Whether you are a Landlord or a Tennant you should always have a Tenancy Agreement. A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement in writing that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It will contain details such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable and what is and isn't allowed in the property, such as pets, smoking, children.
Tenants have legal rights and duties. These legal rights derive from general landlord/tenant law as well as from any written or verbal tenancy agreement between you and the landlord. Duties include paying your rent, keeping the place in good order, avoiding damage or nuisance and complying with any special terms set down in your tenancy agreement, verbal or written. It may be more difficult to assert your rights where you have broken conditions of your tenancy. UK tenants have certain rights depending on what sort of tenancy they have. This depends on the type of accommodation they are living in and the date they moved in.
Most private tenants automatically have an assured shorthold tenancy. However they will probably not be an assured short-hold tenant if:
- They share accommodation with their landlord
- They moved in before 15 January 1989
- Their landlord is their employer
Tenants may have agreed extra rights with their landlord. These could be in written or verbal form. These can only add to the automatic rights they have that come from the law. Regardless of what their tenancy agreement says landlords cannot take away basic legal rights from tenants.
The majority of tenants have the right to live in their accommodation and stop other people from entering without permission. They also have the right to the following:
Right to repairs:
All landlords have a responsibility to keep the structure and outside of the accommodation in good condition and free from disrepair. Landlords must also keep the equipment for the supply of water, gas, and electricity in good repair.
Rights to safety:
Landlords must have a valid gas safety certificate from a registered gas engineer for each appliance in any accommodation they rent out. Furniture provided by your landlord should be fire resistant.
Right to end the tenancy:
Both landlords and tenants have to give the correct notice in order to end a tenancy.
As a tenant you are entitled to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your home. Your landlord is only allowed enter with your permission. If the landlord needs to carry out repairs or inspect the premises, it should be by prior arrangement with you. If the property is put up for sale, ask the landlord to agree viewing times with you. If your landlord repeatedly enters your flat without your permission contact Threshold for advice.
You are entitled to have friends to stay overnight, unless specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement. An extra person moving in would be a different matter.
You should check with your landlord if there are set conditions about parties and noise. Remember the landlord has duties to other tenants and neighbours. If noise from other tenants or neighbours is causing a nuisance to you, tell your landlord. You may also make a complaint to your local authority, which has some power to act, or to the local District Court under the Environmental Protection Act, 1992 (Noise) Regulations, which can make an Order to deal with the nuisance. Contact Threshold, your local authority or District Court for more information.
Your landlord must, by law, ensure that your flat complies with certain minimum standards (e.g. free from damp, in good structural repair, hot and cold water, adequate means of heating and ventilation, appliances in good working order, electrical wiring, gas, pipes in good repair). If your flat does not comply with these standards, report it to your local authority or the Private Residential Tenancies Board. An inspection will be carried out and the landlord ordered to do any necessary repairs. Contact Threshold, the Private Residential Tenancies Board or your local authority for further advice.
A landlord is not entitled to disconnect the power or water supply.