Services

Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Landlord and tenant relationships can deteriorate if a disagreement arises and it is important to address this early on to avoid the situation escalating. Having sound legal advice will help you understand your rights and can also help resolve the issue without it dragging on.

At Thornton Jones, our experienced landlord and tenant solicitors understand how damaging tenancy disputes can be and will step in early on your behalf to try to resolve the issue.

We have excellent negotiating skills and a strong track record of success in dealing with disputes without recourse to the courts. If your case does go to court however, you can be sure of robust and expert representation.

Talk to us about landlord-tenant disputes today

For expert advice on landlord and tenant dispute resolution, please speak to our dispute resolution solicitors in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire today.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

Our expertise with dispute resolution

Our team have extensive expertise in dealing with all aspects of landlord and tenant disputes, including the following:

Rent arrears

If rent is not paid, a landlord will have the right to evict a tenant. There is a set process that must be followed, but before setting out on this course it is advisable to contact the tenant and see if an amicable agreement can be reached over payment of the arrears.

We can write a formal notice to your tenant on your behalf, setting out the amount due and asking for payment in full.

It may be possible to collect the arrears from a guarantor, if there is one. If payment is not received, then a landlord can serve a Section 8 notice advising the tenant that the landlord intends to sue them in court for the arrears.

It is important to complete the correct Section 8 form, and we can advise you on this to ensure that you have the right grounds as well as the correct version of the form.

A tenant may be able to apply for Breathing Space, which is a government respite scheme allowing some tenants 60 days in which to try to work out how to repay the money owed. During that time, no interest can be added to the debt and no enforcement action can be taken.

Dilapidations

A tenant is generally required to keep a property in a good state of repair. This could mean arranging for maintenance work to be carried out as well as cleaning and decorating. If this is not done and the property falls into disrepair, this could be classified as a breach of the lease.

Property disrepair, or dilapidations, should be rectified at the tenant’s expense. If the landlord has to arrange for work to be done, the tenant will still be liable for the cost.

Examples include the need to have carpets professionally cleaned, damage to items in the property such as light fittings or curtains, broken windows, allowing a garden to become overgrown, damage to walls, leaving rubbish at the property, blocked drains and water damage.

If you are a landlord who has had to deal with a property that has fallen into disrepair, we can represent you to ensure that the costs of rectifying this are met by the tenant.

Recovering vacant possession

As a landlord, if you have a problem tenant, you may want them to leave. The process for achieving this must be carefully followed or the tenant may be able to bring a claim for unlawful eviction. Most tenants have protection against eviction and in general, a court order is required to obtain possession.

We can ascertain on your behalf which grounds for possession you can use and make an application on your behalf to regain your property.

Lease extensions and lease enfranchisement disputes

Many tenants have the right to extend their lease or to collectively purchase the freehold to flats along with the other leaseholders.

This is a complex legal process usually involving negotiations as to price. We can explain the procedure to you and ensure that as a tenant you have the legal right to request enfranchisement. We can also represent you throughout the process to ensure that it goes smoothly, that you obtain the best deal possible and that your rights are observed throughout.

In an enfranchisement situation, both the landlord and tenants should seek independent legal advice. A surveyor will generally also be needed to quantify the values involved so that a purchase price or cost of lease extension can be agreed upon.

Tenancy disputes

A tenancy dispute can be stressful and disruptive, whether you are the landlord or the tenant. For a tenant, facing eviction can be a huge strain and the uncertainty can cause anxiety.

If you are a landlord with bills to pay and your tenant is not covering the rent, this is also likely to be difficult, leaving you out of pocket and facing uncertainty.

Our team can represent you to try to resolve the difficulties you are facing, without involving the courts wherever possible. We can suggest solutions and enter into negotiations on your behalf to work towards resolving the issue satisfactorily for both parties.

If litigation is necessary, you can be sure that we will prepare a strong case on your behalf and that you will have expert representation at any hearing. We will also ensure that you are supported every step of the way and that we are available to speak to you as needed to discuss progress and answer any questions you may have.

Our dispute resolution fees

Fixed fee dispute resolution

For some types of dispute resolution work, we are able to offer fixed fees. This will normally cover a specified piece of work, such as drafting and sending a letter before action or providing an individual session of mediation.

Hourly rates for our dispute resolution solicitors

Our dispute resolution solicitors’ fees are between £190 and £250 per hour plus VAT depending on the nature of the work and the level of expertise required.

Our legal assistants’ fees are between £100 to £145 per hour plus VAT. Fees for our Trainee Solicitors & Paralegals are £150 and £190 plus VAT per hour.

We bill in regular instalments and can, subject to your circumstances, agree a monthly payment plan in which interest is charged at 8% on outstanding balances.

All fees are subject to VAT at the current rate.

Conditional fee agreements

For some types of dispute, we offer conditional fee agreements covering all or part of our costs. This means that part or all of our fees would only be applied if and when we secure a favourable outcome for you.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Contact our landlord and tenant dispute solicitors in West Yorkshire

For expert advice on landlord and tenant dispute resolution, please speak to our dispute resolution solicitors in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire today.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

 

Frequently asked questions

How long will the whole process of buying a property take?

The length of time it takes to purchase a property is completely dependent on each individual transaction. For example, if there is a chain involved, it is likely that matters may take a little longer as there are a lot of people who need to coordinate so that all parties complete on the same day.

A standard transaction typically completes within about 6 to 8 weeks. It may take somewhat longer if there are unforeseen complications or delays in the chain. It can also be completed somewhat faster than this with the cooperation of all parties involved, or if there is no chain.

If you need to complete your purchase particularly quickly, please do contact us and we can discuss your options and timescales.

What is exchange of contracts?

When you purchase or sell a property, the buyer and seller each sign a copy of the contract which details the terms of the agreement. Once both parties are happy to proceed and have signed the contract to say so, the contracts are ‘exchanged’ between the parties’ solicitors. At this point the sale/purchase is legally binding on the parties. The contract will also state the completion date that has been agreed.

Before exchange of contracts, no contract exists between the buyer and seller, either is free to change his or her mind about the transaction ie withdraw from it.

What is a Transfer of Equity?

A transfer of equity is when someone is added or removed from ownership of a property. This could be one sole owner adding a husband or wife, a parent, a son or daughter, or a separating couple removing one of them from ownership of the property.

How much stamp duty will I have to pay?

The amount of stamp duty that you will have to pay is dependent on whether you own other properties or whether you qualify for the first time buyers relief. Please see our online conveyancing calculator at http://www.thorntonjones.co.uk/site/services/conveyancing-solicitors/quote/ which provides a further explanation regarding this. If you have not owned any other property before, and are purchasing for the first time in your sole name but your spouse owns a residential property(s) then you will not qualify for the first time buyer relief.

What are searches and do I need to do them?

Property searches are enquiries which provide further, additional information about a property that you are purchasing, The most common searches are Local Authority searches, Water & Drainage and Coal mining searches. In deciding whether you need property searches, it is best to discuss your options with a Solicitor as to whether or not you need them. If you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage, your mortgage lender will require that these are undertaken.

We are unmarried and buying a property. I am putting a bigger deposit into the property. Can I protect it in the event of separation?

Yes, there are various ways in which you can protect your share in a property in these circumstances. This can either be by way of a Declaration of Trust or you can protect your share by owning the legal title in a specific way.

My husband has passed away, can I take his name off my house deeds? If so, how?

Yes, but the process is different depending on whether you own the property as tenants in common or joint tenants. If you own the property as joint tenants, then it is a very simple application to HM Land Registry. However, if you own the property as tenants in common, then you will need to seek appropriate advice from a Solicitor.

Do I need a survey on the property I am buying?

If you are getting a mortgage then your lender will insist that a valuation is undertaken. You may opt for a more detailed survey to be undertaken in addition to this. However, if you are not using a mortgage then it is your choice as to whether or not you undertake one. However, as purchasing a property is a significant investment, it is advised to get one.

Covid-19 Frequently asked questions

Can I move house during the restrictions?

This depends upon a number of circumstances. The government guidance is that where possible house moves should be delayed until the restrictions are lifted. However there are circumstances when moves can continue, for example if the move is essential for a key worker or if the property is empty and therefore the risks of contamination are minimal. Please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

I am in a chain. Can we still complete?

This depends on the situation of the full chain. Some solicitors are simply refusing to complete any transactions during this period and therefore if one of these solicitors forms part of your chain then the chain will either collapse or more likely simply be put on hold until the restrictions are lifted.

My mortgage offer is due to expire. Can it be extended?

The government has asked lenders to agree to extend mortgage offers for another 3 months. You should contact your individual lender to establish whether this can be agreed in your case.