What to Do If You Have a Dispute with Your Landlord

Disagreements with landlords can happen. The important thing is that you handle them maturely, whilst also making sure your rights are protected. Here’s how to resolve disputes with your landlord.

Know your rights and responsibilities

The first thing to do is to know what you are responsible for and what you are entitled to;  know what your landlord is responsible for and what they should expect from you, and figure out if you are in the right (or wrong). Remember: your landlord cannot cut off utilities like water or electricity or change your locks. If this happens call the police on 101 or chat to Shelter.

Always collect evidence

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When you first move into a place, take photographs of what the place looks like. This is so you can compare it to it’s current state should you have a dispute over damages. You can also take photographs to show things like damp or mould spreading if it’s not being adequately fixed by your landlord. If you talk to your landlord via email, letter or phone, keep records of this. Also hold on to any bank statements that prove payment of rent etc. Basically: keep a record to show that you acted in accordance of the rules of your tenancy agreement.

Talk to someone

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Sometimes it can be good to chat to your landlord face to face about problems or disagreements you are having. Emails, texts and the like can come across in a different way than intended sometimes! If you’re struggling with an aggressive or uncooperative landlord, then chat to Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau who can give you lots of information on your rights and let you know how you can resolve the problems you’re having.

Take it to the Tribunal

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If you find yourself in disagreement with your landlord, you may be able to refer the issue to the  First-tier Tribunal for a final decision. For example:

  • If your landlord has not given you a Private Residential Tenancy Agreement and Easy Read Notes you can refer your issue to the  First-tier Tribunal for a final decision. Before you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal, you have to give your landlord 28 days’ notice. You must use the correct form to give your landlord notice – it’s called a ‘Tenant’s notification to a landlord of a referral to the First-tier Tribunal for failure to supply in writing all tenancy terms and/or any other specified information’. You can fill this in using this tribunal tool on the Scottish Government's website, and then download it to give to your landlord. 
  • If your landlord has not kept the property in good repair, you can make an application to the Tribunal, but you must give the landlord a fair chance to fix the problem first.

Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs page