Before you start your tenancy with a private landlord, it is vital that you take time to learn everything that you can about your rights as a private rented property tenant.
What is a private rented property tenant?
A private rented property tenant lives in rented properties that are owned by private landlords. These landlords can be individuals, institutional investors, estate agencies, property companies, or management companies. Landlords can lease the properties directly to their tenants or through registered and licensed letting agencies.
The private rented sector (PRS) makes up a significant percentage of the UK rental property market. In 2017 alone, there were approximately 4.5 million private rental properties in the UK housing market.
There are two categories under the private rented sector: the market renters and non-market renters.
Market renters are individuals who live in rented properties according to a tenancy agreement. They pay market rent according to a set schedule. Non-market renters are those tenants who occupy a property rent-free as an employment benefit (such as when you are the caretaker of a building or rental unit) or because the home or unit is owned by a relative or friend who allowed them to live rent-free.
Like social housing or council tenants, private tenants also have rights and responsibilities.
Your rights and responsibilities as a private tenant
One of your rights as a tenant is for your landlord to provide you with a tenancy agreement, which is a landlord-tenant contract indicating the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Tenancy agreements can be verbal or written.
In your tenancy agreement, you will find your rights as a private property tenant:
- You have the right to live in a rental home that is in a good state of repair; a private rental home that is safe.
- You have the right to a return of deposit at the end of your tenancy.
- You have the right to know your landlord’s identity.
- You have the right to see and verify the EPC or energy performance certificate of the property, which should have a minimum rating of E.
- You have the right to live undisturbed in the rented property.
- If your tenancy is a fixed-term good for over three years, you have the right to ask for a written agreement.
- You have the right to challenge excessively high charges.
- You have the right to demand protection against unfair eviction and unfair rent.
In addition to the above-mentioned rights, you also have to adhere to your responsibilities as a private tenant.
- It is your responsibility to take care of the rented property. As such, you should not cause any damage to the furniture and fixtures, and the property in general.
- It is your responsibility to pay the property rent according to the amount agreed upon and the set schedule. Even if you are in the middle of a dispute or waiting for your landlord to act on repairs, you have to pay your rent.
- Pay your bills on time, particularly the ones that are indicated in the tenancy agreement. Common bills include TV licence fees, utility bills, and council tax.
Your landlord has the right to take action against you if it is proven that you do not or did not follow your tenancy agreement, specifically your responsibilities.
In the same manner, you have the right to file a complaint against your landlord if they do not follow their responsibilities and go rogue.
- Landlords in England, Wales, and Scotland are not allowed to collect from tenants’ charges for credit checks, admin fees, police or reference checks, and tenancy contract renewal.
- However, landlords are responsible for collecting charges for your utilities & council tax fees, rent, refundable damage deposit, refundable holding deposit, early tenancy end fee, tenancy changes fee, and fees for late rent payments, misplaced or lost keys, and property damage.
- Landlords are responsible for ensuring the rental property is safe and habitable. There should be safe access to electricity and gas, and water supply must be available at all times.
- Landlords are also responsible for certain repair issues, specifically the ones that affect your health and safety.
- Lastly, landlords are required to register your tenancy deposit with any of the three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes (TDS). This will ensure your money is safe from landlords’ personal use and can be returned to you at the end of your tenancy.
Your responsibility to report landlords
If you value your rights and strictly carry out your responsibilities but your landlord is negligent and rogue, it is your responsibility and right to take action against them. The most common issue for such situations is if the landlord has not protected your deposit within the given time.
Find a team of expert and experienced tenancy deposit solicitors who can help you go through the legal proceedings of a deposit protection compensation claim. These experts are dedicated to helping tenants like you exercise your legal rights and get back what your landlord owes you. Their tenant deposit protection claims do not have upfront payments and offer a no-win-no-fee feature, which means you won’t have to pay any of their legal fees if you are unsuccessful.
Choose to work with the tenancy deposit experts at Tenancy Deposit Claims as they are authorised and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority.