Your legal rights as a tenant
Renting a private property as a tenant means that you will be covered by certain rights and responsibilities while your tenancy is in force.
Essentially, the tenant has the right to live in a property that is not only in a good state of repair but that is also a safe place to live.
It's also important to understand, that your deposit will be returned when the tenancy ends and it should be in a protected, legally recognised, deposit protection scheme.
Such deposit protection schemes will help the tenant get their money back should there be a dispute and this dispute will be resolved by the scheme itself in a fair way.
Know who your landlord is
All tenants also have a right to know who their landlord is, even if you rent a property through a letting agent, they must still tell you who the landlord ultimately is because they have a legal responsibility for your safety and well-being while living in their property.
Failure to be informed of who the landlord is, and how to contact them, could lead to them being fined if they do not provide this information within 21 days of asking.
And while living in the landlord's property, a tenant has a right to live in it undisturbed by either the landlord or the letting agent.
All rental properties must come with an energy performance certificate, this will tell you how energy-efficient the property is and what your bills are likely to be.
However, under new rules and regulations coming in, a tenant will be able to ask for improvements to the property to make it warmer and cheaper to heat. From 2016, a landlord will be unable to refuse a 'reasonable request' to do so.
And from 2018, all rental properties in England and Wales will need to have a minimum energy performance rating higher than F or G, these properties will then be banned from having tenants living in them.
Unfair eviction of tenants
Tenants are also legally protected from paying an unfair rent and from being unfairly evicted.
It's also worth remembering that should a tenant sign a tenancy of more than three years, then there needs to be a separate written agreement because the tenancy will come under different rules.
Indeed, any tenancy agreement that a tenant signs should not only be fair but it should also comply with the law and unreasonable or illegal clauses cannot be enforced
Tenants renting property in Scotland, should also, by law, be handed a tenant information pack from their landlord whenever they begin a new short assured or assured tenancy.
Those are the legal rights and responsibilities that the tenant should expect from their landlord.
The landlord can also expect some responsibilities and rights from their tenants. Among these, is that the tenant must give their landlord access to the property for it to be inspected or for the carrying out of repairs. The landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice and offer to visit at a reasonable time of day.
Landlord wants access to resolve an emergency
Unless there is an emergency in the property, it's flooding for instance, then a landlord cannot gain immediate access without permission.
The tenant also undertakes to take care of the pay the agreed rent amount even if they are in dispute with a landlord and even if they believe repairs are needed to the property.
Should the property be damaged, either by the tenant or by their friends or family, then they must repair it or agree to pay for the repairs.
A tenant cannot sublet a property without agreement from their landlord, there will be a clause within the tenancy agreement to cover this. It's highly unlikely that a tenant will be able to sublet the entire property since this will mean a new tenant is effectively moving in and the landlord has not affected them.
Should a tenant not meet their rights or responsibilities, then the landlord has a legal right to evict you, especially if you do not pay the rent.
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