Claims by Tenants
Claims by Tenants
The most common claims by tenants we are asked to deal with are:-
- Tenancy deposit claims
- Unlawful eviction
- Wrongful interference with goods
- Retaliatory evictions
- Defend the claim
Tenancy deposit claims
Where a landlord of an assured shorthold tenant accepts a deposit from a tenant, they must, within 30 days of receipt, protect it with a tenancy deposit scheme and provide the tenant with the prescribed information.
Where the landlord fails to do either of these, the tenant can make a claim for the return of the deposit plus up to 3 times the value of the deposit. Also, the landlord cannot serve a Notice Requiring Possession until the deposit has been returned to the tenant.
We can advise you on your expose to a claim and assist you to resolve the problem.
As a landlord, you have obligations, amongst other things, to keep the property in repair and the installation for heating and providing water in proper working order. You must also make sure your property is safe for your tenants and their visitors.
Where a landlord, having been notified by the tenant that something needs fixing at the property, does not carry out a repair, they could be liable to the tenant for compensation. Compensation is usually assessed based on a number of factors but the starting point is often the amount of rent charged.
Compensation claims can often run into thousands. Particularly if the landlord has been aware of a problem for a number of years but has done nothing about it.
If you receive notification from your tenant that they are claiming against you for disrepair or the tenant raises it as a counter claim to your claim for possession, we can advise and guide you towards a resolution whether that be a settlement of the claim or a full defence.
Almost all occupiers, with few exceptions, have rights not to be evicted without notice and/or a court order. Failure to follow the correct process, could result in a landlord facing prosecution and/or a substantial compensation claim for unlawful eviction.
The overwhelming majority of landlords are law abiding and want to do things properly but sometimes they can find themselves in a situation where, for example, a tenant appears to have abandoned the property but it is not fully clear that they have surrendered the tenancy either because they have not provided notice or, maybe, have left all their possessions at the property. Perhaps they have left a “friend” in occupation. These are the sort of situations where we can advise on whether, in law, the tenant has surrender the tenancy giving the landlord a defence to any claim or prosecution for unlawful eviction or whether a claim for possession in necessary.
Wrongful interference with goods
A tenant who has vacated a property, particularly in a hurry, will sometimes leave items behind. The landlord becomes, in law, the voluntary bailee of these items and needs to make sure they are safe. If a landlord disposes of those items, they could expose themselves to a claim for wrongful interference with goods.
We can advise landlords on the process to follow where a tenant has left items behind on vacating a property.
For tenancies created after 1 October 2015 (and all tenancies from xxxx October 2018), if the tenant has raised a complaint with you about the state of your property and you have not responded and the council serve a notice on you, you cannot serve a Notice Requiring Possession.
Defend the claim
Tenants occasionally defend possession claims. Sometimes, their “defence” does not amount to a defence in law. For example, complaints about the state of the property in an accelerated claim.
Occasionally, a defence might have legal merit. For example, a complaint that a notice served is not valid because insufficient notice was given or it was not received. In these cases, we will advise you on the merits of the defence and give you pragmatic, risk based advice based on our extensive experience.
Where you have brought a claim against a tenant and they have defended it, we can provide pragmatic and timely advice about your case. Where you have the grounds to fight a case, we will robustly fight it for you.
What clients say
I regularly recommend Tozers to colleagues both in and out of the sector I work in.
Carole Spencer, Head of HR Westward