Landlord and tenant disputes

Julian cole portrait.

Julian Cole

Senior Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411


When someone rents a house or a flat, it is the beginning of a commercial relationship.

The fact that the property becomes the tenant’s home shouldn’t divert attention from the reality of the situation: the landlord and the tenant will each have certain legitimate expectations and formal responsibilities. And failing to meet those could see a mutually beneficial arrangement collapse – sometimes in spectacular fashion.

The ideal scenario is for a great relationship to be built between the two parties. Getting off on the right footing is key to that, and there’s no substitute for clearly setting out the terms of the arrangement from the very beginning. There should be a well-drafted tenancy agreement in place that contains all the important details, including: when the tenancy starts and when it is due to end; the rent that’s payable, when and how; and who is responsible for what during the tenancy. Setting out these types of details should stand the arrangement in good stead.

However, there is always the potential for things to go wrong. The most common issues we see are around one party not meeting their obligations. A tenant may complain that their landlord hasn’t fixed faulty appliances or hasn’t properly maintained a structural aspect of the property. A landlord may get into a dispute with a tenant over late payment of rent, property damage, noise issues, sub-letting.

While having a good written agreement in place should be the starting point when any type of issue arises (check to see if what’s happened is covered in the paperwork), it’s wise to get early legal advice on how best to resolve things. In many situations, a calm conversation between the landlord and tenant will do the trick. However, more formal action – and even the involvement of a specialist property lawyer – could be needed where there has been a history of non-compliance, or where the issue is particularly serious.

Firm and fair is the best approach, and sometimes this means giving the other party some slack where the circumstances call for that. But it doesn’t mean putting up with a detrimental situation indefinitely. Each party is entitled to enforce the agreement in their favour when the time is right. Good legal advice will help you decide if and when that step is necessary, and will direct you towards alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration if need be.

To speak to us about any landlord and tenant issue, please contact Julian Cole on 01264 353411 or email

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