Advertisement
Housing

5 ways to get help if you’re in a dispute with your landlord

The power balance between landlord and tenant is about to change after the government announced reforms. Here’s how you can solve your housing problems in the meantime.

Whether it be over rent, repairs or any number of other grievances, renters and landlords are often on a collision course over complaints.

In recent years, the power balance has been tipped in the favour of the landlord. The threat of a ‘no-fault’ eviction – where a landlord can evict a tenant without giving a reason – meant a tenant could face a so-called revenge eviction for speaking out.

New reforms, announced at the Queen’s Speech, are set to change this. ‘No-fault’ evictions – also known as section 21 evictions – are set to be scrapped along with a number of reforms under the Renters’ Reform Bill.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

Similarly, the Social Housing Regulation Bill is designed to improve standards for tenants in social housing and give regulators more power to deal with complaints.

But while the legislation is making its way through parliament, here are five things you can do to complain against your landlord.

Check if your landlord is legit

If you’re having problems with your landlord, it’s worth checking if they have everything in order. In Scotland – and possibly in England in the future – there is a landlord register where tenants can look up who manages their property.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Similarly, if you live in a shared house with at least four other people, your landlord should have a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) licence. Many councils also have other, more strict, HMO licensing requirements for landlords. If your landlord doesn’t have their paperwork in order, you can complain to your local authority and can even win back your rent

Big Issue Foundation

Donate to support vendors today

Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.
Article continues below

Get the Housing Ombudsman involved

If you’re banging your head against the wall in a long-running dispute with your landlord then you can escalate your complaint to regulators to step in. This means contacting the Housing Ombudsman about your case.

Under the Social Housing Regulation Bill, the Housing Ombudsman and the Regulator of Social Housing are going to be given more powers to solve disputes before they end up in the costly and time-consuming court process. The Renters’ Reform Bill will also create a new ombudsman for private renters.

Ask Kwajo Tweneboa to get on the case

Activist Kwajo Tweneboa has done more with his phone and a burning sense of injustice to uncover the state of social housing than some campaigners and journalists have done in decades. If you’re living in appalling conditions in social housing and your landlord isn’t listening, see if Kwajo can help @KwajoHousing on Twitter or via his email address in his bio.

Contact your MP

Of course, your local member of parliament should be the person to help you, as opposed to a young campaigner doing it off his own back. They could help you by writing to your landlord or raising the issue in parliament. Find your local MP and how to get in touch here.

Join a rent union

Rent unions can help you to challenge an eviction, either by querying its legality in court or by taking direct action like protesting against your landlord. There are several across the UK, including Living Rent in Scotland, Greater Manchester Tenants Union, London Renters Union and ACORN.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
The number of working people facing homelessness is rising sharply
Homelessness

The number of working people facing homelessness is rising sharply

Will a stamp duty cut fix the housing crisis?
Stamp Duty

Will a stamp duty cut fix the housing crisis?

A Michelin star chef is opening a pop-up restaurant staffed entirely by homeless people
homelessness

A Michelin star chef is opening a pop-up restaurant staffed entirely by homeless people

Eviction ban needed to prevent rough sleeping 'catastrophe', government told
Homelessness

Eviction ban needed to prevent rough sleeping 'catastrophe', government told

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.