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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 Avoid Troublesome Customers Booking your Airbnb

An Airbnb host always wants their potential guests to be polite, kind and respectful of their housing. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ensure that when you open the door to a stranger. 

However, you can screen guests before agreeing to let them stay and increase your chances of having a positive experience.  

When trying to spot a troublemaker, keep the following information in mind. 

Check Out Their Profile 

Take the time to check the potential guest’s profile and ask yourself:  

  • Did they take the time to enter their full information?  
  • Does it contain their full name?  
  • Is their photo clear?  
  • Did they confirm their email and phone number?  
  • Is their profile well created and presented?  
  • Did they link their profile to their social media accounts? 

These details are crucial as they give you a starting impression of the potential customer and whether they would get into any fraudulent activities or cause damage to your property.  

If they have a clear photo and their full name in their profile then these details can be checked against their ID which you can set as a reservation requirement. 

Guests who spend time creating their profiles with verified information are less likely to be deceptive or cause trouble, which can be a clearer indication of their character.  

It’s even better if they’ve linked social media accounts to their Airbnb profile so you can investigate them further. 

Look Up Their Reviews from Other Hosts 

Reviews from other hosts are a good way to know what type of guest you can expect. Consider walking away if they have negative reviews. 

It’s the same without reviews, but they can also be new to Airbnb, where it gets difficult to know. If you don’t know, you could contact the potential guest. 

If they have any negative reviews, you could always contact them and ask them to clarify what happened in that particular situation. This would help you in deciding whether to accept their booking or not. 

Overall, a guest who follows house rules and has good reviews would be delighted and willing to answer your questions and provide you with information. 

Do They Have Any References?

Guests and hosts can collect testimonials from their family, friends and colleagues to enhance their profiles, just as you would when applying for a job. 

Guests who take the time to collect references are most likely to be genuine, so you can read them and get peace of mind. 

However, it’s imperative to keep in mind that a lack of references doesn’t necessarily mean trouble!   

They Have Good Communication 

Genuine guests are more likely able to communicate well and provide information and answer any questions that you have.  

If the guest is unwilling or refuses to provide information, gives conflicting answers, or asks unusual questions, then your best bet is to walk away or cancel their reservation. 

Be Aware of Potential Red Flags 

There are certain things that trustworthy customers do not generally do.  

One good example of a red flag is that some customers may want to communicate or pay from outside of the Airbnb interface or payment system.  

Staying within the Airbnb interface and their terms and conditions will cover you for certain things. 

If you then decided to communicate or accept payment using other methods, then you will have to bear the responsibility on your own and you will not be protected by Airbnb.  

Furthermore, guests who have nothing to conceal, have no problem staying within the Airbnb portal, so you should be suspicious if they push you to do anything else. 

Another red flag is the number of guests that will occupy your property. If your property is a two-bedroom house, then it wouldn’t make sense for a customer to book for 10 guests as that means they’re probably going to throw a party. 

You should always be cautious of high guest bookings especially when they don’t make sense for a property of your size. 

Final Views 

No matter what you do, you can never guarantee whether a customer will cause any problems or not.  

You can either face the risks of letting complete strangers into your home or you can put in the work to screen them so you can ensure that your guests are trustworthy and well-intentioned.  

Be on the lookout for any of the risk factors we covered above. If there’s a red flag such as an abnormally high number of guests or someone refusing to tell you their intentions with your property, don’t take any chances.  

Finally, you should trust your instincts. If you feel that something is off or problematic, simply decline the reservation as there will always be other guests. 

You can also speak to one of our advisors today here at Keey, to help your Airbnb business flourish. 

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