Rights and Responsibilities as a tenant
Renting your own place is a huge and exciting step to take, but is one that comes with responsibilities. As a tenant, you will receive a lot of paperwork which will set out specific rights and responsibilities for renting the property in question. It is very important you read through these to know what you are agreeing to. However, if you are renting or considering letting out a property for the first time, it is hard to know what is normal. This article shall cover the rights and responsibilities tenants can expect which can help well-informed decisions be made before, and during, the tenancy.
As a tenant, you will have responsibilities whilst you are renting out a property. These are some of the key obligations:
Pay your rent: potentially the most important and fundamental responsibility you will have as a tenant is to pay your rent in full and on time. You agree to this within a tenancy contract.
Pay all your bills: as well as paying your rent, you will also have to pay your bills in a timely manner. Standard bills include utilities (gas, water, electric), internet, a TV licence and council tax.
Look after the property: this is expected of you throughout the tenancy. It includes keeping the property clean and in a good condition. Carrying out minor maintenance tasks, such as changing light bulbs, are expected too. Make sure you report all necessary repairs to the landlord or managing agent so they can organise someone to carry out the work promptly and to a high standard.
Be considerate of your neighbours: this is particularly important, as complaints of anti-social behaviour can lead to eviction. You will also be responsible for any visitors to the property and their behaviour too.
You have many rights as a tenant, some of which may not be clear just from reading your tenancy contract. Some of your key rights are as follows:
Landlord responsibilities: the landlord fulfilling their responsibilities is an important part of your rights. Major landlord’s responsibilities which are related to your rights are:
- Providing suitable landlord’s insurance for the property; this is very important and covers the building and supplied contents in case of fire or flood etc.
- Maintaining the building and contents supplied and organising any required repairs
- Installing fire alarms and where necessary, carbon monoxide detectors
- Dealing with issues regarding gas, water and electrical supply
- Arranging gas and electrical safety checks
Deposit safeguarding: your deposit is legally required to be safeguarded during your tenancy in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme (TDP). The deposit should be returned to you in full, provided everything is in the same condition as at the commencement of your tenancy, allowing for reasonable wear and tear. If your deposit is unfairly reduced when returned to you, the TDP can help you resolve the dispute with your landlord.
Notice before eviction: with Assured Shorthold tenancies (AST), the most common form of tenancy agreement, and periodic tenancies, the landlord is required to give you 2 months notice, in writing, before they can gain repossession of the property. Additionally, with AST, repossession can’t occur within the agreed ‘fixed term’ unless both parties assent or you breach the terms of the tenancy.
Eviction process: for any rented properties, you can only be evicted if the correct legal procedure is followed and you are provided with a court order. It is unlikely this will occur, but if it does, it is usually because the terms of tenancy have been broken.
Landlord access: you have the right to live in your home interrupted and without interference. The landlord or agency therefore has to give you 24 hours notice before accessing the property.
We hope you are now more confident in knowing the rights owed to tenants, as well as their responsibilities. If you are considering letting out a property, make sure you are aware of the duties of a landlord and importantly, seek quality, comprehensive landlord’s insurance. The Insurance Store offers great choice for picking the best policy – you can rest assured you are getting what you need at the best price. Contact us today for quotes and further enquiries.