If you are a landlord, you may wish to lodge a claim against a tenant for rent arrears, deposit and service charge disputes, and claims relating to disrepair and dilapidations. Conversely, you may be subject to a small claim yourself by one or more of your tenants. Before lodging a claim, you might want to double check that you are not responsible for whatever issue the dispute relates to. You might also want to make sure you have reported the problem to your tenant and given them enough time and notice to rectify the situation. This is particularly the case when it comes to rent arrears.
Be aware that the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Claims is different to the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords (i.e., when you want to evict your tenant). Both protocols include a requirement to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and, as always, you are encouraged to speak directly with the tenant to see if you can come to an agreement without going to litigation.
The social landlord has a duty to consider whether the tenant has difficulty understanding the information they have provided them with, and if they feel this could be a problem they need to make sure the tenant understands. They also have a duty to consider whether or not their tenant is vulnerable, and whether or not they have the mental capacity to defend themselves in proceedings.
The Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims also relates only to social housing — the government is planning to extend the protocol to private landlords, but be aware that currently your obligations may differ based on whether you are a social or a private landlord.
Landlord and tenant claims can range from simple to complex, and you may wish to get legal advice before commencing any kind of proceedings.