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Disputes with tenants

This page is to help you avoid problems and sort out any issues that do come up in as straightforward a way as possible.

What are your responsibilities?

The tenancy agreement is the main source of what is expected from both yourself and your tenants.

Regular tasks such as an annual gas safety check or renewing insurance should be put in your diary, so they aren’t forgotten.

Remind your tenants that it is their responsibility to inform you of any problems or repairs with the property.

Keep your tenants informed

If there are any problems between you and your tenants it is always good practice to let them know what you are doing to solve the issue. Always keep a record of any communication, and if they have contacted you let them know when they can expect a reply.

Be proactive about keeping in touch – check the tenancy is going well for them and ask if there are any issues with the property. You might want to arrange a 6-monthly visit to check the property’s condition and that everything is still working.

Keep talking

Often the best way to resolve a dispute is to keep the communication channels open and to keep talking. What the tenant calls a repair you might call an improvement. And what you call damage is more accurately ‘fair wear and tear’. Listen to their point of view and find a solution that you can all live with.

Ask for help

Your responsibilities as a landlord might not fit neatly into the time you have available. So you might need to ask for help from your tenants, friends or family or an agent to act on your behalf.

Ask for help from professionals, landlords’ bodies or even get legal advice. This should help you avoid problems and deal with any issues that do come up.

Antisocial behaviour

If you are experiencing antisocial behaviour, or your tenants are behaving antisocially, you can:

  • take any legal action as a landlord or
  • respond if you’ve been notified  that an antisocial behaviour order or interdict has been raised against you, as a tenant.

Antisocial behaviour orders (ASBO)

An antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) is given out by a court to stop a person or people from behaving in certain ways or doing certain things. An ASBO can be imposed on a person as part of their sentence if they have been found guilty of a crime. Only local councils can apply for an antisocial behaviour order, though anyone can request that the council takes this step. An ASBO is not a criminal conviction and therefore does not give a person a criminal record. However, a person can still be prosecuted for criminal behaviour and be put in prison or fined, even if they already have an ASBO against them. Someone with an ASBO against them can also be prosecuted if they breach the terms of it. Each ASBO contains specific terms and conditions that say exactly what the person cannot do, or where they cannot go. The conditions in an ASBO might apply for a limited period of time or indefinitely.

Interdicts

An interdict is a court order that bans a person from doing certain things. They can cover lots of different kinds of behaviour, not just antisocial behaviour.

You may be able to get an interdict if you are experiencing antisocial behaviour but the council has decided not to apply for an antisocial behaviour order. You can raise an interdict against your tenant if their neighbours are complaining about their behaviour.

To get an interdict you will have to apply to the court. A solicitor will help you through the process and advise you if it is the appropriate course of action. Whoever you’re raising the interdict against will know your identity.

If you’re considering raising an interdict, you’ll need a solicitor. This is a civil case (the other type is criminal) and you can use the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s solicitor search to find a solicitor. You can call the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) about legal aid to check if you qualify 0845 122 8686 or use SLAB's online civil legal aid calculator.

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