5 things landlords are not allowed to do while renting

Are you a property owner who’s recently decided to rent out your space?

That’s great, but you must be prepared for the responsibilities that come with being a landlord. One of the mistakes landlords make when renting is not educating themselves on tenancy regulations.

As much as you’d like to, there are certain things you just can’t do as a landlord. We’ve compiled a handy list of 5 things landlords are not allowed to do while renting their property.

Landlords cannot enter a tenant’s home without proper notice

As a landlord, you don’t have an automatic right to enter your tenant’s home whenever you want. Most areas require landlords to provide advance notice before entering the property. Typically, a 24 hour notice is needed for things like inspections or repairs. Only enter the property during normal business hours, and never stay longer than necessary.

Entering without proper consent is illegal and a violation of the tenant’s right to privacy. Some tenants may perceive unannounced visits as harassment. Always put requests to enter in writing, whether in a formal letter or email. Verbal notice alone doesn’t constitute proper notice.

Emergencies like fire, flood or medical issues are exceptions to the notice rule. However, in all other cases, if you enter without notice, your tenant has grounds to pursue legal action against you.

Respecting your tenants’ homes and privacy is key to maintaining a good relationship. Provide ample notice before any visit, and keep visits brief and strictly for legitimate business reasons. Your tenants will appreciate your courtesy, and you’ll avoid potential legal trouble.

Landlords cannot increase rent without following proper procedures

As a landlord, you can’t unreasonably ask tenants to pay more rent; most areas have laws protecting tenants from unreasonable rent hikes. Usually, you’ll need to give advance notice, often 1 month (for rent paid weekly or monthly) or 6 months (for rent paid yearly), before increasing rent. Some places cap how much rent can increase each year, such as no more than 5–10% annually.

Before raising rent, check your local regulations and tenancy agreement to ensure you provide proper notice and stay within any rent control limits. As a courtesy, you may want to speak with longer-term tenants to explain your reasons for the increase, especially if it’s higher than normal inflation. Keep communication open in case they need to discuss alternate payment plans.

Raising rent significantly could lead good tenants to move out, costing you time and money to find new renters. Think through how much extra profit an increase will really generate versus the risks of higher vacancy and turnover. You’re in a partnership with your tenants, so try to make changes in a way that benefits you both.

If a tenant challenges a rent increase as unfair or retaliatory, they may file a complaint against you. Tenants usually have the right to withhold a portion of rent until the dispute is resolved. As a landlord, you want to avoid these kinds of situations by doing your due diligence, following the rules, and being reasonable with any rent changes.

Landlords cannot harass or discriminate against tenants

One of the things landlords are not allowed to do while renting is harassing, threatening or discriminating against tenants.

This may take any of the following forms:

  • Physically or verbally abusing tenants due to their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability status or familial status: Discrimination of any kind is unethical and illegal.
  • Sexually harassing tenants by making unsolicited requests for sexual favours, sexual advances, and other physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature: This includes inappropriate jokes, comments, touching or displaying explicit materials.
  • Retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights, such as complaining to authorities about unsafe living conditions or discriminatory practices: If tenants report you to authorities or file a complaint, you can’t take action to get back at them, such as increasing rent, evicting or suing them.

As a landlord, treat all your tenants with dignity, respect and compassion. Provide safe, habitable housing for everyone regardless of their background. Also, comply with all national and local anti-discrimination laws to avoid legal trouble and create an inclusive community. Create open communication and address issues promptly to prevent misunderstandings that could be seen as harassment.

Most countries in the UK have laws protecting tenants, so educate yourself on the specific rules in your area. Following them will make you a responsible landlord and help build positive relationships with your tenants. Discrimination and harassment have no place in society, so work to prevent them in your own life and business.

Landlords cannot lock out tenants without going through an eviction process

As a landlord, you cannot lock out your tenants, tell them who can be at their house, or restrict their access to the rental property without following the proper legal eviction process. While tenants refusing to leave a property is one of landlords’ biggest worries, doing otherwise is illegal.

To legally evict a tenant, you must first issue them with a valid notice to quit the premises. The notice period and type will depend on the terms of the tenancy agreement. For example, in the UK, most tenancies require between 1 and 4 weeks written notice to leave the property.

Once the notice period has expired, if the tenant has not vacated, you’ll need to obtain a court order for eviction before taking further action. You absolutely cannot change the locks, remove belongings or otherwise harass the tenants during this time.

Some landlords may be tempted to take matters into their own hands by locking tenants out or removing their belongings to force them to leave. However, this is unlawful and can have serious consequences. The tenants may sue you, law enforcement may get involved, and in some areas, hefty fines can be issued — it’s never worth the risk.

Always follow the proper legal process for ending a tenancy and evicting tenants. Provide adequate written notice, allow the notice period to pass, obtain a court order if needed and have law enforcement present when tenants and belongings are removed from the property. Your tenants have rights, and as a landlord, you must respect them — it’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long run!

For more information on legally ending tenancies and evicting tenants in your area, consult an attorney or local housing authority. As a landlord, you must understand your responsibilities and obligations under the law to avoid potential legal trouble.

Landlords cannot retaliate against tenants for complaining of poor conditions

If your tenants report issues with the property, like pest infestations, lack of hot water, or structural damage, punishing them is one of the things landlords are not allowed to do while renting. While there are things tenants are not allowed to do while renting, these don’t count, and you must address them promptly and thoroughly.

Raising the rent, filing for eviction, or harassing tenants are forbidden acts of retaliation. Tenants have the right to live in a safe, habitable home. If they report legitimate concerns, you’re obligated to fix them.

Rather than retaliating, work with your tenants to fix any issues; understand that home fixtures break down over time. As long as they’ve paid rent on time and followed the terms of the lease, you should certainly address repair needs right away. Remain polite and professional while at it; retaliating will likely damage your relationship, hurt your reputation, and could lead to legal trouble.

The bottom line is you should maintain the property according to the law. When tenants report problems, see it as an opportunity to show you’re a responsible landlord. While handling maintenance issues is one of the common causes of stress for landlords, you’re required to make necessary repairs and ensure the home meets health and safety standards. Your tenants will appreciate your timely action, and you’ll build goodwill and loyalty.

Rentila provides resources to help you stay up-to-date with landlord responsibilities. We want to see you build positive, long-term relationships with your tenants based on mutual trust and respect. Follow the rules, treat your tenants well, and utilise the Rentila software to effectively manage your properties.


Can a landlord refuse to rent to someone?

Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, or nationality. Refusing to rent to someone because of these attributes is illegal. Some exceptions may apply, such as for senior housing if you don’t have a conducive environment for seniors. But in general, landlords must evaluate tenants based solely on their ability to pay rent and care for the property.

Can a landlord ask an employer how much a tenant makes?

No, a landlord does not have the right to contact an employer to ask about a tenant’s salary or income. They can only ask the tenant directly for proof of income, such as pay slips, tax returns, or bank statements, to verify their ability to pay rent. Contacting tenants’ employers could violate privacy laws.

What can a landlord not ask tenants?

Landlords should avoid asking tenants personal questions that are unrelated to their ability to fulfil the lease obligations. This includes things like medical issues, marital status, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, etc. Stick to questions about employment, income, credit history, references, and background checks. Anything beyond that could be seen as discrimination.

5 Things Landlords Are Not Allowed to Do While Renting: things to remember

A good knowledge of the things landlords are not allowed to do while renting is important for maintaining healthy relationships with tenants. As much as you want to have your way in every disagreement or control how your tenants live on the property, there are rules in place to protect them.

Remember that your tenants are paying you good money periodically for the right to peacefully enjoy their home. Follow the rules, treat your tenants well, and you’ll have happy long-term renters while avoiding legal trouble — it’s a win-win for everyone.


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