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Tessa's Ten Top Tips for landlords on avoiding harassment claims

Angry man
  1. Do not ever use your keys to enter the property without the tenant's permission save in a real emergency (such as a fire).
  2. This is particularly important if you are male and the tenants are female (especially if the tenant is a female living alone).
  3. If the tenants are in arrears of rent and/or you want them to leave do not do anything to make life uncomfortable for them (such as disconnecting the services or refusing to carry out repairs)
  4. Do not visit the tenants too often, eg to collect outstanding rent, leave them to live in the property in peace
  5. Do not shout at the tenants or verbally abuse them even if they are in arrears of rent
  6. Do not interfere with the tenants use of the property, eg by demanding they do extra cleaning or forbidding them to have guests
  7. Remember that although you own the property, you have given away your rights to enter and use it by renting it out to the tenants. They now have the right to stop anyone from entering it - including you.
  8. If your tenants ever accuse you of harassment, immediately cease all visits to the property and communicate with them only by letter (or through your solicitor if appropriate), keeping copies of all correspondence, which should be signed and dated.
  9. It is also a good idea, if there is likely to be or has been an accusation of harassment, to keep a diary of all contact with the tenant (where possible detailing conversations), which should be written up as soon as possible after the events.
  10. If you receive a letter from the local authority accusing you of harassment, make sure you reply to it promptly. You should also cease any harassment behaviour they complain of - remember that if you continue to harass the tenants, the letter may be followed by a prosecution (which if sucessful will result in a criminal conviction, with a fine or possible imprisonment). If you do not consider that your behaviour was harrassment, consider taking legal advice.
Notes: 

Members can read FAQ and articles on the points covered here.

Members can use the Landlord Law diary sheets for recording events, confrontations and meetings.

 

 

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