evidence together with your form.

 

Attend the court hearing.

You’ll have to go to the court hearing. You can ask a friend or relative to help you. If you think it will help you remember significant issues later, ask them to take notes during the court hearing.

All of the evidence you and your landlord have given will be considered by the court. You may have more than one court hearing, for example, if the court requests additional evidence from you or your landlord. You must submit any new evidence by the court’s deadline. The court may not use your evidence if you send it late.

Once the court has made a decision, your landlord could be ordered to do the repairs, pay you compensation (for example, if your health has been affected because they didn’t do the repairs), and also pay some of your legal costs.

If your landlord ignores the court’s decision, this is a violation of the law and you might want to take further court action, for example, if your landlord doesn’t pay you the compensation ordered by the court.

Contact Citizens Advice if you want to take further legal action against your landlord.

Claim compensation from your landlord on a NO Win, NO Fee basis.

Speak to one of our housing disrepair experts to see if you are eligible to claim compensation

We are National Housing Disrepair experts.

We cover thee whole of the UK, contact us via email, telephone or live chat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your landlord owes specific responsibilities to residential tenants under the new law, including providing a livable living space and allowing the tenant to utilize the property without interference. If your landlord fails to fulfil these obligations, you may be eligible to file a small claim for damages, which may include emotional anguish.

Under the new rules, a landlord can be sued for emotional distress. Tenants, in some cases, for example, have been granted emotional distress damages for their aggravation and injury caused by uninhabitable living circumstances such as insufficient heat and water and harmful vermin. Emotional distress damages may be awarded for a situation whereby the landlord violated your right to silent enjoyment, caused by a miscalculation of rent and subsequent eviction action.

Your landlord can be sued for emotional distress if you suffer from it as a result of the landlord’s actions, depending on your state’s laws. If the landlord’s actions are outrageous and done with the intent of causing you emotional harm, or if your landlord is simply negligent but should have known the negligence would cause emotional harm.

If the repair falls under your landlord’s repair responsibilities, you are required by law to inform them as quickly as feasible. Giving notice of repairs is when you inform your landlord of the situation.

After that, your landlord is given a “reasonable” period of time to address the issue. The amount of time your landlord has is determined by the situation. For instance, if you’ve been without hot water or heat, or if you’ve discovered a severe water leak, you should get the repair done as soon as possible. An acceptable amount of time for minor repairs could be up to three months.

If your landlord is liable for the repair work and the problem is not fixed within a reasonable amount of time, you have the right to sue for housing deterioration. You can file a claim for housing disrepair. Our solicitors can assist you with a claim for housing damage. We work on a contingency basis, which means that if we don’t win, we don’t get paid. Please contact us right away for a free evaluation of your claim.

If your landlord fails to complete repairs within a reasonable time after you have reported them, you have the right to claim compensation.

If your home is unfit to live in due to bad circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation. If your landlord refuses to compensate you, you can go to court. The court expects you to attempt to reach an agreement first, and you must also present evidence.

You can make a claim for both genuine cash loss and general annoyance. You have the right to claim compensation for things that have been damaged or destroyed due to bad conditions or when they were being fixed.

If you’ve had to spend more money due to difficulties with your home’s circumstances, you can file a claim through legal action.

For example, due to a malfunctioning boiler, increased electric expenditures when utilizing plug-in heaters. You can make a claim for things like disturbances in your normal routine, not being able to use your home to its full potential, and time spent waiting for contractors or inspections to arrive.

The amount you could receive is determined by how the problem affected you and how long it lasted. You can take legal action to claim compensation during or after your tenancy.

During your tenancy, you must have informed your landlord of the situation.

In a lawsuit, landlords who violate health and housing rules might be declared negligent. Ignoring a request for repairs can result in hefty consequences, whether you’re a renter or a landlord. Landlords must keep rental homes up to state and local standards in order for them to be habitable.