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Top 8 Reasons Your Tenant Can Legitimately Sue You

It’s easy to forget that lease agreements not only protect landlords and their properties but the tenants living in the rental too. It’s essential to know that those written lease agreements are legally binding. They protect not only the rights of landlords but also those of tenants. 

Landlords and tenants do not typically enter into their relationship looking for conflict. Sometimes, however, problems develop that cannot be easily fixed by a phone call or email. In these situations, a tenant may consider suing their landlord to resolve the issues in court. 

To help you prevent this from occurring, we have compiled a list of reasons that your tenant can legitimately sue you so that you can avoid them.  

Read Now: 8 Tips on How to Have a Healthy Tenant-Landlord Relationship 

Reasons Your Tenant Can Legitimately Sue You 

  1. Illegally Keeping Your Security Deposit 

As a landlord, you cannot… 

  • Take deductions for normal wear and tear on the property 
  • Hold onto your security deposit after your rental agreement is over 
  • Fail to return security deposits and claim falsely that the tenant violated the terms of your lease.  

If you do these things, your tenant may have grounds to sue you.  

Read Now: 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Landlord 

  1. The Property is Uninhabitable 

If your tenants can’t live in your rental because it’s dangerous or poses a health risk, it may be considered uninhabitable. 

For example, suppose your rental has mould due to water damage, a rat infestation, or even storm damage that has wrecked the property. In that case, you will need to resolve the issue immediately. 

If your property is declared uninhabitable and you refuse to make repairs, your tenants might sue you.  

  1. Wrongful Eviction Proceedings 

Your tenant has the right to challenge the eviction notice. Landlords must also remember that tenants are protected by the Eviction Act 1977  which ensures the correct processes and notice periods are adhered to.  

If you’re looking to notify your tenant that you’d like them to leave your property, you must serve Section 21 or Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988. 

Section 21 notice of possession  

This gives ‘notice of possession’ to the tenant. You can take back control of your property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement or trigger an agreed break clause.  

Importantly, you don’t have to provide any reason to claim possession when you serve a valid Section 21 notice. 

Section 8 eviction notice  

This is served when you have grounds for eviction.  For example, the tenant has not paid the rent, damaged the property or is causing a nuisance.  

You can terminate the tenancy during its fixed term if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. But your tenant may dispute it, and it could go to court, where you’ll need to evidence the reason for the eviction. 

  1. Housing Discrimination 

It is illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on race, gender, disability, sexuality or religion. 

This means that the following acts are prohibited: 

  • Renting a property to certain tenants on worse terms than other tenants. 
  • Treating certain tenants differently when setting policies regarding facilities. 
  • Evicting or harassing certain tenants because of their race, gender, disability, sexuality or religion. 
  • Refusing to incorporate reasonable demands in a tenancy agreement which are necessary for a disabled person to live at the property. For example, problems could occur if a landlord held a ‘no pets’ policy and did not offer to alter it for a blind tenant with a guide dog. 
  1. Not Disclosing Lead Paint or Mould Issues 

Landlords are required by law to disclose any known mould or previous or existing lead hazards at their properties. Because these issues can cause long-term health problems, it is illegal for landlords to hide them from tenants.  

If your tenants find out you failed to disclose this type of information, they can rightfully sue you. 

Read Now: How to Better Your Communication with Airbnb Guests 

  1. Failing to Reimburse a Tenant for a Repair 

Sometimes tenants will perform repairs in a rental property because a landlord refuses to do so in a reasonable amount of time. When this happens, you must reimburse your tenants for the money spent on the repair.  

This is especially true if the repair was affecting the health and safety of your tenants and needed immediate attention. 

If you don’t pay your tenants for necessary repairs they perform on your behalf, they can sue you to recover the money spent plus damages. 

  1. Entering a Tenants Property Illegally 

Landlords usually have to provide reasonable notice to enter a tenant’s rental property, and they can only do so for legally allowed reasons. 

If a landlord violates these laws, the tenant can go to court to stop the landlord from entering and could be awarded damages.  

Read Now: Important Renting Rules for Landlords and Tenants to Follow 

  1. Injury at Rental Property 

As a tenant, you could have a case for a lawsuit against your landlord if you are injured at the rental property due to a landlord’s neglect. For example, you slip and fall because there is no lawfully required bannister in the stairwell. 

You cannot sue the landlord if your injury is due to your own neglect. For example, your apartment is so dirty that you slip and fall in your apartment on a pile of your own dirty clothing. 

In Conclusion 

Don’t worry about facing your tenants in court – avoid the above situations and save yourself time and stress. There are laws set up to protect both landlords and tenants. While you might not be able to control whether your tenants follow the rules, you can make sure that you do.  

At Keey we have a range of management options as well as advice that will help your rental properties flourish. Get in touch with one of our experts today!    

How to Have a Healthy Tenant-Landlord Relationship

Understanding how to deal with people is an important skill. As a landlord, you have a duty to support your tenant and cater to their needs. You should be mindful and attentive to their wellbeing and make sure that you are doing what you can to nurture the relationship correctly from the start. 

The relationship between landlord and tenant can vary from person to person. In some cases, the relationships may form effortlessly, while in others, the two sides just can’t seem to find common ground and might eventually have to move on. It takes considerable effort from both parties to create and maintain a good relationship. 

For the landlord, there are some things that you can do to help build and maintain a healthy and respectful relationship with your tenant.  

Below are some tips that you can take as a landlord to forge such relationships, and reasons why those steps are so necessary.   

How to Have a Healthy Tenant-Landlord Relationship 

  1. Be Accessible 

Ensure that you provide your tenant with a clear and direct line of communication with you in case they have any concerns about the property, or need to get in touch with you for any other reason.  

If your property is managed by an agent, you may still want to consider giving the tenants your contact details in case of an emergency. 

Doing this will demonstrate to your tenant that you genuinely care and will give them a sense of trust and confidence in you as their landlord. 

Read Now: Managing Your Airbnb: How to Create a Welcoming Space 

  1. Communicate  

It’s beneficial to take steps to maintain a communicative relationship with your tenant. Be approachable and available. This will help them feel comfortable discussing their concerns with you.  

Communicating these concerns will help build trust and loyalty between you and your tenant. Having a communicative relationship can help to resolve disputes easier, and can often help to avoid them altogether. 

Show your tenants that you are taking any issues they raise seriously by being open, displaying active listening skills, and asking questions. 

Read Now: How to Better Your Communication with Airbnb Guests 

  1. Be Understanding 

As a landlord, it is important for you to be understanding of your tenants’ needs. Although there may be times where you’re faced with difficult situations with your tenant and property, it is important for you to keep a level head and consider what is also best for the tenant. 

While you need to carry out your duties as a landlord, and you rely on that income from your property, some situations require a more delicate approach… 

For example, notifying your tenant about sensitive issues such as rent increases, rent arrears, or property inspections. 

Avoid being too confrontational or demanding. Situations like these may require a level of empathy, particularly with good tenants who are usually dependable. 

  1. Be Reliable 

As a landlord, one of your main responsibilities is to be reliable. Your property is not just an asset, but also someone’s home. Therefore, the job of landlord involves carrying out your responsibilities as best you can. 

As a landlord you should: 

  • Be attentive 
  • Take your tenants’ concerns seriously 
  • Make an effort to resolve issues as soon as possible. 

Always try to deal with problems within a reasonable time frame. For more lengthy, complex issues, such as severe repairs, you may need to explain to your tenant that the issue is being resolved and that it may take a while. You should also offer to keep them updated on any developments.  

  1. Use Multiple Channels of Communication 

Use multiple channels for communicating important information. Too often, landlords rely solely on one channel of communication such as an email or written notices to inform their tenants of important events, conditions or deadlines. These can be easily missed, leading to unpleasant surprises for both parties. 

Taking the time to call or visit in person, in addition to providing written notice helps build a better relationship with your tenant.  

  1. Respect Their Relationship with the Property 

Remember, it may be your property, but it is also your tenant’s home. That is an emotional relationship and as a landlord you should not forget that. 

You have to be mindful and respectful that this is the tenant’s place of belonging. Always ask permission and give notice when you need to enter the property.  

Read Now: Important Renting Rules for Landlords and Tenants to Follow 

  1. Update and Maintain the Property 

As a landlord you’re generally responsible for the upkeep of: 

  • The structure and exterior of your home – the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors 
  • Basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework 
  • Water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters. 

As well as this, you have to ensure that your property is fit for human habitation.  

Your home might be unfit for human habitation if for example: 

  • There’s a serious problem with damp or mould 
  • It gets too hot or cold and can’t be regulated 
  • There are too many people living in it 
  • It’s infested with pests like rats or cockroaches 
  • It doesn’t have a safe water supply. 

Read Now: 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Landlord 

  1. And… Remember that Your Tenants Are People Too 

At the end of the day your tenants are people just like you. Treating them with a bit of kindness and understanding goes a long way.  

If you view your tenants through that human lens, you’ll form strong, reliable relationships that benefit both your tenants and your bottom line.  

At Keey we have a range of management options as well as advice that will help your rental properties flourish. Get in touch with one of our experts today!    

How to Prevent Guests Throwing Parties in Your Airbnb

In 2020, Airbnb banned all house parties from being thrown in any listings. COVID-19 restrictions meant that more and more guests turned to Airbnb. In the past, some Airbnb properties have allowed guests to throw parties. However, there was a rise in guests violating hosts rules as well as lockdown restrictions. With some guests even throwing huge parties and leaving hosts to pay for the damage. So, Airbnb has resorted to strict rules that prohibit all parties in Airbnb listings. 

As a host, you may always have concerns about your guests and how they treat your property. It’s highly essential to vet guests before arrival and ensure they will treat your property with respect. Below we will share some tips that will help you prevent guests from breaking Airbnb rules and damaging your property.

What is the Airbnb Party and Events Policy?

Unauthorized parties, where the host is unaware, have always been prohibited. But, from the 20th of August 2020, Airbnb put a stop to all large gatherings. They also put in place a cap of 16 guests per stay. There is no certainty as to when the ban will end.   

Breaking the rules can lead to serious consequences for both hosts and guests. Guests who throw parties while staying at an Airbnb can face removal or suspension from the platform. If Airbnb finds the host to be complicit, their listing can be removed. If a listing is repeatedly disturbing the surrounding community, then the Airbnb host will be asked to update the rules or suspend the listing.  

So, to clarify, Airbnb now prohibits the following until further notice:  

  • Gatherings of more than 16 people  
  • All disruptive parties and events  

How can I prevent guests from throwing parties in my listing?

Don’t accept one-night bookings

Why not try some preventative measures to deter guests looking to use your property for parties? You can list your Airbnb property with a minimum stay of two nights or more. Most guests who want to throw a party will book an Airbnb for one night.  

A further benefit of listing your Airbnb for longer stays is reduced maintenance costs such as cleaning. Whilst some guests may have good intentions, one-night bookings can be a bad sign.

Check Reviews

Reviews are a vital aspect of Airbnb for hosts as well as guests. After the completion of a guest’s stay, all parties are allowed to leave a review. Reviews help potential guests to find out more about a property and hosts to see if guests are reliable and trustworthy.  

You should look out for warning signs in guest reviews and reconsider hosting guests with any bad reviews. As part of Airbnb’s crackdown on parties, some locations have banned people under the age of 25 with less than 3 positive reviews from booking an Airbnb within their local areas.

Have a clear policy

It’s also worthwhile to make use of your description area. Let potential guests know that you have a no party policy. Ensure guests that you are a responsible host by maintaining a high standard for your property and reflecting this in your listing. This is a great way to deter guests looking to break the rules.  

Remind your guests of Airbnb policy, the company has made it very clear that parties are no longer allowed. Some guests may even notice that there is no longer an “event-friendly” search filter. All of this also serves as a form of insurance. In the unfortunate event that your guests throw a party, they have been warned several times. 

Just ask

If you are concerned that your guests are planning to throw a party, the best thing to do is to be direct and simply ask. As the host, you have the right to ask and cancel their stay if you are unsatisfied with their answer. It can be very difficult to tell if a guest may be planning to throw a party but you can take this as an opportunity to use your judgment and make a rational decision.  

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you can’t tell how your guests will treat your listing but, you can trust that most people will be looking for a property to enjoy responsibly. Vet your guests in advance and ensure they are aware of your listings policy. Remember to read Airbnb’s Party and Events policy and stay up to date on any changes that may affect you. 

For more information about property management and preventing parties in your listing, contact Keey today. 

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