Tenants rights and things you are supposed to do as a landlord
If you are new to letting out a property, one of the most important things to understand are your tenants’ rights and your own obligations as a landlord.
The vast majority of these rights and obligations will be set out in your tenancy agreement and it is therefore vital that you have a signed tenancy agreement in place before your tenant takes up occupation of your property.
The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant which outlines the terms and conditions for occupation of your property.
As a landlord, whilst there are no legal obligations for you to have this agreement, it would be unwise not to have one in place, to protect both yourself and your tenant.
The most common type of tenancy used today is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). If you are using a letting agent to find and or manage your property they will usually include the provision of a tenancy agreement as part of their service. Otherwise you should approach a solicitor to draw one up for you or you may wish to use an online service.
The tenancy agreement should cover most of the obligations for both you and your tenant such as :–
- Bills and rental payments – clearly outline which bills are included within the rental payment, if any and the amount the tenant must pay.
- Subletting – Subletting conditions and consequences must be clearly outlined within the tenancy agreement.
- Responsibility of minor repairs – Your tenant must know who is responsible for undertaking minor repairs to the property. You may wish to complete minor repairs yourself or allow the tenant to do so.
- Deposits – You must clearly note where the deposit is being held and if you do not use the services of a letting agent, you are required to place this deposit in an approved protection scheme within 30 days.
Other obligations would include:-
- Living in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- Challenging excessively high charges
- Knowing who your landlord is
- Living in the property undisturbed
- Being protected from unfair eviction and rent
- Having your deposit protected throughout the tenancy and then returned to you when the tenancy ends
- Having a written agreement if your tenancy is more than 3 years.
All these rights should be outlined within your tenancy agreement and this must be fair and comply with the law.
Frequently asked question’s
- Can I evict my tenant out without a reason, and how much notice should be given?
You can’t evict your tenant during their fixed term tenancy unless there is breach of terms or a break clause within your tenancy agreement. For example, the tenant not paying rent or damaging the property.If your tenant decides to stay in the property after the tenancy has ended and you wish to evict them without a reason you must issue a Section 21 Notice. This notice is for a two-month period and there are several rules to follow for this to be valid. For example, applying to the courts for possession of the property if your tenant hasn’t left after the notice period.
- Can I increase my tenants rent at any time, and how much notice should be given?
As a landlord you can’t increase your tenant’s rental payments at any time unless this is outlined within your tenancy agreement. If this is not outlined, you are required to provide your tenant with a formal written notice detailing this increase which must comply with the law.
- What do I need to do with my tenant’s deposit, and when should this be returned?
Your tenants deposit must be placed in an approved scheme within 30 days of being received. Failure to do so will make you liable to fines which can be up to 3 times the deposit and your eviction notice may become invalid. Also, you must return your tenants deposit within 10 days after the end of their tenancy.
- Can I visit my property whenever?
You are required to give your tenants 24 hours’ notice in writing if you wish to access your property to carry out inspections and repairs that you are responsible for. As a landlord you do not have the right to visit the property without notice.
- What to do if my tenant has a disability?
You must consider making adaptations to your property if your tenant has a disability to prevent accessibility issues. For example, installing a ramp at the front of the property to allow wheelchair access.
- Can I prevent my tenant from having friends or family staying overnight at my property?
Your tenant has the right to live in the property undisturbed, this means they can have friends and family over who may stay overnight occasionally.
- Can I check my tenant’s credit rating to see if they are at risk of failing to pay my rent?
You must obtain written permission from your potential tenant first if you wish to carry out a credit check. If your potential tenant has a bad credit rating, you may wish to request a guarantor, an advanced rental payment or either refuse the potential tenant’s application.
- What to do if my tenant is being harassed by another housemate?
You should speak to the housemate first to see if you can find a way to resolve the issue. If this is not the case and the housemate is in breach of their tenancy agreement, you may be able to take action to evict them from the property.
© Thandi Nicholls Ltd 2020 All Rights Reserved – The above articles are provided for guidance only and may not cover your personal circumstances so you should not rely on them. It is important that you seek appropriate professional advice which takes into account your personal circumstances where you can provide the full facts of the case and all documents related to your case. Thandi Nicholls Ltd t/a uklandlordtax.co.uk, K Nicholls FCA or S Thandi cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any action or the consequences of deciding not to act.
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