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A tenancy does not just give you rights – it also brings responsibilities. It is important you abide by the rules and do not break your tenancy agreement, and to get advice as soon as possible should you have problems.
Responsibility for living conditions is shared between landlords and tenants. Tenants rely on their landlords to supply them with good quality, safe accommodation. Our role is to provide advice and guidance on maintaining a healthy home environment. An example could be giving advice on how to reduce the risk of condensation dampness.
Do you need support to help you maintain your tenancy?
We liaise with landlords where property-related issues fall within their responsibility. We respond to complaints that living conditions are unsatisfactory and carry out inspections to assess if there are hazards at a property that need to be removed or reduced.
Landlords and tenants may have other rights and responsibilities depending on the type of tenancy. Most information about the different tenancy types and the rights and responsibilities associated with them, please see GOV.UK: Tenancy types.
If you share with your landlord then your rights are likely to be more limited than if you have exclusive use of the accommodation.
A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that allows the tenant to live in a property as long as they pay rent and follow the rules. Regardless of whether you are a landlord or a tenant you should always have a tenancy agreement, preferably in writing. Make sure you read your tenancy agreement through before accepting it.
Most tenancy agreements contain information about how and when a landlord can get access to the property, for example, if repairs are needed. Tenants are entitled to be given at least 24 hours notice.
The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both the tenants and the landlord. For further information on tenancy agreements take a look at citizens’ advice online.
Your landlord is obliged to protect your deposit within a Government authorised scheme. There are three approved schemes:
If any other scheme is used your deposit is not protected in law. The scheme safeguards your deposit and resolves disputes over repayment of a deposit from a landlord at the end of a tenancy. It also ensures you receive it back at the end of your tenancy, if you are entitled to it.
As a tenant you are responsible for your own contents by taking out contents insurance.
The landlord is responsible for the building insurance. For example, to cover for accidental damage to the structure, such as burst water pipes, broken windows and other similar things.
A property should be free of serious health and safety hazards. If you rent your property it is normally the responsibility of your landlord to deal with any issues in relation to this. If you are a tenant you should ask your landlord to carry out any repairs.
As a tenant you also have responsibility for the up keep of the rented accommodation you live in; you have to use your home in a responsible way. This includes:
- Keeping it reasonably clean
- Not damaging the property, and ensuring that your guests don’t either
- Carrying out minor maintenance (for example checking smoke alarm batteries)
- Using the heating properly (for example, not blocking flues or ventilation)
Landlords will not be responsible for any appliances you bought yourself so you should ensure that you have contents insurance that will cover accidental damage.
Your landlord must ensure that you are provided with adequate facilities. They need to keep these well maintained and in good repair including:
- Gas (ensure the engineer is Gas Safe Registered) and electricity, supply, lighting, space heating and hot water
- Toilet facilities, baths, sinks, wash hand basins
- Facilities for cooking and storing food
- Windows and other means of ventilation
- Any outbuildings, yards, forecourts or gardens used in common
- Boundary walls, fences and railings maintained so as not to be a danger to residents.
- Facilities for the disposal of litter and refuse.
Ask your landlord to put things right and ask for a timescale for getting works done.
Tenants may be evicted if they do not follow certain basic rules, such as:
- Paying their rent
- Not causing a nuisance
- Being responsible for visitors and guests
- Looking after the property and not damaging it
Tenants are protected against harassment and illegal eviction in two ways. Harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences. Someone who is being harassed or has been illegally evicted by their landlord can claim damages through the civil court. The council has the power to prosecute landlords for harassment of their tenants.
If you are forced to leave the property due to some activity carried out by your landlord or someone acting on their behalf, this is an illegal eviction. Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, we have the power to prosecute landlords for the illegal eviction of their tenants.
- GOV.UK: Types of tenancy
- Deposit Protection Services (DPS)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
- Gas Safe Registered
- Shelter – harassment & illegal eviction advice
- GOV.UK: Rent arrears guidance
- GOV.UK: Ending a tenancy
- GOV.UK: How to rent
- GOV.UK: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
- Tenant – does your Landlord need a licence (HMO)
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