I have a problem with rising damp in my flat, but I’m worried that if I complain my landlord will evict me. What should I do?
Until recently, landlords could evict tenants without a reason. However, a new law passed last year means it’s now illegal to evict tenants for reporting a problem with the property.
Start by checking your contract for when your tenancy began. If it was on or after 1 October 2015, you are protected from eviction provided you report the problem using the right procedure.
First, write your landlord an email or letter explaining the problem. If they don’t respond within 14 days or respond with an eviction notice, contact the council who will inspect the property.
If the Council confirms with the landlord that there is a health and safety problem, any ‘no fault’ eviction notice is invalid and you won’t need to leave the property. The council will also advise the landlord on next steps, which could include being legally required to fix the problem.
If your tenancy began before October 2015 it’s not illegal for your landlord to evict you but it’s still unusual to do so.
Again, you should start by raising the problem in writing. If your landlord doesn’t offer to repair the damp, or serves you with an eviction notice, contact your local Citizens Advice straight away who will advise you on your next step.
I’ve just come back from a package holiday where our hotel was miles away from where we booked. We couldn’t contact anyone to change hotels, and had to pay to travel back and forwards to the destination we’d booked. Can I claim compensation?
It’s reasonable to ask for compensation when you haven’t got the holiday you paid for.
Your accommodation should be as agreed. If not, it’s usually considered a breach of contract.
You can’t claim the total cost of the holiday, but you can ask to be reimbursed for the extra travel costs, plus a fair sum for the change to your holiday.
Start by writing an email or letter to the tour operator’s customer services department. Give your booking reference number, explain your grievance and specify the amount of compensation you’d like.
As evidence for your claim, include the details of when you tried to contact your tour operator while you were away, and copies of any taxi or car hire receipts.
The firm may come back with an initial offer that is lower than what you are asking for, so be prepared to negotiate.
If you’re not offered any compensation, check your tour operator’s website to see if they belong to a UK trade body, like ABTA. If they do, you can lodge a new complaint through the trade body’s website. The tour operator is obliged to respond to the complaint.
Should you still not receive a satisfactory response, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk for guidance on your next steps.
I’ve applied for a job at an accountancy firm, but they’ve emailed to say that I would need to take a three month training course which costs £4,000 first. I’m keen on the job, but should I pay for the training?
Some employers do ask you to pay for training, but will normally take the cost from your wages rather than asking you to pay in advance.
Asking for up-front payments is one of the classic signs of a scam, so it’s important you do some research on the firm before parting with any cash.
Start by checking if they have a website. If there isn’t a website, they are unlikely to be legitimate. Pay close attention to their email address too – look to see if they are using a personal email account such as Gmail or Hotmail, rather than one that’s branded.
Next, check how they describe their company – if they are an Ltd or Plc they should be listed on the companies house website. If you can’t find them there, they probably aren’t real.
You can also look the firm up on the internet to see what people are writing about it. People who suspect a scam or have been scammed, will often post on forums or social media. Genuine companies will usually have client reviews outside of just their own website.
If you spot something that doesn’t sit right and you want a second opinion, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service. If you think it might be a scam report it to Action Fraud.