Sometimes, landlords fail to serve their tenants as they should. They might neglect necessary repair works, intrude on tenant privacy by entering without permission, or fail to provide a safe and secure living environment. In such circumstances, you may want to complain. If so, don’t be scared – you have every right to a good, safe home and the law is often in your favour.
Here are the steps you should follow in order to complain about your landlord.
Speak to you landlord
The first thing to do is speak directly to your landlord. You should do this first on the phone or in-person, and then follow up that conversation with an email which outlines everything discussed and agreed.
While you may be feeling angry or frustrated, it’s important to speak calmly and politely to your landlord as to avoid the situation becoming any more acrimonious than it already is. Being rude or aggressive will not help your situation, so it’s a case of taking a deep breath and counting to ten.
Be sure to write down everything you want to say to your landlord, a list of everything you think is unacceptable with your home. This way, you won’t forget to mention anything important in the heat of the moment.
If you would like some guidance ahead of this conversation, you rcan contact your local Citizens Advice and they will advise you how to proceed.
Formal written complaint
If your conversation doesn’t resolve the problem, it’s time to state your complaint formally in writing. While your previous email was informal and simply stated those things you discussed in-person, this second email is more formal and should clearly, and in great detail, explain your situation, including what you think is wrong and why you think this goes against your rights as a tenant. Be sure to include any relevant dates and times.
If your issue is with a lack of repairs, take pictures and attach them to the email. If you think your health is being negatively affected by your home, get a note from your doctor and attach it. If you have had to spend any of your own money as a result of your landlord’s inactivity, attach the receipts.
If you would like to send this as a letter instead of an email, you will find your landlord’s address on your tenancy agreement.
Contact the Council
If your formal complaint fails to result in an acceptable resolution, it’s time to contact your local council. Be aware, your local council can only help you with a limited number of issues. These are:
- Failure to conduct repairs that cause a risk to your health and safety (e.g mould or faulty electrics)
- Illegal eviction
- Harassment – including the landlord entering your home without prior warning and permission
- Dishonest or unfair trading behaviour.
Your council should be contacted in writing, either a letter or an email, and a copy should be sent to your landlord. This letter should clearly state the steps you have already taken to try and resolve the problem.
If your issue is still not resolved, your final step is to take your landlord to court. Doing so is very expensive and can be a long, drawn-out affair, and the courts will only hear cases based on a limited number of complaints, such illegal eviction, discrimination, and deposit disputes.
If you want to go to court, you need to seek the advice of a legal professional, someone far more qualified to help you than us here at Moving Home Advice. We’re good, but we’re not that good!
You can either seek out a legal representative for yourself, or contact Citizens Advice and they will help you find one. They will also be able to advise you on whether you might be entitled to help with the legal costs of taking your landlord to court.
Have you successfully complained about your landlord? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments section below.