Often, unscrupulous landlords pick on the most vulnerable in society to make lots of easy money. They can only get away with this because a lot of tenants do not know their rights, or do not know who to turn to.
If you are not satisfied with the condition of the home you are living it, you can do something about it. This information has been prepared to give you some information about your rights and who you can turn to, and to dispel some of the common myths people hold.
Bad landlords get away with it because their tenants make it easy for them. If you are experiencing problems with your landlord, there are lots of places you can go to get help.
Landlords should always provide a written tenancy agreement, but some may refuse to provide you with one. The reason is that if problems later occur, they might claim that as you do not have a tenancy agreement you have no rights. But, if you are living in a property and paying rent then you are more likely to have a tenancy and do have legal rights.
If you don’t have a written tenancy agreement then it is important for you to show that you can prove you have paid your rent and to whom. If you pay by cash you can ask for receipts from your landlord, but it is probably easier to pay your rent by cheque so your bank statement will show the rent has been paid to your landlord.
If The Property Needs Repairs
Landlords must ensure that properties are fit for people to live in. If you complain to your landlord and they do nothing then you can contact the Private Sector Housing Department at your local council.
The council has the power to force landlords to carry out repairs and to prosecute landlords if they don’t. How much they can help will depend on the type of tenancy you have, but they are always willing to come and assess your property and they will do what they can.
Your landlord must give you at least two months’ notice before they evict you, and even after the two months’ notice are not entitled to take possession without a court order. However, in some cases two weeks’ notice can be sufficient.
If you find you cannot get back into your home, in the first instance contact Peterborough Housing Options if you live in Peterborough or South Kesteven District Council if you live in Stamford. They will contact your landlord and can provide overnight shelter.
The police have the power to allow you to return to the property.
A solicitor may be able to obtain an injunction to get you back in and compensation.
Leaving A Property
If you leave a property you must give your landlord at least one month’s notice. You should not rely upon other tenants in the property to tell the landlord.
If you do not give notice than the landlord might chase you for a month’s rent, and if you are being chased for rent arrears you will not qualify for council housing.
Not everybody is entitled to Council Housing.
To qualify for council housing you must be eligible for assistance. You will be eligible if you are:
- Working (which includes part-time)
- Not working, but have previously worked for a continuous period of 12 months.
- A UK National
If you are eligible for assistance, you can approach the council and go on the housing register. If you are evicted, they will also provide assistance and usually temporary accommodation. If you have children and become homeless you may be entitled to permanent accommodation.