Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant will protect you during your tenancy duration. If you don’t know what you’re responsible for, you may fall into a conflict with the landlord. Likewise, if you don’t know the landlord’s responsibility, you may be susceptible to forced evictions or sudden rent increases.
Knowing everything is essential for your protection in the long term. Here’s everything you need to know.
Your Rights as a Tenant
As a tenant, you have some rights that the landlord needs to fulfil. So when anything falls out of order, you know you need to take action. So here are all the rights you have:
- To live in a safe property that’s in a good state.
- To know your landlord’s identity.
- To have access to all essential utilities, including electricity, water, and heat.
- To get your deposit back once the tenancy agreement ends. Of course, that’s unless you did damages to the property or paid late rent.
- To be treated equally regardless of your religion, race, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Not having to pay extra fees for anything not agreed upon.
- Not to receive surprise visits from the landlord unless there’s an emergency. You need to have a prior notice of 24 or 48 hours, which should be agreed upon in your agreement.
- To have the right to object to the charges you think are too high for the service you’re getting.
- To be protected from unfair eviction.
- To have the essential copies of legal documents.
Your Responsibilities as a Tenant
Like the landlord has responsibilities, you have some, as well. If you don’t fulfil these responsibilities, you may be charged extra fees, and you may eventually be prone to eviction.
- Taking care of the property well, including the garden and the house.
- Keeping the house safe from thieves by keeping the windows and doors locked when you’re not inside.
- Paying the rent regardless of any conflicts between you and the landlord—even if there are repairs you need to be done.
- Paying the bills that need to be paid, such as taxes and utility bills—that’s if you agreed on that with the landlord in the tenancy agreement.
- Paying for any repairs you did or damages you caused.
- Following the legal boundaries of your area.
- Keeping the noise at a reasonable level for the sake of your neighbours.
- Reporting any repairs that need to be done to the landlord.
- Letting the landlord access the property whenever you need repairs done—that’s as long as the landlord abides by the prior notice.
- Not letting other people live in the property with you without informing the landlord.
- Ensuring to lock up properly when you’re going away for a while—to avoid incidents like water pipes breaking in winter.
- Keeping the property clean at all times and when it is time for the end of tenancy cleaning.
The Landlord’s Repair Responsibilities
During your tenancy agreement period, your landlord is responsible for repairing everything that needs fixing. That’s unless you’re the one who did the damage.
The landlord needs to do any repairs needed for the property’s structure and exterior. Those include the following:
- External pipes
On top of that, the landlord is responsible for any repairs related to the bathrooms. Those include the toilet, bath, basin, sink, and of course, the pipework.
Lastly, the responsibility extends to include everything related to the essential utilities, including these items:
- Gas pipes
- Water pipes
- Water tanks
- Electrical wiring
- Gas fires
- Electric fires
The landlord isn’t allowed to require you to pay for any of these repairs. It’s their responsibility to pay, so you have the right to object. Additionally, these responsibilities are mandatory; they can’t be removed in the written tenancy agreement.
It’s worth noting, though, that it’s the landlord’s right to be informed of any repairs that need to be done beforehand. So, make sure to report a problem when it happens immediately.
How to Protect Yourself From Eviction
For your landlord to evict you, he needs to have a solid reason, along with a First-tier Tribunal eviction order. Some of the reasons provided can be not paying the rent, damaging the property, or having illegal or loud parties in the house.
Nevertheless, the landlord still has to go through all the legal procedures before evicting a tenant. Those include giving you a prior notice with the reason stated.
Here are the rules that the landlord needs to abide by to avoid an unfair eviction:
- Give the tenant a prior notice of two months
- Not forcing the tenant out if there’s not a court order
- Providing enough grounds for eviction if the fixed term tenancy isn’t done yet
If you’re worried you’re subject to an unfair eviction, you can talk to your local council. You should also contact the council if the landlord forces you out by cutting off essential utilities or entering the property without prior notice.
Tenancy Information You Should Have
As a tenant, there is some information you must have during your tenancy period. The law entitles this information, and it’s among the landlord’s responsibility to ensure you have it. Here’s everything you should have:
- The How to Rent in England guide provided by the government
- The local authority license
- The Energy Performance Certificate (A copy)
- The gas safety certificate (A copy)
In addition to these documents, you need to have the Prescribed Information, which involves protecting the deposit you paid. It basically covers how your deposit is protected and whether you can check its status whenever you want.
The Prescribed Information is essential because it ensures your deposit is safe until it returns to your pockets.
To Sum Up
Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant protects both you and your landlord. When you know what’s expected from you, you can make sure to clean and preserve the property according to the agreement. Plus, you know what needs to be done, including repairs and maintenance.
On the other hand, knowing what to expect from your landlord protects you during your agreement period. That way, you can have a comfortable stay and keep your mind at ease.