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Tenants rights in rented property

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With mortgage lenders now demanding higher deposits and house prices out of reach of more people, rental accommodation is becoming a more popular option. However, tenants aren’t always aware of their rights and the responsibilities their landlord has. If you live in a rented property, this guide will help you understand your basic rights and ensure you don’t lose out.

Most landlords provide a good level of service and quality accommodation. There will always be a minority, though, who can cause problems for their tenants. If you have an issue with your landlord, you should first try and resolve it amicably. If this isn’t possible, then you need to seek advice about taking further action. Citizens Advice can provide help and information on housing problems.

It’s important that you know exactly what’s expected of you and the landlord as part of your tenancy agreement. Before you sign anything, make sure that you read through the agreement as this could stop any problems occurring in the future.

Visiting the property

Your landlord cannot just turn up at the property or visit without a genuine reason. They must arrange a visit in advance for repairs, inspections or other routine issues.

Rent increases

A landlord can only increase your rent at specific times, unless you agree otherwise. If you have a fixed term tenancy, then they can put the rent up when it’s renewed or before if you are in agreement. For periodic tenancies they can’t increase it more than once a year without agreeing it with you. Any increases must be fair and in line with average rents in the area. The landlord must give you a months’ notice before putting the rent up.

Maintenance responsibilities

The property must be maintained well and be fit for people to live in, including adequately heated and ventilated and with good lighting. The landlord must ensure that it’s in a good state of repair and carry out any necessary maintenance. This includes:

–        Structural and exterior repairs

–        Plumbing

–        Heating and hot water

–        Gas appliances and fittings

–        Electrical wiring

If the damage is caused by something you did then you could be required to pay for the repairs.

All gas appliances must be checked and certified as part of an annual gas safety check. The landlord should provide you with a copy of the report when you take on the tenancy and when a new check is carried out.

If any furniture or electrical appliances are included with the property, they must be checked and certified safe. The property should also be fitted with enough working smoke detectors.

Your deposit

The deposit for the property must be placed in an approved tenancy deposit scheme, which you should receive details of. This offers you protection if the landlord decides to withhold some of the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

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Eviction

If the landlord decides he wants to evict you, then he must follow the procedures set out in the tenancy agreement. He can’t forcibly evict you by entering the property or harass you into leaving. If there is a dispute about the eviction, then it might be necessary for him to seek a court order.

If any issues arise with the property then it’s important that you contact the landlord as soon as possible. They can’t be expected to rectify the situation if they’re not aware of it. Keeping in contact with them is the best way of developing a professional relationship that will hopefully reduce any issues arising.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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