With the economic climate making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for prospective purchasers to buy property of their own it is no wonder that the rentalmarket is growing week by week. Recent statistics show that for every one rental property available there are a least five tenants who want it!
With so many of us now renting there is a greater need than ever for tenants to be protected against rogue landlords who fail in their duty to provide an adequate standard of housing in return for the rent they receive.
2015 looks set to be a year of change for letting agencies which will benefit tenants providing them with greater protection than previous years. Since October 2015 all letting agents are legally obliged to sign up to a Redress Scheme. Should lettings agents consider themselves above the law they can expect a civil fine of up to £5,000 for failure to sign up to the Scheme.
The Redress Scheme simply allows tenants to go through its ombudsman with any complaints they have been unable to sort out directly with the letting agent. The Scheme has the power to order compensation amongst other things and should raise the standards of service provided by agencies resulting in a more secure position for tenants.
So this leaves the private landlord sector – how can tenants be protected from rogue landlords here? Landlords are required to have insurance which is there to protect not only them by the tenant also. So, if you have a valid claim against your landlord, following the initial letter of claim being sent to them, matters will then be dealt with by their insurance company and the landlord will know very little about what happens next. This method of dealing with a claim can also be used for letting agency rentals without the need to use the Redress Scheme should you prefer a specialist lawyer to deal with the matter on your behalf
There are many ways which landlords can be negligent in their duty to a tenant and all too commonly here at Russell Worth Solicitors we find lack of maintenance of property to be a big problem. Ripped carpets, faulty/no bannisters, faulty electrics/boilers, the list goes on. If you have had an accident resulting in injury through no fault of your own in a rented property you may be entitled to compensation including additional compensation for any loss of earnings or out of pocket expenses you have incurred as a result.
Not everyone however feels comfortable claiming against the person who ultimately owns the roof over their head! It is worth bearing in mind that making a claim is not personal against the landlord himself and it is something thousands of people do every year. Plus, as mentioned above, the majority of landlords have insurance in place for just such an event. If you have suffered injury or financial loss, your compensation is designed to put you back in the position you would have been in had the accident not taken place. So, really you are not actually claiming for anything over and above that which you are rightly and legally entitled to. If you are concerned about being evicted if you make a claim it is worth looking at the terms of your tenancy as you may well be protected in any event. Of course, at the end of the day, it is you who needs to sleep at night, safe in the knowledge your home is secure. So, finally, bear in mind that you have three years from the date of an accident to make a claim so if you plan on moving on to alternative accommodation within three years of your accident you can always wait until such a time to make a claim.