Renting: Your rights and responsibilities

May 1, 2019

The argument we most often hear when considering whether to rent or buy is: ‘Why would you pay monthly rent to a landlord instead of building equity in a home for yourself?’

But there are many reasons why renting may be a better solution for you. You may not be in a position, financially, to buy just yet. Or you may need flexibility to move around due to your job or family arrangements. Or perhaps you want to check out the area before you commit to putting down your roots.

As a tenant moving into a private rented property, both you, and your landlord, have a number of rights but you also have some important responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities are often defined in your tenancy agreement.

When you enter an assured shorthold tenancy – the most common type – you are entering into a contractual arrangement, enforceable by law. So it is imperative to know what your rights and responsibilities are.

Your rights

As a tenant, you have the right to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair, and have quiet enjoyment of that property.

You also have the right to:

  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent

You should also have a written agreement from your landlord if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years. The tenancy agreement should be fair and comply with the law.

Make sure that your landlord gives you a copy of the How to rent guide. Landlords have a responsibility to do this by law.

Your responsibilities

You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.

You must also:

  • take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
  • pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
  • pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
  • repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
  • only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows you to do so.

Your landlord’s rights

  • As the owner of the property the landlord has the right to repossess it at the end of the fixed period of the assured tenancy as long as the correct period of notice is given in writing. The notice period is two months.
  • Your landlord may also apply to the courts for a repossession order if you have breached the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.
  • Your landlord may also take possession of your rented home if:
  • rent is unpaid for two months on a monthly contract, one quarter if due quarterly, or three months overdue on an annual agreement, usually gives the landlord an automatic right to repossess the property.
  • The tenant has breached one or more parts of their tenancy agreement relating to their obligations under the agreement.
  • The tenant or someone living with the tenant have allowed parts or all of the property to deteriorate, or has damaged furniture or fittings. If the person causing the deterioration is not the tenant, but not removed by the tenant, this is grounds for a Possession Order.
  • The tenant or someone living with the tenant is causing a disturbance and nuisance to neighbours or visitors to the neighbourhood.
  • The tenant is using the property for illegal or immoral purposes, or has been convicted of an offence.
  • The tenant or someone acting on instruction of the tenant has given false information to the landlord, which resulted in the granting of the tenancy.

The facts in this article are, to the best of our knowledge, correct and up-to-date at the time of writing. If you would like more information about renting or our letting agent services in  North Somerset, call Niki Urch, our letting expert, on 01934 314242

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