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Housing Law - Tenants Rights

CSB Solicitors have an experienced in-house Housing specialist team that deal with Tenants Rights and related disputes. Our Housing team can also tackle other issues including the following:

Housing Disrepair

If you are a tenant living in rented property which has fallen into disrepair you may have a disrepair claim against your landlord. If your landlord has failed to repair faults or not kept the house in good condition you may find that your home becomes damaged. It can be very distressing when your landlord refuses to repair your home.

Living conditions can deteriorate and seriously affect your quality of life should repairs not be carried out by your landlord. You may be able to claim a financial award for the damage caused to your home by your landlord’s failure to repair faults. The Court may order your landlord to repair the damage at their own cost.

All tenants will usually have a contract with their landlord. The landlord will always have certain responsibilities to the tenant under the contract. To find out whether your landlord has breached their responsibility by failing to repair the problem you will need to seek expert legal advice.

What should you do next?

  • Write to the landlord to report the problem and ask them to fix it. Please keep a copy of any letter(s) that you send to your landlord. Make also make sure you remember the date you reported the issue to your landlord.
  • If your landlord fails to respond or repair the problem, then send them a reminder in writing. Please keep a copy of any letter(s) that you send to your landlord. Make also make sure you remember the date you reported the issue to your landlord.
  • You should seek early assistance from a specialist housing law adviser.

The Housing team at CSB Solicitors are recognised for their expertise and client-oriented approach to legal services. We can give you a plain-speaking solution to your housing dispute. We offer fixed fee services and ‘no win no fee’ agreements where possible.

Tenancy Deposits

It is common for landlords to ask for a deposit from their new tenants, in order to secure the tenancy on their property before you move in. Landlords must follow certain procedures when it comes to receiving, and returning, a tenant’s deposit.

As a result of laws introduced in April 2007, when a tenant pays a deposit to secure a tenancy, the landlord should place this deposit in a certified deposit protection scheme, for the benefit of both landlord and tenant. There are several government-approved deposit protection schemes in the UK.

Providing you have been paying the rent and there has been no damage caused to the property by the tenant, the landlord should return your deposit, in full, within ten days of the tenancy coming to an end. If the landlord is withholding part of the deposit, they must return the remaining amount immediately.

A landlord can only make reasonable deductions from the deposit if they can successfully show they have suffered a financial loss during the tenancy. This could include rent arrears, damage caused to the property throughout the tenancy, and cleaning costs etc. Normal wear and tear, or covering the costs of re-letting the property are non-deductible by the landlord.

In most cases tenancy deposits are required to be put into protection schemes by landlords. However, if the landlord fails to do so, this may have legal implications.

At CSB Solicitors, we have a housing team who can offer specialist advice to tenants regarding any issues they may be having with tenancy deposits. If you would like to speak to a member of our commercial litigation team about your tenancy deposit issues, contact us today.

Section 21 Notices

Landlords will use a section 21 notice to gain possession of a property that has been let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Most tenancies are now ASTs, however, it is always worth checking what type of tenancy you have as it could be a number of others, such as an Assured Tenancy.

An AST is one that is created on or after 15 January 1989 for a private rented property. It is used where the landlord does not live at the property and the property is the tenant’s main accommodation. A tenancy will not be an AST if the landlord is a council, it is a business tenancy, or it began before 15 January 1989. A tenancy where the rent is either less than £250 (£1,000 in London) a year or more than £100,000 a year will also not be an AST.

Effect of a section 21 notice?

This is the landlord requesting possession of the property. It allows a tenant to be evicted from the property without the landlord having to give a reason for doing so.

What is the Section 21 notice procedure?

A landlord must give his or her tenants two months within which to leave after the section 21 notice has been served. If the tenant does not leave after the two months have expired then the landlord can apply to the local court for a possession order to remove the tenant. In order for a possession order to be successful, the tenancy must have run for at least six months, the initial term of the contract must have ended and the deposit that was paid over at the start of the contract must have been correctly protected through a government backed deposit protection schemes. The section 21 notice must also have been provided in the correct form.

What is the correct form for a section 21 notice?

A Section 21 Notice must give two full months notice and be in writing. When the notice is being served either in person (by an agent or landlord), or by dropping it through the letterbox, a landlord will need to prove that service took place or a tenant could query having received the notice. The letter can also be served by post, although without a receipt of postage it is often difficult for landlords to prove when it was served. The service date must be calculated in accordance with the tenancy agreement and payment of rent and needs to be considered on a case by case basis.

The importance of service?

A landlord serving a section 21 notice will need to be able to prove a tenant received the notice on a certain date, as this affects the date after which possession can be gained (which must be at least two months after the date of service). In the case of a section 21 notice for a fixed term tenancy, the two months’ notice period must not expire before the end of the fixed term, although the notice can be served within it.

How long does the process take?

This procedure can take weeks or months for tenants to be removed, particularly if there are mistakes in the documentation or the time periods. Once the notice has been served and the two months expired, the landlord will then need to go to court to obtain a possession order. If a tenant does not leave the property within the time period stated in the possession order (usually 14-28 days) then a landlord can apply to the court to use bailiffs to evict the tenant.

If you are a tenant and have received a section 21 notice from your landlord and you need some more information on the process or implications of the notice then feel free to contact one of our housing law team.