Every tenant in the UK has rights, but there are differences according to certain situations, such as when the tenancy is a private one. Renting from a private landlord has major rights and responsibilities that are indicated in the tenancy agreement. It is vital for you and every tenant to know and understand each one, starting with your rights.
Tenants’ rights and responsibilities are listed in a tenancy agreement. It is similar to a written contract and contains pertinent information about the tenancy. Some landlords do not draw an agreement in writing, but this does not mean they do not have rights and responsibilities to adhere to. Verbal tenancy agreements are also legally binding.
Before you start your tenancy, it will be a big help if you read through the agreement and understand each item indicated there. If there is something that confuses you, don’t hesitate to ask your landlord or someone with knowledge and experience in tenancy agreements (such as a solicitor). Be sure to sign the agreement only when you completely understand everything it contains.
There are two parts of a tenancy agreement: implied terms and express terms.
Implied terms refer to rights that do not necessarily have to be written into the agreement because they are customs and practices that are considered legal rights.
Express terms are the items indicated in the tenancy agreement or rent book – expressed verbally or in writing.
The tenancy agreement has all the information you need about your tenant rights.
Your rights as a private tenant
As a private property tenant, you are privileged to have the following rights:
1. You have the legal right to know your landlord’s name and address. If your landlord is a company, you have the right to know each of the directors’ names and addresses. Additionally, you should be immediately provided information before a transfer or sale is to take place.
2. You have the right to live in a property that is in a good state of repair. You have the right to feel safe, comfortable, and convenient in your rented home.
3. If you plan to pay your rent on a weekly basis, your landlord is legally required to give you a rent book for tenants. This book will help keep track of your weekly rent payments. It should provide your landlord’s name and address, the type of tenancy, and your rent rate (payable).
Landlords who do not provide their weekly rate tenants with a rent book can be liable for criminal prosecution.
4. You have the right to live in your rented home in peace. You should feel safe and comfortable in the property. There should not be any distractions or disturbances.
5. Your tenant is legally responsible to protect your deposit if you are in an assured shorthold tenancy. At the end of your tenancy, you should get back your deposit, but only if you stay true to the terms of your tenancy agreement. You have to leave the property in good condition – no damages and issues, and you should have paid your rent on time and in full.
6. It is your right to ask your landlord for a copy of the EPC or energy performance certificate – and the rating should be no lower than an E.
7. It is your right as a privately assured shorthold tenancy renter to be protected from unfair eviction and unfair or unreasonable rent.
8. When starting a new tenancy, you have the right to refuse payment of fees that are not acceptable under the Tenant Fee Ban or the Tenant Fees Act.
The only payments that are allowed are related to tenancy deposit, rent holding deposit, fees for damages resulting from breach of agreement, relevant default fees, and fees that are connected with renters’ requests for tenancy surrender, assignment, or variation.
Only permitted payments that are connected with a license to occupy housing, an assured shorthold tenancy, and tenancies that are given to students by a chosen educational institution are allowed under the Tenant Fees Act.
9. You have the right to be protected from unlawful discrimination, including harassment, direct and indirect discrimination, and victimization of renters or probable renters (under The Equality Act 2010).
10. You have the right to challenge your landlord if they ask you to pay excessively high charges.
11. Your right to file a tenancy deposit protection compensation claim to get back the deposit that your landlord deducted from or withheld.
Your right to file a claim
You are legally allowed to bring your landlord to court if they illegally withheld or deducted money from your deposit. Your landlord can only withhold your money if they have a legal reason to do so, particularly if you damaged the property and did not get the dilapidated areas fixed. They can use your money to pay for the repair costs.
However, if you return the property to your private landlord in good condition, similar to its condition when you moved in, they have zero reasons to withhold or deduct from your deposit. You’ll need the expertise and experience of a team of solicitors who are familiar with the ins and outs of tenancy deposits and disputes, particularly if the landlord has not protected the deposit. The solicitors at Tenancy Deposit Claims are regulated and authorized by The Solicitors Regulation Authority, so using their services greatly increases your chances of getting a successful deposit protection claim.