Whether you’re moving into your first rented property or have rented for many years, it’s important to know your responsibilities as well as your rights. While these will be defined in your tenancy agreement, in this guide we detail everything you need to know as a tenant in a private rented property.
Before every tenancy agreement, both the tenant and landlord will be required to sign a contract. Typically, this provides you (as a tenant) with a number of rights, including:
• The right to live in a safe and well-maintained property, undisturbed
• The right to have your deposit returned – provided no damage needs to be paid for
• The right to challenge charges relating to the property
• The right to know your landlord – they have a legal right to let you know who they are and risk being fined if they don’t
• The right to be given the property’s EPC
• The right to be protected from unfair eviction
• The right to not have to pay certain fees
• The right to be given a written notice if you’ve had a fixed-term agreement for more than three years
• The right to be free from harassment from your landlord
• The right to use housing benefits to pay for monthly rent
• The right to have your deposit protected in a protection scheme
The tenancy agreement protects both yours and the landlord’s rights so if you haven’t received such documentation, get in touch with your agent straight away.
During every tenancy, your landlord has a number of specific responsibilities such as giving at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property. It is also the responsibility of your landlord to maintain all structural items including guttering and drains. As tenants, you also have a range of responsibilities that should be outlined in your agreement. These include:
• You must allow your landlord access in order to carry out maintenance work and inspections
• Look after the property in absence of the landlord
• Report any issues promptly before serious damage can occur
• Pay the agreed rent amount on time
• Notify your landlord if you need an extension on your rent payments
• Pay all other bills and charges including TV license, council tax and utilities
• Do not sublet your property unless this is specified in your tenancy agreement
• Pay for any damage that has been caused by you, guests or other tenants
If you fail to meet these responsibilities or breach your tenancy contract, then your landlord or letting agent has the right to take legal action. You could also face eviction.
To ensure that it doesn’t get to this stage, it’s important that all tenants living in the property read the tenancy agreement in full. If you’re unsure of anything in it, speak to your landlord or letting agent.
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