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Renting Advice Renters Rights   |   Jul 22, 2014,

What to do if your rights as a renter are breached

If you believe your renters' rights have been breached, read on to know your rights as a renter, and what to do if those rights are breached.

It’s no secret that in some cases, renters' rights can be overlooked by agencies and landlords as the demand for housing still outstrips the supply. In most cases, landlords want to find good renters and keep them, so if you’ve always paid your rent on time and treated the property well, things should work in your favour if you take the right steps to settle any disputes.

Follow these steps to ensure you stay within the law and don’t break the clauses in your rental agreement.

Breach of Renters' Rights: 5 things you must do

1. Stay Calm

If a dispute arises with a landlord or agency, this is when many people make the first mistake. The first reaction many people have when they believe their landlord has breached their rights is anger. Understandably, if you feel like you’ve been mistreated it’s hard to put a cap on your emotions, but stay calm as this is the best way to solve disputes in the long run.

You’re much more likely to get dragged into an argument if you let yourself become angry. It’s harder to establish a solution if things descend into a shouting match.

2. Know your rights

At the start of your tenancy you should have signed a tenancy agreement. In most cases this will be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. If your landlord or agent has broken the terms of the contract then you may be able to leave the property.  Although leaving a property can be an attractive solution if you’re not happy there – in most cases, it’s preferable to try and fix the problem and leave the property at the end of the agreement with your deposit intact.

You can also be held liable for unpaid rent and be sued by your agency or landlord if you leave the property before the legal contract has ended. If you have to go to court, you will be asked to prove that your landlord or agent breached the terms of the contract. You must also show that you gave them a chance to rectify the problem.

3. Write to your landlord/agent

How do you do this?

Get a copy of your rental agreement and read it again. If you can’t find your agreement then you need to ask your landlord or agent for a copy. Pull out the clauses that you think your landlord has broken and begin to write your e-mail/letter…

You should include:

  • The property address
  • Today's date (i.e. the date of writing the letter)
  • The clauses you believe have been broken
  • The date of which you would like this rectified

The letter could look something like this:

First line of rented property

Second line of rented property

Postcode of rented property

22nd July, 2014

To whom it may concern, 

On inspection of the Tenancy Agreement, it clearly states that Clause X And Clause Y.   I believe you have broken the Tenancy Agreement for failing to adhere to these clauses. I would like to work with you to rectify the problem so we can come to a conclusion by the (a week from the date you send the letter).  

 Yours Sincerely, 

 

4. Write again

If you don’t hear anything back from your agent or landlord write to them again.

You should include:

  • The property address
  • Today's date (i.e. the date of writing the letter)
  • A copy of the original letter/e-mail and a reference to the date your sent it
  • The date you sent the original letter/e-mail
  • Explain you have no other option but to issue a Notice to Quit if the problem is not fixed
  • The date of which you would like this rectified

 

What is a Notice to Quit?

A Notice to Quit must be given by a landlord or renter in writing. The Notice must include the date on which it is to expire (when the notice will be completed/you will move out).

  • 4 weeks notice if you’ve been in the property for less than 5 years
  • 8 weeks notice if you’ve lived in the property more than 5 but less than 10 years
  • 12 weeks notice if you’ve lived in the property for over 10 years

If you’re given a notice by a landlord but cannot move out at the end of the notice period, the locks on the property cannot be changed. The landlord or agent must apply to the court for a possession order. If you haven’t been issued a proper Notice to Quit, the court won’t make an order for possession.

Only an officer of the Enforcement of Judgements Office can remove you from the rented property. If you don’t leave willingly, the landlord must apply to have the possession order enforced.

5. Notice to Quit

Issue your landlord or agency with a Notice to Quit, explaining why you are doing so.

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