Understanding Your Rights And Responsibilities As A Tenant

Settling into your new place is the first thing on your mind when you’ve moved everything in and have all the bills, rent payments and so on sorted. This leaves you free to enjoy yourself in comfort, but are there any limits to what you can do within your four walls?

All tenants have a list of rights and responsibilities that they should be aware of. They cover everything from keeping their home tidy to quiet enjoyment and are pretty easy to follow without taking too much effort. We list both so that you know what can and can’t be done. 

Tenant Responsibilities

Paying rent on-time

This is by far the biggest responsibility a tenant can have. In order to keep living where you are, paying your rent on-time is a must. Ensure that there’s enough money in your account to cover the cost of renting each month and you should be fine.

In the event of you not being able to pay on time, it’s worth contacting your landlord/letting agent as soon as you can. Let them know that you can’t pay and when, if at all, you can afford to do so.

Keeping your rental property tidy

This can be tricky, particularly if you lead a busy lifestyle. Fortunately, if you make sure to clean the flat every two weeks by wiping the surfaces, vacuuming the floor and dusting everything, it should take care of itself. This is useful as most properties are inspected every three months or so by the property manager.

Handle with care

For everything that was in the flat before you moved in, try to be careful with it. This applies for doors, windows, walls, furnishings, appliances and floors. While reasonable wear and tear is to be expected, if something breaks due to recklessness, you as the tenant will likely be held responsible for fixing it.

Be good to your neighbours

Another responsibility that doesn’t take a lot of work, being considerate to your neighbours is a must. This means keeping the sound down on your TV or radio to a reasonable level, not talking too loudly and keeping communal areas tidy and free from clutter. The odd “Hello” to your neighbours is worth saying now and again too.

Keeping your home ventilated

During winter and summer, it pays to keep your home well ventilated. In summer, this means keeping windows open so that air can circulate freely, while in winter, it’s a must to have the heating on in order to keep damp and condensation at bay. If damp does appear and you haven’t put the heating on, this could put your tenancy at risk.

Tenant Rights

Right to quiet enjoyment

Your landlord/letting agent should respect your right to quiet enjoyment. This means that they can only come to your home if they notify you beforehand, whether it’s for a routine visit, inspection or otherwise.

Right to live in a safe home

You have the right to live in a home that passes all of the safety laws that landlords must obey. This means that all locks should be secure and that the home is fitted with smoke alarms, a fire alarm and CO2 alarm if it has a gas supply. The electrical wiring and water pipes should be in full working order as well.

Deposit protection scheme

The deposit you paid for renting your home should be kept safe by your landlord or letting agency. They should be signed up to a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme and, once your tenancy comes to an end, should be paid back to you in full.

Easy access to your landlord/property manager

In case of emergencies or unexpected fees/rent increases, you should be able to get in touch with your landlord or property manager. They should give you a phone number, email address and postal address so that you can contact them when necessary.

Tenancy agreement

The most important piece of paperwork you will receive when moving in, the letting agent/landlord should issue you with a tenancy agreement. It should say how long you can live there for as a minimum, what you can and can’t do in your property and be fully compliant with the law.

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