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Common problems if you rent from a private landlord

Renting a place from a private landlord is not always straightforward. It might be the first time you have had your own place and there are always lots of things to think about.

Fraudulent or scam arrangements

When looking to rent a private rented property, it’s important to protect yourself against possible scams, such as ‘fake’ listings or landlords persuading you to transfer money across for properties that do not exist.

Always take steps to stay safe. Get another person to go with you to view any property, let someone else know where you are going and never hand over any money until you have viewed the property.

Print off and take with you to any viewing our ‘Staying safe renting a private property : 10 Top Tips‘.

Unregistered landlord?

If you rent from a private landlord in Wales, the chances are the landlord (and letting agent if there is one) should be registered and have a licence.

Registration and licensing helps keep an eye on private landlords and agents and makes sure that they are suitable people to let out properties. The registration scheme in Wales is run by Rent Smart Wales and you can go on their website to check if your landlord is registered and licensed. If they are not complying they can face penalties, including fines.

If you are worried about the conduct of a landlord or letting agent who is licensed, you can report them to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate whether they are still suitable to have a licence.

For more information on landlord registration and licensing, see here.

Being charged a banned letting fee

When you start a new tenancy, or even during the tenancy, the landlord or letting agent may try and charge you a letting fee (or ‘admin fee’). For example, to prepare the tenancy agreement, arrange a viewing or to inspect the property.

Most letting fees in Wales are now banned and it is an offence for a landlord or agent to try and charge them. Always get advice before paying anything over.

For more advice on which fees are banned, click here.

Landlord harassment

If your landlord’s snooping around, threatens you, or comes round unannounced, they may be guilty of harassment. If a landlord is trying to force you to leave by doing things like this, they could be trying to illegally evict you and it’s probably a criminal offence.

Take a look at these practical steps you can take to try to stop the harassment. You could also contact the local council who might have a tenancy relations officer who would be able to help you by negotiating with your landlord. Take a look at our page on Getting help from the council and click here to find contact details for your local council.

If you are worried about the actions of your landlord get advice as soon as you can.

Home unsafe or needs repairs?

If you’re worried about repairs or safety in your home, don’t take risks. Find out what your landlord’s responsibilities are, and make sure they are met.

Take a look at our pages on Repairs and bad conditions. You can also download and print:

Haggling over a deposit?

Government-backed deposit protection schemes should make problems getting your deposit back a thing of the past, as you and your landlord will have to agree on how much you get back.

Get advice on getting your deposit back, and don’t get ripped off. To read more about tenancy deposits, click here.

Threatened with eviction?

Private landlords usually have to follow special legal procedures to evict tenants, including serving you with notice and getting a possession order granted in the county court. Our pages on Eviction by a private landlord explains the procedures in more detail.

If you’re facing eviction and have nowhere to go, contact a local advice centre as soon as you can.  An adviser can check if your landlord is using the right procedure to regain possession of the property and might be able to negotiate with your landlord. Where necessary, they might be able to help you in court to defend the case or perhaps get you some more time.

Even if your landlord has done things properly and the bailiffs are on the way, it’s sometimes possible to stop or delay eviction, so don’t bury your head in the sand – get advice.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: October 15, 2019

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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