Rogue landlords can make the lives of their tenants miserable. But avoiding them isn’t so easy, based on the number of tenants that are complaining. Does it have to be that way? We don’t think so. That’s why we’ve compiled this group of tips to help you to avoid the worst landlords.
- Choose a letting agent that is a member of an approved trade body, like the National Approved Lettings Scheme or the National Association of Estate Agents, or another approved group in your region. One of the reasons it’s good to choose an agent that’s part of a trade body of this type is that it gives you some recourse if the letting agent doesn’t act in your best interest—you’ll have an authoritative body to complain to.
- And of course, don’t pay any fees until the agent has found a place you want to rent. It’s illegal in most regions for agents to charge you prior to finding you a place.
- Ensure that your deposit is being handled through a government-approved structure. Landlords are obligated to assure you of this if you have an assured short hold tenancy.
- The scheme or structure chosen is up to the landlord’s discretion, so long as it is government-backed, but they must tell you within two weeks of paying your deposit.
Repairs and Safety Concerns
- Tenants do not typically have responsibility for repairs, aside from minor issues resulting from damage that they themselves caused. Otherwise, landlords are responsible.
- There should be safety checks of the gas system or boiler on an annual basis. Ask for the landlord to provide you with a valid gas safety certificate.
Other Issues with Landlords
- If you feel harassed by your landlord or the agent that found you the property, don’t hesitate to contact the council or other government officials. You can even take your landlord to court. As a tenant you have legal rights.
- If you are having problems with your landlord, keep records—even a handwritten diary can be extremely helpful. If you have phone records, text messages, or voicemails, save those as well.
- Know the laws regarding eviction in your region. They’re often more accommodating to tenants than you might think. Your landlord will have to provide legal justification for evicting you, and that can be an onerous process for them. Don’t fall prey to empty threats.
- Even if your landlord’s property is foreclosed on, you have specific rights. Talk to a legal specialist before you vacate.