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3. Understanding Your Tenancy Rights

In the United Kingdom, all tenants can sign a tenancy agreement before moving into a property. This tenancy agreement lists the various responsibilities which you are expected to follow as a tenant as well as the various rights to which you are entitled. This section of the guide will explain the various responsibilities which you are expected to uphold as a tenant as well as the rights to which you are entitled regarding your deposit and what your landlord can or cannot do.

According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, your tenancy agreement should include the following information:

  • Your name, your landlord’s name and the address of the property which is being let
  • The date upon which the tenancy began
  • Details of whether other people are allowed use of the property
  • The duration of the tenancy
  • The amount of rent payable; how often and when it should be paid
  • How often and when the rent can be increased as well as what bills are covered (e.g. council tax)
  • The amount of the deposit that you will be expected to pay and the grounds upon which it will be returned to you or if any deductions will be made
  • Whether your landlord will provide any services (e.g. laundry or maintenance of common parts) and whether there are charges for any of these services
  • The length of notice which you and your landlord need to give if the tenancy is to be ended

Within this tenancy agreement there will also be a list of responsibilities which you will be required to uphold as a tenant. The property agency Right Move outlines the various responsibilities that are required for tenants renting in the United Kingdom, which are listed as follows:

  • You are required to pay rent and bills on time (to a schedule which has been agreed upon with your landlord, i.e. one month in advance)
  • You should respect your neighbours by keeping noise levels to a reasonable level, not obstructing common areas as well as regularly placing your household rubbish in the allocated disposal bins
  • You must keep the property in an acceptable condition. As a rule, you must maintain the property to its original condition when your tenancy began
  • You must not alter the property in any way without written permission from your landlord
  • You must not sublet the property without the written permission of your landlord nor should you use it as a business
  • You should inform your landlord of any property damages or necessary replacements as soon as they occur
  • You must keep the property secure at all times; locking it when you leave and retaining all of the keys to the property
  • You are required to carry out basic cleaning and maintenance of the property; such as changing light bulbs
  • You are required to provide the landlord access to the property for an inspection as long as sufficient notice has been given
  • You must give your landlord the agreed amount of notice if you wish to vacate the property

However, you also have a series of rights as a tenant which you landlord must respect. If at any point you feel that these rights have been infringed you should consult your local authorities as well as seeking advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau:

  • Your landlord must give you 24 hours notice if they wish to gain access to your property
  • Your landlord must insure the property, look after and pay for any repairs to the structure and exterior of the property; including any electrical, heating, hot water and sanitary installations
  • You have the right to retain your deposit at the end of tenancy in full. If not, your landlord must explain why deductions have been made and provide sufficient evidence
  • You can only be evicted with a court order
  • All of the appliances, gas and electric power services in your property must be checked annually so that they are deemed safe to use
  • Your landlord must not neglect the property, change the locks without giving you a new set of keys, cut off your utilities, interfere with your mail or threaten you in any way