Tenants and landlords in any type of rented accommodation, including private rented, have certain tenancy rights and responsibilities.
The laws around private renting can be complicated. People sometimes become homeless from private rented properties because they do not know their rights. Other private renters sometimes have trouble getting repairs or work done to bring their homes up to the legal standard. We recommend that you look at information on private renting on other organisation’s websites, look at the many leaflets which are available or speak to housing advisors. See the section at the end of this chapter for information sources.
When you move into a private rented property, your landlord should ask you to sign a tenancy agreement. This will usually be a written document, but it can also be a verbal agreement. If you don't have a written agreement, you still have tenants’ rights. Most private renting tenants have a Short Assured Tenancy.
Every tenant has the right:
- To know the terms of the tenancy.
- To know the name and address of the landlord.
- To a decent standard of repair (see Repairing Standard below).
- To proper notice if the landlord wants the tenant to leave.
- To ‘quiet enjoyment’ while staying in the property.
Tenants have the right to a written tenancy agreement. It should:
- state the length of time the property is being let for
- state the amount of rent due and when it should be paid
- tell you if the rent can be increased and how it will be calculated
- say who is responsible for decoration and repair
- state if there are any conditions or restrictions to the use of the property
- state that you have the right to have a market rent determined by the private rented housing panel.
At the beginning of the tenancy or earlier, your landlord is required to provide you with written information on the relevance of the Repairing Standard provisions (including the means of enforcing the standard) to your tenancy.
In addition to these rights, you also have responsibilities. If you don't fulfil these you may face eviction.
As a tenant, you have three main areas of responsibility in relation to repairs:
- Taking good care of the property and avoid causing any damage wherever possible. If you cause damage to the property or the furniture, your landlord is entitled to make you pay for it, even if it is their responsibility to fix it.
- Letting your landlord know about any repair work that needs done.
- Allowing your landlord access to assess / carry out repairs. They should give you reasonable notice (usually at least 24 hours).
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