Information for Tenants
- Illegal Eviction
- Safety Information - see Letting Facts
- Relocation to the UK - Helpful advice on relocating to the United Kingdom
- Questions & Answers
Types of Tenancies
- An assured shorthold tenancy is a type of assured tenancy that gives more rights to the landlord when he wants his property back. Most new lettings entered into after February 28, 1997 will be automatically assured shorthold.
- The assured shorthold tenancy is now the most common form of tenancy used in the private rented sector. It only provides the tenant security of tenure for the duration of the agreed term, and after that the landlord may ask for the property back.
- At the end of the fixed term the landlord can grant the tenant another assured shorthold for a fixed term or a periodic tenancy may be agreed or, if he wants the property vacated he should give the tenant at least two months written notice to leave.
- An assured shorthold tenancy will have the rent fixed for the length of the term and the landlord will not be able to increase it unless it has been written in to a contract. The tenant has the right to apply to the rent assessment committee for it to set a market rent during the first fixed term if he feels the rent is too high.
- A few lettings entered into after 15 January 1989 are assured tenancies and can be either fixed term or contractual periodic. These tenancies have no right to a fixed fair rent and can be created by either a written or verbal agreement.
- Fixed term means that an agreement is entered into between the landlord and tenant for a fixed period of time, this could be months or years. Contractual periodic tenancies can run on for an indefinite period on a weekly or other periodic basis.
- The tenant will have long-term security of tenure and does not have to move unless he wants to or if the landlord can prove in court that he has grounds for gaining possession. An assured tenancy should be the tenants only or main home .
- A tenancy where there is a resident landlord is expressly excluded from being an assured or assured shorthold tenancy by the Housing Act 1988(schedule 1(10)). A landlord is considered to be resident not only if he is living in the same property as his tenant but also, for the purposes of the Housing Act, if the landlord is living in the same building as his tenant unless the two properties are contained in a purpose built block of flats. This means that if a property has been divided into two or more self contained units or a granny annex has been added and the landlord lives in one of the units as his only or principal home it is likely that he will be considered a resident landlord and precluded from setting up an assured or assured shorthold tenancy. In situations where there is a resident landlord it is important that the notice period for ending the tenancy is agreed at the start of the tenancy as neither the provisions contained in the Housing Act 1988 or the Protection from Eviction Act will apply.
- Rent is the money paid to your landlord in return for the right to occupy his property. It can be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, as agreed between your landlord and yourself.
- If you pay your rent weekly you are entitled to a rent book, this must have the name and address of your landlord or agent on it and it must be provided by them.
- If you have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy you must agree a level of rent at the start of the tenancy as this level cannot be changed during the fixed term of the agreement. In the case of an assured shorthold tenancy the rent must be set at a market level.
- Once the fixed term comes to an end the landlord may wish to increase the rent. In order to do this he must give you a months notice and serve you with a Section 13 Notice which states:
- The proposed new rent
- The date it should take effect
- Your rights as a tenant in relation to the procedure.
- If you disagree with the rent increase and you are unable to negotiate a mutual level with your landlord, then you can apply to the RAC (Rent Assessment Committee). This must be done within 28 days. The RAC will decide what reasonable rent the landlord could expect for the property and set a reasonable market rent.
- If you have an assured tenancy with a rent review clause stating how and when the rent will be reviewed you and your landlord cannot apply to the RAC.
- In lettings of less than seven years the landlord is responsible for the repairs to the structure and exterior of the building, basins, sinks, baths, toilets and heating.
- The tenant must allow the landlord or his agent access in order to carry out necessary work. However, the landlord must give the tenant reasonable notice that access will be required.
- The tenant should use the property in a responsible way and under the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1988 the landlord can seek possession if the tenant or someone living with him has damaged the property.
- The tenant should get written permission from the landlord before making any alterations to the property.
- All tenants are entitled to live safely and peacefully in their homes and harassment by your landlord or a person instructed by your landlord is an offence. Harassment can be in several different forms some of which are listed below:
- Entering your home without prior notification.
- Changing the locks.
- Cutting off your utilities, such as gas, water and electricity.
- Tampering with your mail or possessions.
- Threatening you verbally or physically.
Keep a record of any instances where harassment has occurred, names of witnesses or anyone who may have become involved, doctors, police, etc. Also get advice from your local council as soon as possible as they may be able to advise or help you further.
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- Landlords must follow the correct legal procedure to evict a tenant. In most cases this involves serving a notice requiring possession.
- Most rent paying tenants are protected from illegal eviction and harassment by their landlords in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1988. However, if you have been illegally evicted you should seek legal advice. You have the right to apply for a court injunction to be allowed back into your home and your landlord can be liable for an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment.
- The landlord can evict you if he can prove to a court that one of the mandatory grounds for possession is satisfied.
What is a tenancy agreement?
- A tenancy agreement is the contract between the tenant and the landlord.
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What happens at the end of the tenancy?
- If you wish to move from the property make sure you give your landlord written notice. It is a good idea to send the letter by recorded delivery and to keep a copy for your own records.
- Assured shorthold tenants are liable to pay rent for the entire agreement period. Your landlord or their agent will do an inventory of any furniture, fitting and conditions to check against the inventory made at the start of the let.
- Make sure all of the meters are read before you move out and ask for the final bills to be sent on to you at your new address.
What is a deposit?
- This is a payment in addition to the rent paid by the tenant. The amount, usually equivalent to one or two months rent, is held by the landlord or agent throughout the tenancy and will be with held or partly with held should the tenant or his visitors cause any damage to the property.
- The deposit cannot be used as payment for the final period of the tenancy. You will receive your deposit back after you have left the property.
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My landlord has stopped collecting my rent.
- Firstly write to your landlord stating that you want to pay the rent. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
Set up an account for the rent and continue to pay it in as usual, should any court action follow you will be able to prove that you where willing to pay the rent and have been doing so. With the letter you will also have proof that you attempted to contact your landlord to pay in the first instance.
Can I withhold my rent if the landlord is not carrying out repairs to the property?
- Providing the correct procedure is followed. In circumstances where the landlord has failed to perform a repairing obligation the tenant could carry out the work required and take the cost from the rent. Any tenant considering this should always seek advice first, and must provide the landlord with the opportunity to perform the repair.
In most cases if the tenant does not pay the rent the landlord can take him to court for arrears and seek possession of the property.
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