Landlord and tenant disputes: issuing a letter before action

Landlord and tenant disputes: issuing a letter before action

Thinking of suing your tenant? Here are three things you need to bear in mind before issuing proceedings.

Issue a letter before action to your tenant first

Going to court is the last resort. You should always try to reach an agreement before going through proceedings.

A letter before action sets out the reason for your claim and how much you’re claiming. It also gives a date by when you want the tenant to respond (typically within 7 days), and a reminder that if they don’t reply to you by that date, you’ll issue court proceedings.

In some cases, the threat of court proceedings can be enough for tenants to respond to your claim, which can save you the cost and time of going through the court.

You should have your letter before action drafted by a solicitor. This will give you the best possible chance of resolving your dispute without needing to go through the small claims court.

For advice on drafting a letter before action, call Rachel Garton today on 01482 324252 or email

The cost of going to court could outweigh the gain

This all depends on how much you’re claiming, of course. But if it’s a couple of hundred pounds, as in this recent example from the Landlord-Law Blog, I would not advise pursuing the matter through the small claims court, as the legal costs and court fees will be higher than the sum you’re claiming. And even if you win, recovery of the costs will typically be limited to minimal fixed costs.

Court proceedings can take longer than you might think

Small claims court proceedings can take between 6 months to a year to resolve. But if you issue a letter before action, you could get a response within 7 days.

Need advice on your tenant dispute?

We can help you. Call Rachel Garton now on 01482 324252 or email

Return to the insights archive »

The content on our site is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

Click here to view our Terms of Use