V1-JC-24042014

RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION
Guide for landlords about online libel

Background

Landlords and agents may be victims of online bloggers, particularly tenants, who make defamatory comments, which can spread very quickly. They may be read by prospective tenants in particular who may then be put off renting a property from the landlord or agent concerned as a result. In this situation landlords and agents need to know what they can do, but this is not necessarily straight forward. Specific provisions now apply to website operators which to some extent make the legal position clearer. Other rules can apply in the case of other types of providers of electronic communications such as search engines. However, the intention is to provide balance and to protect freedom of expression.

Defamation and libel are used interchangeably in this Guide. Defamation is the collective name for claims about untrue statements and this term includes libel which is the written form of defamation.

The rest of this guide contains sections on website operators, how the notice defence works, other types of provider, the notice of complaint procedure, the time limit for bringing defamation proceedings and dealing with websites.

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