How to Find the Right Landlord and Tenant Solicitor and Work With Them
To find a good landlord and tenant solicitor, you can ask people you trust, like friends, family, or other landlords and/or tenants who have used a solicitor before. You can also search online for reviews and ratings from past clients of different solicitors, or check out their websites to explore their services and see if they would be a good fit. It’s wise to talk to a few solicitors before deciding who to work with, and to carefully read their terms before agreeing to anything in writing.
If you are unsure about the credentials of a solicitor, as well as looking at reviews and testimonials, you can also check their record on the SRA website to be sure they are above board.
On the hunt for a landlord and tenant solicitor? Check out our comprehensive Find A Solicitor Near Me guide for more help and advice in finding the right legal help for your case.
Finding the right solicitor who knows their stuff about landlord and tenant issues, communicates clearly and quickly with you and the other party, provides practical solutions, and acts quickly in your best interests can make a big difference on the outcome of your case. So it’s important to make an informed decision when choosing a landlord and tenant solicitor.
How Much Does a Landlord and Tenant Solicitor Charge?
The cost of hiring a landlord and tenant solicitor depends on different things, like how complex and urgent your case is, how much work is needed, how experienced the solicitor is, where they’re located, and what happens at the end of your case. How solicitors charge for legal help can vary. Some might charge by the hour, while others have set prices for specific parts of your case (also known as fixed fee). A few might even say you only pay if you win your case (commonly referred to as no win, no fee).
Always ask the solicitor for a clear estimate of how much they’ll charge before you start. It’s also smart to ask about any other costs you might not have considered, like court or expert fees. If you have a strong case or feel confident doing some parts of the work yourself (such as gathering evidence or drafting letters) you might be able to negotiate a lower fee with your solicitor.
So how much can you expect to pay?
The below table can give you an idea of how much your case might cost and how long it could take. Just remember: these are only estimates and the real cost and time might change based on your case or how it gets sorted out. Furthermore, the duration column doesn’t include any time spent on preparing or appealing the case.
Type of dispute
Average solicitors fees
Commercial lease disputes
Violation of rules
Damage to the property
Eviction without notice
Non-refund of deposit
Entry without notice
Feeling at sea with the cost of seeking help from a landlord or tenant solicitor? To get an accurate fixed fee-price with a transparent breakdown of what’s included, request a free quote from a Lawhive solicitor.
How to Communicate with Your Landlord and Tenant Solicitor
Good communication is really important when you’re working with your landlord and tenant solicitor. It’s essential to keep them in the loop about any changes or new things that are happening in your case. When they ask for information or papers, it’s best to send them over quickly to avoid any unnecessary delays.
Your solicitor should also keep you posted regularly on how your case is going, the choices you have, and what’s next, including next steps for you to take. The ways in which you communicate with your solicitor can vary, for example you may talk on the phone, through emails or face to face. Because of how easy and quick it is, lots of people prefer to work with a solicitor entirely online.
However you choose to do it, you and your solicitor should decide on the best way to keep in touch and how often. If you have a disability or complex communication needs, let them know and they should be able to facilitate this. Finally, make sure you have their contact details and ask them who you should contact if they’re not available.
What is the Legal Process for Landlord and Tenant Disputes?
The legal process for landlord and tenant disputes can change based on the nature and complexity of the issue, but it usually follows these steps:
Pre-action (before court): At this point, you try to solve the problem without going to court. You talk to the other side, follow ‘pre-action protocols’, send or respond to letters before action, and try to agree a settlement.
Court action: If things don’t work out, you might need to go to court. If that is the case, this is the stage where you start or defend a claim in court by filing or responding to a claim form, submitting or challenging evidence, attending hearings, and following court orders
Enforcement (after court): If the court makes a decision, you need to follow it. This could mean paying or receiving any money owed, leaving or regaining possession of the property, carrying out or requesting any repairs, or applying for or resisting any appeals
Legal processes can take up a lot of time and cost a lot of money. That’s why it’s smart to get advice from a landlord and tenant solicitor as early on as possible. They can explain your rights and obligations, let you know if you have a strong case, help you figure out the best next steps, and even represent you in court if needed. It’s all about finding a solution that works for you and the outcome you’re looking for.
Understanding Landlord and Tenant Law in the UK: Rights, Responsibilities, and Dispute Resolution
Landlord and tenant law is the set of rules (also known as the area of law) that guide how landlords and tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) interact. It covers a lot of areas, like:
What a tenant and landlord should do and expect of each other
How to start and end a rental contract
How to deal with problems or damages
How to solve any conflicts or disputes
Let’s take a closer look at these together:
Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under UK law
Both landlords and tenants have certain legal rights and duties based on laws like the Landlord and Tenant Acts of 1954 and 1985, along with other legislation such as the Housing Act 2004, and the Renters Reform Bill 2023. Here’s what some of these rights and responsibilities are:
According to landlord and tenant law, landlords have the right to:
Get paid the right rent on time
Increase rent (to a reasonable, fair amount)
Access the property for inspections or repairs (with reasonable notice)
Evict tenants for valid reasons (like rent owed or anti-social behaviour)
Safeguard their property from misuse or damage.
A landlords obligations are to:
Provide a safe home that complies with health and safety regulations including a valid gas safety certificate from a registered gas engineer that is renewed every 2 months.
Protect the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
Give the tenant a copy of the most up to date ‘How To Rent' booklet or a tenant information pack (in Scotland) at the beginning of the tenancy.
Inspect their properties and carry out repairs before tenants move in
Establish that all tenants have the right to rent in the UK
Tenants have the right to:
Live in a safe, well-maintained property
Get their deposit back when the tenancy ends in the agreed timescale (unless there is damage or unpaid rent)
Question high charges, challenge rent increases, or negotiate unfair terms
Know who their landlord is
Live in the property without disturbance
Be protected from illegal eviction, revenge eviction or rent hikes.
Tenants must also:
Pay agreed rent and other charges (such as council tax or utility bills)
Take care of the property and report repairs needed
Allow the landlord access to the property when required
Respect their neighbours and not cause nuisance or annoyance
Only sublet if the tenancy agreement or the landlord allows it.
For further, more in depth information on landlord and tenant rights, see the official Government guidance on Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector.
The main rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants are usually outlined in the tenancy agreement that both sign when a tenant moves into a new property. The tenancy agreement can be written or spoken (verbal), but it is wise to have it written for clarity and proof. While a tenancy agreement can grant more than legal (statutory) rights, it can’t reduce them. If a term in the agreement gives either party less than the rights they are granted by law, that term cannot be enforced.
Common Landlord and Tenant Disputes
Disputes between landlords and tenants aren’t uncommon. Some causes for disagreements include:
Ending a tenancy and possession claims
To remove a tenant from a residential property, landlords must get a court order for possession. This process is complex, and it’s important to know if, as a landlord, you can bring possession proceedings and what route you should take.
There are legitimate ways to evict a tenant legally using a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice, however you must follow strict rules and procedures to avoid breaking the law and facing penalties. To navigate this, it is highly advisable to seek the help of an experienced landlord solicitor.
For tenants, it is also important to know your legal rights in relation to eviction and what actions you should take if your landlord gives you a section 21 notice.
Landlords of residential properties have to maintain:
The buildings structure and exterior - like walls, roofs, windows, and doors
Items like sinks, baths, toilets, and their pipes.
Things like water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, boilers and heaters.
These responsibilities can’t be waived in the tenancy agreement.
For tenancies starting after October 1st 2015, landlords can’t evict tenants as revenge or retaliation for asking for repairs. And if a tenant reports a problem to the landlord in writing and gets their local council involved, a landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 possession notice.
Housing disrepair claims have a Pre-Action Protocol on Disrepair Claims which means landlords have to respond with specific information within certain timeframes. Failure to do this can land you with a penalty, so it’s important to seek help and advice quickly to reduce the risks of this happening and get things sorted quickly.
Tenancy deposit disputes
Tenancy deposits must be protected in a government-approved scheme within 30 days of the landlord receiving it. Furthermore, landlords must also give the tenant Prescribed Information about the deposit scheme.
Landlords who don’t do this run the risk of not being able to serve a section 21 possession notice later on and may have to pay tenants compensation and legal costs in deposit compensation claims.
For these reasons, it’s important to comply with deposit requirements and seek help if you have fallen foul of them. As a tenant, you should know what your landlord is required to do with your deposit, and seek help in the event you think that your tenancy deposit has been mishandled or withheld unfairly.
Right to rent problems
Since February 1st 2016, landlords and letting agents have to check the immigration status of people living in privately rented accommodation.
Landlords should carry out right to rent checks for all adults living in almost all privately rented properties, including assured shorthold tenancies and licences, even for lodgers. And if an occupier loses their right to rent, landlords are obliged to inform the Home Office and take legal steps to remove them.
Landlords who rent residential properties out to tenants without the right to rent can receive civil penalties of up to £3,000 per occupier. Criminal legislation can also lead to unlimited fines or up to 5 years in prison.
Many landlords might not be aware of these strict requirements and could be failing to comply with the law. A landlord and tenant solicitor can assist landlords in understanding these rules and provide representation if they face charges related to right to rent.
Tenants need to prove their right to rent in England. British or Irish citizens can do this by showing their landlord a current or expired British or Irish passport, passport card, or certificate of registration of naturalisation as a British citizen. Tenants who aren’t British or Irish citizens can prove their right to rent with a share code or their original immigration documents.
Common mistakes made by landlords and tenants
It’s not uncommon for both landlords and tenants to run into problems when dealing with legal matters related to tenancy. This can happen for a few reasons, like not seeking legal assistance on a confusing matter, misunderstanding the law, or simply not knowing the best course of action.
Here are some of the common mistakes made in landlord and tenant cases:
Not checking or updating the tenancy agreement. It is important for both landlords and tenants to read and understand the tenancy agreement before signing it, and to keep a copy for future reference. It is also best practice for both parties to review and update the tenancy agreement when things change, like if the rent increases, repairs are needed, or who lives at the property changes.
Not communicating effectively. Many disputes between landlords and tenants can be avoided or resolved by communicating clearly and respectfully with each other. Both parties should keep each other updated on any issues or concerns they have during the tenancy, such as maintenance requests, complaints, notices, or payments. Keeping records of messages, like texts, calls, emails or letters, can also help solve disputes.
Not following the correct procedures. There are proper legal ways to handle situations that landlords and tenants alike must follow when dealing with certain situations, such as ending or renewing a tenancy, evicting a tenant, claiming damages, or recovering rent arrears. These rules might vary depending on the type of tenancy (such as assured shorthold tenancy or regulated tenancy), the reason for taking action (such as breach of contract or statutory duty), and the location (such as England or Scotland). Both parties should know what these procedures are and follow them correctly to avoid delays, penalties, or invalid actions.
When disputes between landlords and tenants can’t be solved through discussions or formal complaints, there are alternative ways to find a solution without going to court. These methods are called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
ADRs are voluntary (i.e. you choose to do them), private, and flexible ways to settle disagreements. They can save time, money, and stress, and in some cases even improve relationships between both sides.
Some of the common ADR methods are:
Mediation. This is where a neutral person (known as the mediator) helps both sides communicate and agree on a solution. A mediator isn’t there to make decisions or give legal advice. Instead, they guide the conversation towards an agreement everyone is happy with. Mediation can be used for various types of disputes, such as property repairs, rent arrears, deposit disputes, or anti-social behaviour, and can be done face-to-face, online, or by telephone. There are a number of mediation providers for landlord and tenant disputes, such as The Resolution People, The Leasehold Advisory Service, or mydeposits.
Arbitration. This is where an independent, qualified person (the arbitrator) listens to both sides and makes a final decision. The arbitrator’s decision is legally binding, unless both parties agree otherwise. Arbitration can be used for more complicated disputes, such as leasehold disputes, service charges, or rent reviews. Arbitration can be done in person, in writing, or online. There are professional bodies that appoint arbitrators for landlord and tenant disputes, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
Adjudication. This is where an independent specialist (the adjudicator) reviews all the evidence and makes a decision on the dispute. The adjudicator’s decision is usually legally binding and enforceable by law, unless the parties agree otherwise or challenge it in court. Adjudication is good for fast and cost-effective dispute resolutions, such as deposit disputes at the end of a tenancy. Adjudication can be done online or by post through government approved schemes like the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and the Deposit Protection Service.
The choice of ADR method depends on the situation’s complexity, each party's preferences, and available resources, but ultimately they can be used to help avoid the stress and expense of going to court. Should you want to seek alternative dispute resolution, both sides (i.e. landlord and tenant) need to agree on an ADR method and provider before starting the process. It’s also a good idea to seek independent legal advice before getting into any ADR process.
However, maybe you still need a solicitor…
If alternative dispute resolutions aren’t suitable for your case, you may need to consider getting help from a solicitor. But, don’t panic! Dealing with landlord and tenant disputes can feel tough and confusing, not to mention stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. By reaching out to an expert landlord and tenant solicitor, you can appoint an expert to guide you through the legal process who is focused on protecting your interests and saving you money, stress, and precious time.
How We Can Help
At Lawhive, we make getting legal help for landlords and tenants quick, easy and affordable. In as little as five minutes, we can provide you with a fixed-fee quote and match you with the most suitable landlord and tenant solicitor for your case.
We pair you with solicitors who are specialists in landlord and tenant disputes, who can offer immediate advice, assistance and representation in areas including:
Whether you’re a landlord or tenant facing legal issues that need resolving quickly, you can get a free fixed-fee quote and consultation from Lawhive. Our team of experienced and friendly landlord and tenant solicitors are here to provide you with expert advice and support wherever you are in the process. We’re dedicated to finding the best solution for you, so you can get a swift resolution and put the issue behind you.