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Landlord and tenant disputes

Landlord and tenant disputes can be disruptive and time-consuming, and expert legal support is often required. At Warner Goodman, we can assist anyone involved in disputes over property, whether commercial or residential. Our considerable experience enables us to advise clients, both landlords and tenants, on the most practical solution for resolving a dispute.

Alternative dispute resolution is considered where appropriate through mediation and negotiation to help avoid the need for potentially expensive Court or tribunal action. If litigation cannot be avoided, we can issue proceedings at very short notice, even in complex cases.

We can assist with all types of commercial and residential property matters, including but not limited to some of the following:

  • Business lease renewals
  • Breaches of covenant 
  • Forfeiture & applications for relief
  • Leasehold enfranchisement 
  • Service charge disputes

Speak to our landlord and tenant disputes solicitors today

Need help with landlord and tenant disputes? We have specialists in SouthamptonPortsmouthFarehamChandler’s Ford and Waterlooville.

To find out how Warner Goodman Solicitors can assist you, contact the team on 01329 222075 or email privateclientenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

Landlord & tenant dispute legal support

Business lease renewals

The terms of business lease renewals are usually negotiated between the landlord and tenant following the service of a Landlord’s Section 25 Notice or a Tenant’s Section 26 Notice. Occasionally, as a landlord, you may seek to rely on reasonably limited statutory grounds to challenge a tenant’s request for a new business tenancy. The most common grounds are that you intend to develop the building or reoccupy the premises.

We regularly advise both landlords and tenants on the strategic time for serving a statutory notice. If the tenant takes the decision to vacate the premises, we can advise on negotiating terms for new premises and, where appropriate, dilapidations.

Where business lease disputes arise, our expert team is on hand to provide assistance, ensuring that you understand your options and the best route to proceed.

Breaches of covenant

A covenant is a legally binding obligation or term in a rental agreement or lease. Breaches of covenant can vary depending on the contract and context. Common examples that we can support landlords and tenants with include:

  • Where a tenant has failed to pay the rent
  • Where a tenant has sublet the property when they did not have permission to do so
  • The tenant has made significant changes or alterations to the property without permission
  • Dilapidations-meaning that a tenant is responsible for certain repairs where they have failed to keep the property in good condition

We have much experience with these types of tenant disputes and can ensure you receive the legal advice and support you need.

Forfeiture & applications for relief

Forfeiture refers to a landlord’s legal right to terminate a tenancy or lease, repossessing the property, where a tenant has breached significant terms and conditions of the agreement.

Applications for relief refer to legal requests or actions made by landlords or tenants to address disputes or issues concerning their rental properties. Such applications are usually submitted to housing authorities or filed in Court.

Examples of relief applications that landlords might initiate include eviction proceedings or deductions of security deposits. Tenants might pursue applications that concern privacy violations or substantial rental increases.

Landlord disputes such as these can be sensitive by nature, so we always handle such matters carefully, protecting your legal interests every step of the way.

Leasehold enfranchisement

Leasehold enfranchisement refers to the process whereby tenants can, in certain situations, purchase their freehold from their landlord or obtain a new lease (lease extension).

In most cases, to qualify for collective enfranchisement, at least 50% of the leaseholders living in the building must be willing to participate in a collective purchase.

At Warner Goodman, we have much experience supporting qualifying tenants with these processes and can answer any questions you have or assist you in resolving any related disputes.

Service charge disputes

Service charges refer to costs incurred by the leaseholder, covering expenses for management, maintenance and the general upkeep of common or shared areas within a property complex or building.

We can support both commercial and residential landlords and tenants with various types of service charge disputes, including:

  • Reasonable service charges: Leaseholders may dispute service charges based on reasonableness, for instance, where it is believed that charges are excessive or lack adequate value 
  • Incorrect calculation: Where there are discrepancies or alleged errors in how the service charges have been calculated
  • Service quality: Disputes regarding the quality of service provided, for instance, maintenance which is not up to standard

Frequently asked questions about landlord and tenant disputes

What are common landlord and tenant disputes?

Common causes of tenant and landlord disputes include:

  • Rental disputes, including failure to pay the rent, which may result in the need for negotiated payment plans or, in some cases, eviction proceedings
  • Disputes based on lease violations, for instance, unauthorised subletting or excessive disturbances or noise
  • Disputes based on rental increases, for example, where a tenant believes these increases to be excessive

Can you take a landlord or tenant to the small claims court?

Yes, it is possible to take a landlord or tenant to a small claims court to resolve a dispute. As the name suggests, these courts are used for reasonably low-value disputes, which may include property damage, deposit disputes, or right to enter the property disputes.

Where you are experiencing a more complicated tenancy dispute, which may not be best resolved in a small claims Court, we can advise you on your options.

How should you handle a tenant dispute?

To handle a tenant dispute, it is usually necessary for both parties to review the lease agreement carefully. The lease is likely to specify provisions for dispute resolution. As a first step, it is advised for both parties to communicate between themselves. In some cases, a dispute can be resolved informally.

Where a landlord and tenant cannot resolve matters between themselves, it is advisable for the parties to seek independent legal support. Mediation is a useful alternative dispute resolution option which may allow the disputing parties to resolve matters out of Court.

If it is not possible for the involved parties to resolve matters using alternative dispute resolution, they will need legal support through the necessary landlord and tenant litigation processes.

Speak to our landlord and tenant disputes solicitors today

Need help with landlord and tenant disputes? We have specialists in SouthamptonPortsmouthFarehamChandler’s Ford and Waterlooville.

To find out how Warner Goodman Solicitors can assist you, contact the team on 01329 222075 or email privateclientenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

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