Common landlord and tenant disputes and how to avoid them

A positive relationship between a landlord and tenant can often be difficult to maintain due to opposing views, meaning disputes between both parties are becoming more common. Understanding the challenges you may face and establishing the best way to avoid or resolve them ensures that your role as a landlord is as straightforward, stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

The maintenance of a property

As a landlord it is your responsibility to make sure your property is maintained correctly and is therefore safe for someone to reside in. The property must have heating and hot water as well as being in good condition in terms of its structure, facilities and pipe work. A landlord can be fined for renting out property that is unsafe or uninhabitable.

Keeping the property clean and tidy

Tenancy agreements usually outline a clause that explains the tenant’s responsibility for keeping the property clean and tidy. Landlords will often take photographs of the property in its original condition to ensure that the tenants leave it in the same condition when they vacate. Should the tenants leave the property in an unacceptable condition, the landlord has the right to withhold the original deposit and use these funds for repairs and cleaning services. If however the deductions to the deposit are unfair and unjust, tenants can seek advice from legal professionals and the Deposit Protection Service.

Damage to the property

A tenant should ask for the landlord’s permission before using screws, nails or any other fixtures that may damage the property. It is solely the decision of the landlord as to whether these will be allowed in the property. Should the tenants make changes to the property without the permission of the landlord they may be liable to pay for the repair any damage. Any damage to the property that is the fault of the tenant or the fault of reckless and irresponsible behaviour will also be the tenant’s responsibility to get fixed.

Council tax

If you are renting your property to either one tenant, joint tenants with one singular tenancy, or a family then they are responsible for paying the council tax. However, if you are renting to multiple tenants with separate tenancy agreements such as HMOs or students, it is your responsibility as their landlord to pay the council tax.


Generally, a tenant is not allowed to sublet the property. Your tenants may be hoping to make a profit through subletting your property, however you have the right to take legal action and evict them should this breach a clause in the contract they signed.

Pets in the property

With over 5 millions pets in the UK today, it is not surprising that a rising number of tenants are taking their beloved pets into rented accommodation with them. However, as a landlord you have the legal right to decide whether you will allow animals in your property. Provided this is clearly stated in the contract, the tenant must abide by these and will be in breach of the tenancy contract should they not follow the terms. If your tenant requires a service animal, you will need to outline this in their contract.

Something to remember…

The most important thing to remember as both a landlord and as a tenant is that contracts are lawful and binding. As long as terms are made clear in the tenancy contract, both parties must fulfil their responsibilities and are at fault should they not.

Fletcher Day