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The rights and responsibilities of tenants

As a first-time tenant, or if you’re renting again for the first time in a while, it can be helpful to know your rights and responsibilities from the start.

We’ve created a comprehensive guide, outlining all your rights and responsibilities, and any additional tips which could be useful.

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Types of tenancy agreement

The most common type of tenancy agreement for people renting their home is an assured short hold tenancy (AST). Any deposit paid must be protected and at the end of the fixed term the tenancy automatically continues unless you take steps to end it.

However, there are several tenancy agreements which are available depending on your circumstances. Each of these has its own different levels of rights which you should be aware of.

More about assured shorthold tenancy

Since February 28, 1997, a tenancy will automatically be an assured shorthold tenancy provided:

  • The tenant is a private individual who pays rent (totalling less than £100,000 p.a.) to a landlord who does not live in the same building.
  • The property needs to be the tenant’s main residence.

The same applies if the tenant has moved in after 15th January 1989 and were given a notice informing them they were assured shorthold tenants. The assured shorthold tenancy law provides basic rights:

  • A tenant has the right to live in their home without being disturbed.
  • The landlord and others must have permission to visit, typically with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice.

Other conditions may be added into the tenancy agreement to be signed by the tenant and landlord depending on the circumstances.

Rent and repairs under assured shorthold tenancy

Under assured shorthold tenancy, landlords are required to carry out repairs needed to keep the building in good condition, and keep gas, electricity, heating and water equipment up to scratch, along with any other agreed work. They must also have valid gas safety certificates where needed, and furniture in the property should be fire resistant.

However, as a tenant you also have a series of obligations which must be met. These include:

  • Your agreed rent must be paid on time, or you could risk your landlord taking court action to have you evicted.
  • Similarly, all bills should be organised and paid in full on time.
  • You are responsible for looking after your home and ensuring it is clean and that simple tasks like changing bulbs and fuses and batteries for smoke alarms are completed.
  • You and your visitors must behave responsibly within the property.
  • Notifying your landlords or agents as quickly as possible when repairs are needed. Any delay in reporting a required repair, which causes additional damage to the property could be your responsibility.
  • If you’re planning to leave your property empty for more than two weeks, you should warn your landlord so they can keep a closer eye on the property during your absence.

Giving notice and eviction

A tenancy runs until it is ended by either the tenant giving notice, or landlords serving an eviction notice . As a tenant, the amount of notice you are required to give depends on the type of tenancy you have and your individual tenancy agreement.

As a tenant with a fixed term contract, you can only end your tenancy during that time if their tenancy agreement states this. If your agreement has a break clause, you may be able to break your tenancy agreement early

If you want to know more about what is expected from you as a tenant, or what your rights are under your tenancy agreement, talk to us!