Frequently Asked Questions

My landlord has been threatening court action unless I pay off my rent arrears within the next few weeks. If he starts court proceedings will I be evicted?

This will depend on the type of your tenancy agreement and the amount of rent arrears. Most council tenants are secure tenants. Under this type of tenancy, it is unlikely that the Court will make an outright possession order if there are compelling circumstances, which led to the rent arrears, for example housing benefit problems. You may even be able to claim backdated housing benefit and it may be possible to seek a postponed possession order, which means you will not have to leave your home providing you pay a specified amount as ordered by the court.

I rent from a private landlord and I came home to find he was in my flat. He said he was getting some work done and needed access to the flat but I don’t like the idea of him being able to let himself into my home. Is he allowed to do this?

Your landlord should have asked your permission before letting himself into your flat. Landlords are allowed to enter rented property to check its condition or carry out repairs but they are required by law to give you at least 24-hours written notice. You can object to the specific proposed visit if there is a good reason, although you will be in breach of contract if you refuse to allow the landlord access to the property at all. If this wasn’t just a one off then it may count as harassment, which is a criminal offence. If you would like to discuss your concerns then you should contact one of our experienced housing lawyers who can advise you on the best course of action.

Since my divorce a year ago I’ve been living in a bedsit. There is damp everywhere and the ceiling has started to fall down. I’ve complained so many times but nothing is ever done about it. Is there anything else I can do?

All landlords, including local authorities, housing associations and private landlords, have a legal duty to maintain their property in an adequate state of repair. They must also ensure that any defects in the property don’t pose a threat to the safety of tenants. If the property’s condition is unacceptable then we can help advise you on the best course of action. This might include applying for a court order requiring the council or landlord to put things right. The court can also award you compensation where repairs have been delayed for no good reason and impose fines on landlords who don’t maintain their property in good condition.

I have applied for council housing but think that I’ve been treated unfairly. Do I just have to accept the decision or can I challenge it?

If you are unhappy with the decision that’s been made about your case then you may be able to challenge it. Initially, you can complain to your council or housing association. If this is unsatisfactory then in some cases it may be appropriate for you to apply for a judicial review of the decision. A judicial review can’t impose a new decision on the council but it can overturn the decision that has already been made and require that your case is looked at again.

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