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Property disputes

Our Dispute Resolution experts

Justin Emerson
Partner

Disagreements between landlords and tenants can quickly become fraught and stressful. At Gepp Solicitors, our property dispute resolution team can step in to deal with issues quickly before the situation escalates and positions become entrenched.

Our Dispute Resolution team has decades of collective experience in resolving property disputes through both court litigation and by way of alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and negotiation. The team has particular expertise in high-value and complex litigation cases.

Our Dispute Resolution team can advise you in respect of a range of landlord and tenant issues, including the following:

  • Possession and eviction proceedings
  • Disrepair cases
  • Lease forfeiture
  • Rent arrears
  • Disputes over service charges
  • Harassment by landlords
  • Enforcing lease covenants
  • Renewal of business leases
  • Dilapidations
  • Disputes over break clauses
  • Vacant possession proceedings
  • Drafting ASTs

We know how worrying this type of dispute can be and we will always do all we can to resolve issues quickly. Our team’s leading alternative dispute resolution expertise means that we are often able to deal with issues without the need for litigation, which is generally a faster and more cost-effective way of resolving matters. It can also prevent a relationship from deteriorating further.

For more information, see our Landlord and Tenant Dispute Q&A.

Consult our landlord and tenant disputes solicitors in Essex now

For fast, expert advice on resolving a wide range of property disputes, please contact your local Gepp Solicitors office in Chelmsford

If you have a question or would like a call back, fill in our simple online enquiry form.

How our landlord and tenant solicitors can help you

Possession or eviction proceedings

Landlords need to follow the correct legal procedure if they wish to obtain a possession order and evict a tenant. We can advise in respect of this process and ensure that as a landlord you have served the requisite notices on your tenant.

If a tenant refuses to leave, you should ensure you do not do anything which could constitute harassment or force. We can advise you of the steps needed to gain possession of the property without breach of legislation.

Lease forfeiture

We can advise you in your position as landlord in the event that the tenant has carried out an act that breaches the terms of the lease, to include whether it is within your rights to forfeit the lease and end the tenancy.

If there is a right of forfeiture, we will ensure that you follow the correct statutory notice procedure in terminating the lease, which will generally include serving notice on the tenant and giving them a period of time in which to remedy the breach.

Rent arrears

It is fairly common for a tenant to fall into arrears with the rent. We can represent you in dealing with this to try and recover the outstanding amount. This includes contacting the tenant to arrange payment, advising the guarantor that the terms of the tenancy agreement have been breached and that you may have to look to them for the outstanding sums or serving a notice on the tenant advising them that you intend to take them to court for non-payment.

It is important to service the notice in the correct form to ensure that your case is successful and we can ensure that this is done in accordance with the rules.

Service charge disputes

Service charges can be a regular cause of disagreement between landlord and tenant, particularly if a large item of expenditure arises and the landlord seeks to obtain payment for this.

We advise landlords on the correct way to notify tenants of unscheduled service charges, for example, to cover extraordinary repairs or emergency works to the property.

Our team can work on your behalf to try and resolve disagreements over service charges or, if this is not possible, represent you if the case is taken to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber – Residential Property).

Enforcing lease covenants

Both landlord and tenant have the right to rely on the covenants in the lease and if these are breached, steps can be taken to enforce them.

The covenants can cover issues such as payment of the rent, quiet enjoyment of the property and restrictions on the activities that can be carried out at the property.

If the leaseholder breaches the covenants, then certain remedies may be available to the landlord, depending on the terms of the lease. In some circumstances, it may be possible to obtain an injunction or forfeit the lease, requiring the tenant to leave.

If the landlord breaches the covenants, the leaseholder may be able to take action, including possible withholding of service charges, but it is important to seek legal advice before taking this step so that you do not inadvertently breach the terms of the lease yourself. We can advise you on the best course of action and how to take steps to enforce your rights.

Drafting ASTs

We can assist landlord and tenants with the drafting of a rental contract known as an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement. An AST is a type of assured tenancy that allows the landlord to let the property whilst retaining the right to repossess the property at the end of the term.

An AST does not need to be in writing, nevertheless it is advisable to have a written agreement prepared. A written AST allows the parties to easily record and identify the agreed terms of the letting as well as having a written agreement to rely upon and refer to if any dispute arises during or after the tenancy expires.

Our team can assist with drafting or reviewing AST agreements for a fixed fee.

How we resolve landlord and tenant disputes in the best way for you

Our team will tailor our approach to ensure it is the best option for your situation. We will always take into account the outcome you want to achieve and any particular concerns you have.

Our services include:

  • Clear, actionable advice on your legal position and the options available to you – so that you can make an educated decision on the steps that you want us to take.
  • Letters before action – to seek an early resolution of the issue by setting out your case and letting the other party know what you want from the situation.
  • Alternative dispute resolution – taking steps to resolve the issue without the need for a hearing, for example, by negotiation or mediation.
  • Court litigation – if your dispute needs to be decided by the court, we will ensure you have a robust case and expert representation.

Find out more about how we can help on our main dispute resolution page.

Landlord & tenant dispute FAQs

What are the basic rights and responsibilities of tenants in the UK?

Tenants in the UK have rights such as the right to a safe and habitable property, protection against unfair eviction, and proper rent protection. They also have responsibilities such as paying rent on time and taking care of the property.

What legal obligations do landlords have towards their residential tenants in the UK?

Landlords in the UK have legal obligations to provide a safe and well-maintained property, protect tenant deposits, and comply with regulations related to gas safety, electrical safety, and fire safety.

How can Gepp Solicitors assist in resolving disputes between landlords and tenants?

We can provide legal advice and representation for both landlords and tenants in resolving disputes related to lease agreements, rent arrears, eviction notices, or breaches of tenancy agreements.

What steps should landlords follow to legally evict a tenant in the UK?

 Landlords must follow the correct legal procedures to evict a tenant in the UK. This usually involves providing notice, obtaining a possession order from the court, and, if necessary, requesting bailiff assistance. This can be a tedious and long process, and landlord’s have to be aware that a tenant does not have to leave the property unless the choose to do so voluntarily, or until formally evicted by a court bailiff.

Can a landlord withhold a tenant's security deposit? If so, under what circumstances?

Landlords can withhold a tenant’s security deposit in certain circumstances, such as non-payment of rent, damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear, or failure to meet the terms of the tenancy agreement. It is important to check the tenancy agreement as to specific terms agreed.

What are the legal rights of tenants regarding repairs and maintenance?

Tenants have the right to live in a property that is maintained and in a good state of repair. Landlords are typically responsible for ensuring timely repairs and maintenance, as outlined in the tenancy agreement and landlord and tenant law. We can assist landlords with any questions and queries as to their responsibilities.

Can a tenant challenge a rent increase proposed by the landlord?

Tenants may have the right to challenge a rent increase if it is deemed unreasonable or if there are unresolved repair issues. We can provide guidance on the specific circumstances and help tenants understand their options.

What recourse do tenants have if they face retaliatory eviction?

Retaliatory eviction occurs when a landlord tries to evict a tenant in response to a complaint or request for repairs. Tenants have legal protections against retaliatory eviction, and we can assist in pursuing appropriate remedies.

Can a tenant sublet a residential property without the landlord's consent?

Generally, tenants cannot sublet a residential property without obtaining the landlord’s consent, as this may violate the terms of the tenancy agreement. Consulting with us can provide clarity based on the specific circumstances.

What legal options are available to landlords and tenants in a dispute over the return of the security deposit?

If there is a dispute over the return of the security deposit, both landlords and tenants can seek legal redress through negotiating, mediation, or, if necessary, by filing a claim with a deposit protection scheme or the court system.

Remember, these answers are for informative purposes only, and it is important to consult with us for personalised advice tailored to your specific residential landlord and tenant matters.

Our landlord and tenant dispute resolution fees

Hourly rates for landlord and tenant dispute resolution advice

For more complex matters, we will charge an agreed hourly rate based on the level of expertise required.

For more information about our landlord and tenant disputes services in Chelmsford

To find out more about what we can offer you, please feel free to get in touch.

Call us
Main number: 01245 228101

Email us
Main email: emersonj@gepp.co.uk

With Gepp Solicitors you’ll be in experienced hands. Our dedicated team has been handling all kinds of disputes for many years.

With Gepp Solicitors you’ll
be in experienced hands.
Our dedicated team has
been handling all kinds of
disputes for many years.

Our Dispute Resolution experts

Justin Emerson
Partner
Natasha Kelt
Associate Solicitor
Nadia Fabri
Associate Solicitor
Justin Emerson
Partner
Nadia Fabri
Associate Solicitor
Natasha Kelt
Associate Solicitor

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an enquiry?

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Get in touch

If you want to find out more about the services we can offer you, please feel free to get in touch.

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about the services we can offer you, please feel free to get in touch.