Know your rights in a rented property
From retrieving your deposit to changing the locks, lettings expert Alexandra Carnell explains everything you need to know about tenants’ rights.
As a tenant, it’s important to know your rights. And with four million households being privately rented as well 3.7 million socially rented, there could potentially be millions of people who are unsure of what is and isn’t acceptable from a landlord. Here you can learn the basic rights you have as a tenant.
Your rights are to be:
Safe and secure: The property you are renting needs to be safe and secure to live in. It should be warm, in good repair and free from health and safety hazards that could cause harm or illness.
Treated fairly: The Equality Act 2010 is the law that states that you must not be discriminated in housing. Unlawful discrimination includes being treated unfairly due to disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.
Protected from unfair eviction and rent: If your landlord wants to evict you, there are processes in place that your landlord must follow. If they fail to do this, you have the right to take action against them. Landlords also have to obey rules regarding rent increases.
Undisturbed: Your landlord must provide at least 24 hours’ notice should they wish to visit the property. They may need to do this to carry out inspection or repairs; however this needs to be done at a reasonable time of day unless there is an emergency. In which case, the landlord will be able to access the property immediately.
In the know of whom your landlord is: You’re entitled to the contact details of your landlord. If you’re unaware of whom your landlord is, you can write to the last person to collect your rent and request the landlord’s full name and address. You should retain a copy and send the letter by recorded delivery.
It is a criminal offence if you don’t hear back within 21 days, and your landlord could face a fine.
Provided with energy performance certificates: Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are able to give you an indication of how costly it is for the property to run in terms of gas and electricity bills, as well as the energy efficiency rating. Your landlord should show the certificate to you.
Informed if the landlord changes the locks: The locks are not to be changed by the landlord unless they inform you and provide you with a new set of keys.
Entitled to your deposit at the end of the tenancy: Your landlord is unable to keep your deposit or part of it without a good reason, and in the majority of cases they must put it in a tenancy deposit protection scheme quickly after receiving it.
Alexandra Carnell is the founder of online letting agency GetMyPropertyRented.com.
Are you renting or buying a property for the first time? Then take a look at our Savvy Renters Guide to Contents Insurance.