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    Can you challenge rent rises? And more renter's rights, from repairs, damp to pets & disputes…

    enJune 10, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Rent increase challenges in England and ScotlandRenters in England and Scotland face lengthy, risky, and uncertain processes when challenging excessive rent increases, with potential eviction before completion and possible further rent increases through tribunal in England, and annual rent reviews in Scotland which can be complicated and intimidating

      While renters in England and Scotland have some recourse against excessive rent increases, the process can be lengthy, risky, and uncertain. In England, renters can challenge rent hikes through a tribunal, but the system is not effective due to the possibility of eviction before the process is completed and the risk of the tribunal increasing the rent further. In Scotland, no-fault evictions are banned, but landlords can still raise rents once a year, and tenants must go through a rent review process which, while offering some protection, can be complicated and intimidating. Overall, renters in both countries face significant challenges when dealing with rent increases, and there is ongoing debate about the need for more robust protections.

    • Rent control lawsRent control laws can help tenants, but they don't solve all issues. Tenants should communicate with their landlords and seek help if necessary.

      While rent control laws could help tip the balance in tenants' favor, they wouldn't solve all issues. Tenants often don't exercise their rights due to fear of eviction. Landlords have significant leverage. Rent increases are inevitable due to inflation and mortgage rate hikes. Tenants should communicate with their landlords and try to negotiate reasonable rent increases. If necessary, they can seek help from renters unions, local politicians, and the media. While rent control laws could be beneficial, they are not a panacea, and open communication between tenants and landlords is crucial. Additionally, the current political climate may impact the implementation of rent control laws, so tenants should stay informed.

    • Rent Increases CommunicationEffective communication between landlords and tenants is essential to prevent disputes over rent increases. Landlords must serve proper notice, and tenants should be aware of their rights and responsibilities. In Scotland, there's a registration scheme for landlords, while London has specific licensing requirements. Clear and timely rent increase communication can prevent legal action.

      Effective communication between landlords and tenants is crucial to avoid disputes over rent increases. Landlords must serve proper notice to tenants regarding rent increases, and tenants should be aware of their rights and responsibilities. In Scotland, there is a landlord registration scheme, but more data and education are needed to ensure landlords can fulfill their duties and provide safe and adequate housing. London has specific licensing requirements for landlords, and tenants can check if their property is properly licensed. Rent increases should be communicated clearly and in a timely manner to avoid misunderstandings and potential legal action. If a tenant has not received notice of a rent increase, they may not be liable to pay the new amount until they have been properly notified. It is always best to communicate with the landlord directly and attempt to resolve any issues amicably before resorting to legal action.

    • Rent Increases and RepairsTenants should challenge rent increases within the given timeframe, or they may lose their right to do so. For repairs, tenants should report significant issues to their local council's environmental health department and wait for an improvement notice before taking further action to protect themselves from eviction.

      Effective communication between tenants and landlords is crucial when dealing with rent increases and property repairs. If a tenant receives a rent increase notice and believes it's unfair, they should not pay the higher rent and instead challenge it within the given timeframe. However, if they have already paid the increased rent, they may lose their right to challenge it later. Regarding repairs, tenants facing significant issues with their rental properties should report them to their local council's environmental health department. Once an improvement notice is issued, the tenant is protected from eviction for a certain period. However, landlords may try to evict tenants during this window to avoid making repairs and find new tenants. It's essential to note that the council's follow-through on improvement notices is tenant-dependent, and the issue may persist if the tenant is evicted and a new tenant doesn't make a complaint. Overall, renters may feel powerless when dealing with these issues, but seeking advice from organizations like Aecon and local unions can provide valuable support and guidance.

    • Renters' rights and challengesRenters face various housing challenges, need community support, and require effective legal protections. Scotland's housing bill focuses on renters' rights, but more progress is needed, especially regarding pet policies and dealing with damp issues.

      Renters often face challenges with housing, including repairs and rent increases, and they need support from their community and organizations like Citizens Advice to assert their rights. The lack of effective legal protections means that renters must put pressure on landlords to act fairly. Scotland is making progress with a housing bill that focuses on renters' rights, including rent controls and pet-friendliness. However, there is still more to be done. For instance, Claire from Suffolk asked about the law regarding pets in rentals, and while the renter's reform bill is more pet-friendly, landlords can still refuse reasonable requests. Atmoggycat, a listener, wanted to know about council freeholders and leaseholders' rights when dealing with damp issues. In such cases, tenants have additional rights under leaseholder and freeholder legislation. Overall, understanding the complexities of housing laws and seeking advice from experts can help renters navigate their challenges and secure a safe, affordable, and secure home.

    • Property maintenance and feesLandlords are responsible for structural repairs, tenants for behavior changes. Holding deposits should not exceed one week's rent, and letting agents cannot charge prohibited fees. Tenants can report illegal practices and improve credit score by paying rent on time and using rent reporting services.

      Tenants and landlords should be aware of their respective responsibilities regarding property maintenance and fees. The landlord is generally responsible for structural repairs, while tenants may be asked to change behaviors if they're causing damp or other issues. Regarding fees, holding deposits should not exceed one week's rent and must be refundable. Letting agents cannot charge prohibited fees, including application and referencing fees, under the Tenant Fees Act. Tenants should report any illegal practices to trading standards and local councils. As for renting records and mortgages, the system doesn't currently recognize rent payments as a means of securing a mortgage. However, tenants can improve their credit score by paying rent on time and using services like Canopy and Credit Ladder to report rent payments to credit agencies. Additionally, some mortgage options, such as those from Skipton Building Society, consider renting history as part of the application process. Despite the challenges, private renting does offer flexibility for some individuals. However, many tenants may prefer other forms of housing, such as social housing or homeownership, due to the potential benefits and security they provide. Ultimately, it's essential for tenants and landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities to navigate the private rented sector effectively.

    • Tenants' rightsTenants have rights to notice for property access, peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and cannot be denied a tenant reference without just cause. Landlords must follow proper procedures for rent increases and provide notice. In Wales, tenants have increased security of tenure.

      The housing market consists of various sectors, including private rented and social housing, and each has its place in the ecosystem. People's lifestyle choices and financial situations determine which sector suits them best. However, tenants have rights that landlords must respect, such as notice for property access and the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Regarding specific situations, tenants cannot be denied a tenant reference without just cause, and landlords must provide notice and follow proper procedures for rent increases. In Wales, tenants have increased security of tenure due to stricter no-fault eviction rules. Overall, understanding the nuances of the housing market and tenants' rights is crucial for navigating the system effectively.

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