As a tenant living in privately rented accommodation, you have rights. It’s important you’re aware of these, as well as the responsibilities it’s equally important you uphold.

In this helpful guide, we’ll cover tenants rights in the UK to make sure you’re aware of what you need to know before you sign your tenancy agreement.

Your rights as a tenant

If you respond to a house or flat listing and the advertiser is a ‘live out landlord’ or is an agent then this person will be managing your tenancy.

While we’re on this point – if you are renting through an agency, you have the right to know who your landlord is. You can request this information from your point of contact and your landlord is required to provide this information to you within 21 days. If you are not provided with this information in this period of time, your landlord can be fined.

All tenancies commenced from 28 February 1997 have automatically been an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or AST. To ensure you and your landlord or agent are both comfortable and happy with terms and arrangements, you will have a tenancy agreement document.

If you live in England, you should be provided with a copy of the how to rent guide and if you live in Scotland a tenant information pack should be given to you.  

If you have a tenancy then it should be compliant with the law and also be fair. This agreement should be co-signed by both you and the landlord before you move in to ensure you are provided with your rights as a tenant.  

The tenants rights are as follows:

  • To live in a property that is safe and in a decent state of repair.
  • To have your deposit returned to you when your tenancy finishes. This is clearly providing you meet the requirements of your agreement. Your deposit should also be protected via a scheme by your landlord during the term of your tenancy.  
  • To have the ability to challenge any charges you deem to be ‘excessively high’.
  • To know who your landlord is (details as above).
  • To live in the property undisturbed.
  • To see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property you are renting.
  • To be protected from unfair rent prices and eviction.
  • To have an agreement in writing if you have a fixed-term tenancy of over three years.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

While you should be well versed in what your rights are as a tenant, you should also be aware that you have responsibilities to uphold during your tenancy. Carrying out your responsibilities is vital, because your landlord has the legal right to evict you should you breach your agreement.

Your responsibilities as a tenant are as follows:

  • To take appropriate and thorough care of the property.
  • To pay the rent as agreed – this is the case even if you are in dispute with your landlord for any reason or you are awaiting repairs.
  • To pay other bills or charges as were agreed with the landlord (utility bills, Council Tax etc).
  • To pay for or repair all damage caused by you or any guests.
  • To only sublet the property if it has been agreed with your landlord or if the tenancy agreement states you are allowed to.

Additionally, and as previously stated, you do have the right to live in the property undisturbed, but you must allow the landlord access for inspections or maintenance repairs. During your rental period the space is yours, so from their side, they must give you a notice period of 24 hours for these kinds of visits.

Any planned visit must also obviously be at a reasonable or acceptable time of day, too. If the situation is an emergency, the 24-hour rule clearly needs to be relaxed.

As long as you follow the above guidelines and don’t breach the terms of your tenancy agreement, the landlord can’t evict you during the term of your contract.

Hopefully, our tenancy guide has provided you with the information you need. You should now know your rights as a tenant, what you are responsible for and also the documents you should be provided with when you commence a new tenancy.

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