HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
Harassment by a landlord is a serious offence and carries civil as well as criminal penalties.
The law relating to the harassment of a tenant and unlawful eviction is very one sided and heavily weighted against the landlord. A landlord can act in what they would consider to be a reasonable way and still be legally engaging in an act of harassment. For instance faxing a letter about rent arrears to the tenants work resulted in a successful claim for harassment being bought resulting in damages of £750 being awarded against the landlord.
Harassment includes a landlord: cutting off water, gas, or electricity; threatening tenants with eviction; interfering with tenant's mail; long-term failure to do repairs; deliberate noise pollution, seeking the tenant outside the scope of the premises a landlord is letting i.e. going to their workplace.
Advice to landlords
Landlords should never coerce a tenant into leaving no matter how bad they are. If a landlord proposes to do something to their tenant thinking “that will get rid of them”, if they have not got a legal reason for their actions, they are probably acting unlawfully.
If a landlord must visit their tenant under strained circumstances they should always try to take along an independent witness. In this way the landlord will be in a position to defend them self from spurious claim made by the tenant.
A landlord needs to be particularly careful where they think a tenant has left the property or so called Abandonment. They should never be tempted to change the locks and remove tenants' possessions in such circumstances even if they are unconvinced that the tenant has done a ‘runner’. This is because by virtue of S5 (2) of the Housing Act 1988 a tenancy can only be brought to an end by the Landlord obtaining a Court order for possession or by a surrender or similar act by the tenant. If the courts are convinced that the landlord intended to re-instate the tenant after a discussion about rent arrears it is likely the landlord will be prosecuted for Harassment, if they believe the intention was the eviction be permanent then the landlord will be prosecuted for unlawful eviction
Landlords should always give the tenant as much notice a possible if they are to visit the property to avoid any potential claims of harassment. At least 48 hours ideally unless there is an emergency. In wording the notice it is always a good idea to couch the notification in the negative. That is to say “ I will be visiting the residential investment property at 1pm on Thursday 6 June. If this is not convenient please notify me ASAP.”
A landlord should never approach a tenant for rent or matters relating to a potential conflict involving the tenancy outside the scope of the premises they are letting as this could constitute harassment.
If problems a rise a landlord should remember to keep dated notes about their actions and the tenants response in case the matter does go to court and the tenant tries to claim harassment.
A landlord needs to be realistic about losses including loss of rent.
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
WHAT TO BUY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
MANAGING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
DAMP, MOULD AND CONDENSATION
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
LEGISLATION ON LETTING PROPERTY
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS