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If you’re new to renting, or you need a refreshment on your tenant rights, this brief 101 guide is the perfect read for you. A quick and handy overview of the most essential rights and responsibilities you have as a tenant. Protected and bound by the tenancy agreement. 

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and even though you don’t own your rented property, it is nice to move all your things in and make it your own.

It’s important to remember what’s included within your tenancy agreement – this includes understanding what’s within the agreement and what/when you have to pay things by. Making sure you do this at the start will help make sure your tenancy runs as smoothly as possible.

Don't leave your home empty for long periods

Tell your landlord if you will be leaving your home for any length of time, for example, because you need to go to the hospital, or are going away on holiday. The landlord will need to know this for security reasons – plus if you don’t tell them, they might think you've abandoned the property.

As a tenant, you’re expected to look after the property on a daily basis and ensure that every aspect of the accommodation is functioning properly. If you take notice of a malfunction or issues with any element in the property, you’re responsible for notifying your landlord and assisting them to resolve the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Keep your rent update

Check your tenancy agreement or ask your landlord to clarify how much your rent is, and what day you’ve agreed to pay it on.

If you ever have problems paying your rent, get advice – your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to offer guidance and information on how to manage your money.

If you claim housing benefits to help pay your rent, you must also keep your claim and personal details up-to-date. If your circumstances change in any way you must let your local housing benefit department know straight away.

Pay your bills and services

 You may also have to pay service charges for things like communal cleaning or gardening. Your tenancy agreement will have more information on this. Make sure you’re aware of what you need to pay and arrange regular payments if you fall into arrears with your supplier(s).

If you have been late on rent payments, or have skipped portions or entire payments, it’s safe to assume they will undisputedly be discounted from your security deposit.

The landlord is likely to open a deduction dispute when there is damage to the interior of the property, the furniture, or the appliances. A fair tribunal will be provided by the tenancy deposit scheme decided by an impartial adjudicator.

Report repairs and take care of your home

 You should always look after the property as best you can - and avoid causing damage to it or to your neighbors' properties.

Landlords are generally responsible for the repair and maintenance of the exterior and structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring, and central heating. They’re also required to ensure gas and electrical appliances comply with safety standards.

As a tenant, you’re responsible for:

  • Looking after internal decorations, furniture, and equipment. This doesn't include 'fair wear and tear' – if the carpet becomes a little thin, it's fair wear and tear, but if you burn a hole in it, you will probably have to pay for the damage

  • Making sure you use safe appliances

  • Reporting any repairs needed or other problems you think your landlord should be aware of

  • Repairing or replacing items you break or damage that belongs to the landlord, - keep receipts for this, in case there is any dispute at the end of your tenancy

  • Disposing of your rubbish properly

  • Not breaking any terms in your tenancy agreement regarding smoking, pets, and parking for example

  • Heating the property adequately, particularly during winter to avoid frozen and burst pipes

  • Making sure the property is kept well ventilated, to help avoid condensation and dampness

Your rights as a tenant

 As well as responsibilities, you also have a number of rights as a tenant. Below is a list of what you should expect from your landlord, and what information you’re entitled to as part of your tenancy agreement:

  • A property that’s safe and in a good state of repair

  • A protected deposit that’s returned when the tenancy ends

  • Details about who he/she is

  • To live in the property undisturbed

  • To see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property

  • Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent. If you feel you’re being charged excessively high fees, feel free to challenge them

  • Have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years

As a tenant moving into private rented property, you have a number of rights and responsibilities, just like your landlord. These rights and responsibilities are often defined in your tenancy agreement so, if you’re unsure, you should contact your landlord or estate agent as soon as possible for your questions.

If you don’t meet these responsibilities or are found to be in breach of your tenancy agreement, then your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you. This is the last resort and something that neither you nor the landlord wants things to come to. 

If you have further questions about your tenancy agreement or about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, comment down below. You could also get in touch with our expert local agents for more information. Call us on 020 7482 1150