Having problems with your landlord
What do I need to know?
Renting your own place can be exciting but things don’t always run smoothly. If problems happen make sure you speak to someone you trust and get advice if you need to.
Most landlords do stick to the law but some might try to get around the rules. Before you start an occupation contract it is important to be prepared – research what your rights are so you know what to look out for.
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When you go to look at any potential property, always stay safe and beware of fraud or scams. Some listings might be fake, or landlords might be asking you to transfer money across for properties that do not exist.
- Get another person to go with you to any viewings
- Let someone else know where you are going
- Never hand over any money until you have viewed the property
- Avoid using cash to pay any deposit or rent in advance. Use a credit card if possible and always get a receipt.
If you rent from a private landlord in Wales, the chances are the landlord should be registered and either licensed or use a licensed letting agent. If they don’t they are breaking the law.
Registration and licensing helps keep an eye on landlords and agents and makes sure they are suitable people to let out properties.
The registration scheme in Wales is run by Rent Smart Wales (RSW) and you can check if your landlord is complying by searching for them on the RSW website.
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.
When you start a new occupation contract , or even during the contract, the landlord or letting agent may try and charge you a letting fee (or ‘admin fee’). For example to :
- prepare an occupation contract
- prepare an inventory (a list of items in the property at the beginning of the contract)
- arrange a viewing
- inspect the property.
Most letting fees like these in Wales are banned and it is against the law for a landlord or agent to try and charge them. You should not pay a fee if it is banned so always get advice before paying anything over.
Landlords are allowed to charge you if you are late paying your rent or if you have broken a term of your contract, but there are limits on the amount they can charge.
For more information on how much you can be charged, which fees are banned and what to do if you have already been charged a banned fee, click here.
If your landlord is 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.
Contact the police if your landlord:
- makes you feel unsafe in your home
- threatens you with violence or is violent.
Call 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. You can call them any time of day or night.
If you are worried about the actions of your landlord get advice as soon as you can. Read more about illegal eviction and harassment here.
If you are worried about repairs or safety in your home, don’t take risks.
Find out what your landlord’s responsibilities are, and make sure they do what they are supposed to do.
Always report a repair problem to your landlord in writing or by email. If you think there are safety hazards in your home, then contact your local council. They can come out and inspect the property and contact your landlord if needed.
For more advice on repairs see our page here.
Your landlord or letting agent should have put any deposit you paid in to a deposit protection scheme at the beginning of your occupation contract.
At the end of the contract, if you and your landlord agree on how much of the deposit you should get back, you should get it back within 10 days of agreeing. If you don’t agree then you are able to use the scheme to help you come to an agreement.
A landlord should only keep your deposit, or part of it, if they have lost out financially because of your actions, for example, if you have caused damage to the property, or you owe rent. They cannot keep your deposit to cover putting right normal wear and tear.
Get advice on getting your deposit back, and don’t get ripped off.
To read more about tenancy deposit protection schemes, click here.