What reasons do landlords give for harassing tenants?
Although there is never an excuse for your landlord breaking the law and harassing you or evicting you unlawfully, in some cases it may help to try and understand her/his reasons.
Sometimes your landlord may not know that there is a correct way to evict you and talking to her/him about this may encourage her/him to approach your situation in a different way.
Are you in rent arrears?
It’s important to speak to your landlord as soon as possible if you fall behind with your rent. Explain why you haven’t been able to pay and try to negotiate a way of paying back money that you owe.
Make sure that your landlord has calculated the rent arrears correctly before you agree a repayment plan.
Even if your landlord wants you to leave because of your rent arrears, s/he must still follow the correct legal procedure.
Is the landlord coming round to inspect the property too often?
Your landlord can come into your home to inspect the property for repairs only at a time that is convenient to you, and should give you reasonable notice. Reasonable notice shouldn’t be less than 24 hours unless it’s an emergency.
Your landlord should not need to come round very often to inspect the property. If they are coming more often than you would like, or letting themselves in without your permission, it could be considered harassment. You could try to negotiate with them to agree how often it is acceptable to have the property inspected.
Your landlord does not have an automatic right to have a key to your home unless your tenancy agreement says that this is the case. If you change the locks, you should keep the old keys and the original lock to return to the landlord. If you are unable to reach an agreement, or if your landlord does not keep to an agreement that you have made, get advice.
Have you been away for a while?
If you go away for a long time without informing your landlord, they may mistakenly think that you have abandoned your home and are not planning to return. You may be able to avoid a misunderstanding by ensuring you always let your landlord know when you plan to be away for any length of time and explaining that you plan to return. It is also important that you make arrangements for the rent to be paid while you are away. If your landlord has rented the property to someone else while you have been away, or won’t let you back in for another reason, you should get advice immediately.
Does your tenancy give you strong rights?
Some types of tenancies give tenants more protection from eviction and rent increases. This is particularly true for tenants who have a regulated tenancy (which may be the case if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989) and also for those with an assured tenancy. Some landlords may harass or illegally evict tenants in order to replace them with others who have a less secure type of tenancy agreement.
Landlords sometimes illegally evict a tenant with a regulated tenancy because these tenants often pay lower rents, which are controlled by the rent officer. If you think that this is the reason your landlord is harassing you, or has illegally evicted you, get advice urgently.
Is your landlord selling the property?
In some cases your landlord may be trying to sell the property and want to bring people round to view your home. Unless you agreed to it in your tenancy agreement, your landlord does not have the right to show people around your home without your permission and could be guilty of harassment if they do so.
If they want to bring people around, they should give you reasonable notice and do so at a convenient time. If you prefer not to allow this, and you have not previously agreed to in your tenancy agreement, you may refuse and your landlord will have to wait until you are evicted or get a court order allowing them access.
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 0345 075 5005.