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A privately renting tenant has the right to the landlord or estate agent's contact details, proof of the Energy Performance Certificate for the property, protection from unfair evictions and the right to live in a safe property that is in a good state of repair.
Tenants’ rights will differ when renting from the council or housing association, these rights can be found on the Citizen's Advice website.
Generally, a tenant will be responsible for keeping the home in a good state of repair, whilst general wear and tear of the property over time is expected. However, Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act states the landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating. A tenant is only expected to report the issues to the landlord as soon as possible and the landlord must carry out the repairs in a reasonable time. The reasonableness for the issue to be resolved will be determined by the urgency of the repair.
Running into problems with the landlord or having issues with the property is very common when renting. The tenancy itself will outline the tenants’ rights and the landlords’ responsibilities. Tenants should only carry out repairs if stated in the tenancy agreement and this cannot be forced.
Rights on ending a tenancy can be found in the agreement which indicates the amount of notice each party would need to provide the other if they wanted to end the tenancy agreement. However, both the landlord and the tenant cannot end a fixed term agreement early without the other person agreeing or where there are serious concerns regarding the tenant’s behaviour. For example, if the tenant stopped paying rent or exhibited antisocial behaviour, the landlord may be able to serve a section 8 notice asking them to leave the property.
However, where there are no concerns, the landlord would need to serve a section 21 notice giving the tenant at least 2 months’ notice to leave the property and this cannot be before the end of the fixed term agreement. For the section 21 notice to be valid, the landlord must
For assured shorthold tenancies, a deposit is usually paid before moving into a rented property. The landlord must protect the deposit in a government-approved deposit scheme within 30 days of the tenancy beginning.
Following the end of the tenancy, the landlord may deduct any cost for damage to the property or owed rent from the deposit, but this cannot be for general wear and tear of the property. The landlord must inform the tenant of any deductions they intend to make, and the landlord must return the remaining deposit within 10 days of agreeing any deductions.
If there is a dispute relating to the deductions or the landlord refuses to pay the deposit back, a tenant can formally request the return of the deposit in writing. If the landlord does not comply, the tenant can notify the tenancy deposit scheme used by the landlord.
If a tenant finds that the deposit has not been protected, then this can be challenged, the tenant will have the right to apply to a county court for the deposit to be paid back and for a claim in compensation. In most cases, if the landlord should have protected the deposit, the court can order the landlord to pay up to 3 times the deposit value.
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