My landlord / agent keeps turning up at our property without any prior warning. Are they allowed to do this?
No. Legally, landlords and letting agents are required to give at least 24 hours notice before visiting a property (often except in the case of emergencies). Most tenancies entitle the occupants to exclusive possession of the property they rent and by default both landlord and tenant agree to what is called the ‘Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment’. If these visits are occur without prior notice and are frequent and disruptive your landlord / letting agent may be considered to be in breach of this clause. Naturally, if you are living in lodgings / resident landlord accommodation and you are under a Licence agreement rather than a tenancy agreement and the above does not apply, as you do not have exclusive access to your room.
What is the best way to communicate with my landlord in the event of a dispute?
We always recommend written communication over verbal communication as it is far easier to confirm what has been said, by whom and when, than a word-against-word dispute is. If you feel it is necessary you can send letters with recorded delivery to confirm that a landlord has received a letter and the date which it was delivered. Hopefully, any disputes should not escalate this far, but a little simple planning ahead can make life easier should problems become aggravated. It is also good, when sending emails, to copy in third parties as witnesses to the delivery of the email.
I don’t know who my landlord is – my letting agent won’t give me his / her details.
The name and address of your landlord should be stated in full on your written contract. Your contract is ultimately between you and your landlord, regardless of the role of the letting agent or managing agent. Some agents are reticent to give out names of landlords to tenants, either because they are worried their business will be poached or because they are protecting the landlord from receiving enquiries. They are not entitled to deny you this information under any circumstances.
My landlord never gets in contact with us about problems. We have written letters / emails / called him, and we get no response.
As above, the best way to communicate with your landlord is in writing. If you have sent a letter by recorded delivery you have confirmation that communication and notice has been received by your landlord. In such cases, we recommend you seek help and advice upon your situation; you can contact the Student Union's Advice & Support Centre for advice regarding these matters.