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Tenancy Rights


1.      Deposits

2.      Understanding rental contracts

3.      Communication with your landlord

4.      Rights of Repair

 

Deposits

If you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, pay your rent and keep your accommodation clean and damage-free upon leaving your accommodation at the expiration of your tenancy, you should get your deposit back.

 

When you, the tenant, ask for the deposit back, the landlord has 10 days to agree the final amount , and a further 10 days to return your deposit after the agreement.

 

How to avoid deductions to your deposit

The most common deduction from deposit amongst students is because of the accommodation being in a dirty or damaged state when leaving the tenancy.

Thus, it is important to take photographs, which are dated, and complete a check-out inventory which is signed off by your landlord.

 

Dispute

Your landlord MUST put your (tenant’s) deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. Approved schemes include Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits, and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), so it’s best to check with your landlord which one you’re under6. Any disputes can be raised with your respective scheme. First, you need to complete a dispute application form online, and you need to provide your photographic/inventory evidence to have the best chance of claiming back as much of your deposit as possible. An independent adjudicator should then make a decision to how much you are entitled – this process should take roughly 28 days. Your deposit should be paid to you within 10 days of being informed of the final decision.

 

Citations:

1 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection


2 - What is the tenancy deposit scheme? Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/What-is-the-Tenancy-Deposit-Scheme-February-2023.pdf/


3 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection


4 - Getting your tenancy deposit back. Citizens Advice. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/getting-your-tenancy-deposit-back/


5 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection


6 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection


7 - What is the tenancy deposit scheme? (page 10) Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/What-is-the-Tenancy-Deposit-Scheme-February-2023.pdf/

 

Understanding rental contracts


When entering into a rental agreement, it is vital to fully understand what it is that you are agreeing to. It is important to be aware of the legal responsibilities that arise out of agreements for both yourself and your landlord, to guarantee protection of your statutory rights as a tenant. Tenancy agreements can be done either verbally or through a written document, but tend to cover a similar range of areas. (Citizens Advice Link).

 

Tenancy agreements between a prospective tenant and landlord can slightly differ from person to person, as contract law provides parties with the freedom to dictate their own contract terms. However, tenancy agreement terms may not conflict with the law by not providing you with your basic statutory rights as a tenant. Such rights include the right to be protected against unfair eviction and rent, to live in a safe property, to know the landlord, to live undisturbed, to see an Energy Performance Certificate of the property and to have a written agreement for tenancy terms which go beyond 3 years. (Gov.UK Link) 

 

Tenancy agreements are generally broken into express and implied terms, both which are known about prior to entering into an agreement.

 

Express terms are terms that are agreed upon between a tenant and a landlord, either through a written means or verbally. These can include the names of the parties involved in the agreement (including all tenants), the tenancy duration, expected rent and how often this amount can be increased, details on if the property is shared with others or not, and if any maintenance facilities are provided by the landlord or if a service fee is needed (ex. laundry, meals, landscaping) etc  (Citizens Advice Link).

 

Implied terms are rights given by the law and are automatically a part of all tenancy agreements in the UK, whether they have been formally agreed to by the landlord and tenant or not. These can include the obligation for a tenant to provide access to the property when repair work is needed, and not damage the property during the duration of your tenancy. The landlord has an obligation to allow a tenant to live in an undisturbed way, and to carry out basic repairs of the property  (Citizens Advice Link).

 

Agreements cannot be discriminative in regards to the demographic values of the tenant (race, gender, religion, disability etc). Once you have entered into an agreement, your landlord must provide you with an England and Wales address, for you to use as your primary address of residence in the UK (Citizens Advice Link).

 

More in-depth information on understanding rental agreements can be found on the UK Government’s website.


 

Citations:


 

 

Communication with your landlord


A key aspect of being a tenant is knowing how to communicate with your landlord. You’ll want to foster a good, harmonious relationship with them. Especially when alerting your landlord to an issue with your housing, it is important to come across well in a calm manner, while being firm with detailing your problems.


Know your rights

Preferably, before entering into the lease agreement, you will have read the lease carefully. If not, make sure to have a look through this document since it forms the contractual basis to your tenancy and contains the rights and responsibilities that you and your landlord have both agreed to. It will set out useful information such as how to ask for maintenance or repairs, and what you are allowed and not allowed to do in your property. It is useful to be able to come to your landlord with an issue and be able to show some relevant part of the lease showing what they have agreed to. Usually, it should not be necessary to have to refer to this, but if you are experiencing issues then it is very helpful to be able to mention their responsibilities under the agreement.


Be prepared to compromise

It is essential to keep in mind that when communicating with a landlord, you both have your own interests which often won’t align entirely to your satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to keep reasonable expectations and be flexible. Of course, this means not to make any large, unrealistic demands, and not to continuously complain about all the minor inconveniences you may encounter.


Always be polite

Perhaps the most useful thing to bear in mind, is to always communicate with your landlord in a polite and respectful tone. It can be tempting to send a strong-worded email if you are experiencing an issue which you don’t think is getting resolved satisfactorily, but it will not help your situation. Candidly, for most people, your landlord will have your deposit and is not the person you want to have a combative relationship with. Therefore, always speak to them in a calm and to-the-point manner.



Citations:

1 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection

2 - What is the tenancy deposit scheme? Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/What-is-the-Tenancy-Deposit-Scheme-February-2023.pdf/

3 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection

4 - Getting your tenancy deposit back. Citizens Advice. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/getting-your-tenancy-deposit-back/

5 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection

6 - Tenancy deposit protection. GOV.uk. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection

7 - What is the tenancy deposit scheme? (page 10) Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Retrieved 25th November 2023, from tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/What-is-the-Tenancy-Deposit-Scheme-February-2023.pdf/

 

Rights of Repair


Landlords bear a number of statutory obligations to maintain and repair properties for their resident tenants. Being aware of the following can be helpful. Basic amenities must be kept in order, including (but not limited to) ovens, water and gas fittings, electrical wiring, water tanks and boilers, radiators, and gas fires.The structure and exterior of the home – including walls, windows, roofs, foundations and guttering – are also the landlord’s responsibility. For tenancies beginning after 1989, the landlord is also responsible for repairing issues in common areas of the property, eg the kitchen.

 

Some repair obligations on a landlord can be amended through the tenancy agreement. However, there are certain aspects of living in a home that are non-negotiable so that a house is fit for human habitation. Mold or excessive damp, pest infestations, an infected water supply, are all things one expects a landlord to be on top of. The landlord must also make sure the property is not too hot or too cold. Usually, a landlord will not be responsible for failing to fix an issue if he or she is not notified by the tenant. For these more serious issues which may affect a tenant’s basic welfare notification is not a necessary requirement.

 

Aside from ongoing repair obligations, there are things that must be provided or in place at the beginning of the tenancy. Gas and electric appliances must be fitted and done so safely, as must smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. An Electrical Performance Certificate must be available to the tenants in the property.

Tenants should make sure to notify their landlord immediately if they do not have access to these facilities.

 

Sources referred to

‘Problems during repair work’ (Shelter, June 2023)

 

‘Repairs – what are the landlord’s responsibilities?’ (Citizens Advice, n.d.)

 

 

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