6 Tenant Rights You Need To Know
Are you planning to rent or are you renting a property in England? If yes, Latest Deals is here to help you understand your tenant rights.
What are my rights as a tenant? When you are privately renting a property in the UK, you have some rights. It's important to note that some of these rights are different if you are renting a council property.
As a tenant, you have rights, but sometimes, they aren't respected by landlords. To be protected, you need to make sure you have a tenancy agreement. This document that you and your landlord should sign tells you everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities. In addition, your landlord must give you a copy of the How to Rent Guide. This other document has more information about your rights and responsibilities, and you need to read it carefully.
Latest Deals have listed some of the tenants rights below and will also help you with how to proceed if you feel your tenant rights aren't being met:
1. To live in a property that is safe.
Your most important right is to live in a safe property, which includes getting any repairs done to restore the property's safety. Suppose there is something wrong or broken in the property and it wasn't your fault. In that case, your landlord is responsible for fixing it within a reasonable amount of time, depending on the circumstances.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You also have the right to be aware of all the safety checks done on the property and access their reports, most importantly the Energy Performance Certificate. Your landlord can't change the property's locks without telling you beforehand, and if they do, they need to give you new keys. In addition, your landlord can't cut off the water, gas or electricity, and your landlord can’t interfere with your mail.
2. To have your deposit protected during the tenancy term and returned when the tenancy ends.
When you decide to privately rent a property, you usually need to give a deposit. This deposit needs to be protected during the entire period of the tenancy and returned in full when the tenancy ends. If this is not returned in full, your landlord needs to explain in writing what is being deducted from the deposit and why. This should be sent to you to your knowledge before the money deduction. Usually, deposit deductions are related to missing or broken items, cleaning costs, and unpaid rent or bills. If you don't agree, you will need to get in touch with the deposit protection scheme your landlord chose and open a dispute. These schemes usually offer a free service to help with this. If you aren't happy with the results, you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
3. To know who your landlord is.
Your landlord is the person responsible for the property if anything happens to it, so it's crucial that you know who your landlord is and have the means to contact them if necessary. If for some reason, in your tenancy agreement, your landlord’s personal information is omitted, you have the right to ask for it. Your landlord can be fined If they do not give you this information within 21 days.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Depending on the circumstances, you will be more or less in contact with your landlord.
For example, in some cases, the landlord lives in another country, so your point of contact will be the rental agency if you are using one.
In other cases, your landlord might live in the same neighbourhood and can be easily accessed, so you can directly get in touch with them. This will vary depending on your case and according to the rental agency and the landlord practices. In any case, it's important to know who your landlord is.
4. To be protected from unfair eviction proceedings.
There are two types of eviction notices at the moment in England. The first one is Section 8 notice seeking possession when your landlord has a reason to evict you. The second one is Section 21 notice seeking possession when your landlord wants the property back at the end of your tenancy agreement. In both cases, your landlord needs to give you a notice period, and this varies from case to case. Learn more about notice periods here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: To be able to evict a tenant, a landlord needs to follow a rigorous process to make sure they are not unfair and that your rights are being respected as the tenant. These processes usually go to court and you have the right to appeal the decision.
5. To be protected from excessively high charges.
Your landlord can't increase your rent whenever they like. They need to respect the tenancy agreement and only make any change of charges after the end of the agreement. In addition, if you feel that they have increased it excessively, you can challenge them. After the end of the tenancy period, normally there is a small increase in the rent. You can always try to negotiate with them.
6. To live in the property undisturbed.
Your landlord is not allowed to show up at the property anytime. They need to give at least 24 hours notice by letting you know the reason for the visit. If your landlord shows up without previous notice, you have the right to not receive them. This is called quiet enjoyment of the property, and it's a right.
Your tenant responsibilities
At the same time, as you have rights as a tenant; you also have responsibilities:
- You must take good care of the property.
- You must pay the agreed rent, even if you're in dispute with your landlord.
- You must pay for all the agreed bills in your tenancy agreement (for example, Council tax, utility bills and others.)
- You must repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family members or friends.
- You can only sublet the property if it's agreed in the tenancy agreement.
- You should give access to the property for inspection or repairs.