When you rent a property you are expected to adhere to the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement and be responsible for things including looking after the property in the absence of the landlord, making sure you pay the rent on time, keeping up to date with utility bills and council tax payments (unless otherwise stipulated in your contact).
But what level of service and can you expect to get from your landlord or agent? What are their obligations to you and what are your rights as a tenant whilst renting? We look at the key things you’re entitled to as a renter.
What are your rights as a tenant?
You can expect your landlord or letting agent to act in a professional and timely manner in regards returning your calls/emails, particularly if they concern repairs. One of your basic rights as a tenant is to be able to live in a property that feels safe and is in a good state of repair.
Your landlord or letting agent’s responsibilities also include:
- Attending to any repairs in the property within a timely manner of your report
- Dealing with emergency repairs as soon as possible
- Acting as a buffer between yourself and the landlord in the event of a dispute concerning the property, e.g if the landlord is taking too long to give the go-ahead for a particular repair, etc
- Issuing a receipt or invoice for every payment received (for rent, a deposit, refund etc).
- Returning your deposit at the end of the tenancy (assuming you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement)
- Protecting your deposit with one of the government tenancy deposit schemes. You should be given proof of this within 30 days of (failure to do so could result in the letting agent or landlord being taken to court) Alternatively you could also use a deposit replacement scheme.
- Issuing you with a signed tenancy agreement
- Going through the inventory with you
- Providing a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate for you to view, as well as certificates showing recently completed gas and electric safety checks
- Allowing you to live in the property undisturbed - you must be given at least 24 hours notice prior to a visit from the landlord or their representative, except in the case of an emergency.
As of 1 June 2019, you also do not have to pay certain fees when setting up a new tenancy, under the Tenant Fees Act.
Where to go for further info, help and advice ?
You’ll find the legal obligations of landlords and letting agencies on the UK government’s website under Private Renting. Here you’ll find out what you can expect as a tenant, what responsibilities your landlord has and who to appeal to if you believe your rent has been increased too much.
If you live in England, you can download a copy of the government’s helpful Tenants How To Rent Guide, and for Scotland there’s a Tenant Information Pack
Your landlord should present you with one of these at the start of your tenancy. This will show they’re aware of the current government legislation regarding renting and inform you of the law around short-assured tenancies, deposit schemes and giving notice in the event you want to move out prior to the tenancy ending.
With the current pandemic affecting us all in some way, if you are struggling to pay your rent you can also find further guidance from professional advisors at Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. Canopy does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property.