If you’re currently in the London rental market, it’s good to know your legal rights and responsibilities – and how to quickly solve any common issues that might come up.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
When it comes to looking after the property, some responsibilities have your name on them, and others are down to your landlord. For instance, most repairs should be paid for by the landlord, but you still need to be aware of general upkeep and admin.
Part of your legal responsibility means:
- Looking after the property (and garden) and taking steps to prevent damage.
- Repairing or paying for any damage caused by misuse.
- Paying the rent even if you’re waiting for the landlord to make repairs.
- Paying other charges such as Council Tax and utility bills.
- Not subletting the property without your landlord’s permission.
That covers the main legal responsibilities, but there might be other things too. Check your tenancy agreement and make a note of what’s expected before signing on the dotted line.
Your rights as a tenant
Just because you’re renting, it doesn’t mean it’s all one way. You also need to know your rights as a tenant, and these start before you even move in. For instance, your landlord should register your deposit safely in a Deposit Protection Scheme, which gives you protection in the event of a dispute later on, and give you a copy of the How to Rent Guide and the Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
On top of that, you have the right to:
- Rent a property that’s in a good state of repair and without health hazards.
- Live there undisturbed (your landlord should give you notice of any inspections and give at least 24 hours’ warning before coming around to make repairs).
- Be protected against unfair eviction, excessive rent increases and charges.
- Receive your deposit back in full at the end of the tenancy (unless there is a dispute, in which case you can ask the Deposit Protection Scheme or the agent to act as an intermediary).
Lastly, you also have a right to know the name of your landlord – although, that doesn’t mean you can pop round after work for a cup of tea.
Issues that might come up
At Keatons, we’re often asked questions about the rights and responsibilities between landlord and tenant. Because tenancy agreements can vary, we always recommend checking the terms of your agreement. However, here’s some general advice if you’re looking for a quick steer on common topics that come up.
Dealing with repairs
The short answer is that it’s usually your landlord’s responsibility. If the boiler breaks down or any of the fixtures and fittings need repairing, speak to your landlord or lettings agent. However, if it’s something minor that doesn’t cost you to do, then it can help to build a trusting relationship with the landlord if you’re able to sort it yourself.
If you’re on a fixed-term tenancy agreement, the rent is usually reviewed at the end of the term. If the landlord wants to increase the rent before then, they have to ask your permission (and you can say no). Rent increases should also be ‘fair and realistic’, so check what rent charges are the norm in your area.
If you’re being evicted
We hope this doesn’t happen, but if you’re facing eviction then it should be under lawful grounds (such as unpaid rent or if you break the tenancy agreement). If you believe your landlord is harassing you or trying to force you out of the property without following legal steps, you should speak to Citizens Advice Bureau or contact a legal advisor.
At the end of the tenancy, you’re expected to leave the property in a clean condition without damage, with the exception of any ‘wear and tear’. If you owe rent or have partied the property into the ground, the landlord might ask for a deduction to be made from your deposit to cover the costs. It’s your right to appeal this with the lettings agent or Deposit Protection Scheme if you believe the charges are too much or unfair.
If you’re unsure about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, the first place to check is your tenancy agreement. If issues do come up, we always recommend having a conversation with your landlord or agent. At Keatons, we believe the relationship between landlords and tenants should work both ways, and so we’ll always do everything we can to resolve issues as soon as they come up. If you renting a property from Keatons, please call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about your rights and responsibilities.
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Keatons has been based in East London for over 20 years and has since expanded to the north and south of the city. We have an outstanding Trustpilot rating from customers and we are known for helping sellers and landlords achieve the best possible market price for their property. To find out more, visit our website.