Standing up for renters

What we do for our clients and community

Legal Rental Experts
30 Years Experience
Campaigners for Justice
Award Winning
Legal Rental Experts
30 Years Experience
Campaigners for Justice
Award Winning

Protecting your rights as a renter

Our aim is to protect your rights as renter.
W
e’ll be with you at every step, through a range of services, to look after you and your housing needs.

Housing Advice Centre

Most of the advice we give is through the legal aid system, which covers the following areas:

We can help with

  • Tackling poor housing conditions, where there is a serious risk to the health or safety of you or a member of your family, because of disrepair or defects in your home
  • If your landlord has given you written notice that they want you to leave, or has started court proceedings to get possession of your home
  • If your landlord has illegally evicted you or if you need to apply to the court for an injunction to stop your landlord or somebody else harassing you in your home
  • To challenge a decision of the council, if you have applied or attempted to apply to them for help because you are homeless and they have made a decision that you disagree with

We need to check that people are financially eligible for legal aid, so we ask all who use our Housing Advice Centre to give us evidence of their income.  When we see you for the first time, we will need to see your most recent pay slips, benefit letters or other evidence. We will also ask you if you have any savings.

If your problem is not one listed above, or if you are not financially eligible, read about our other services.

Housing advice

Benefits and General Advice

We are here to help you cope with other aspects of your life as well, that may have an impact on your housing including:
  • Welfare and benefits
  • Financial Issues
  • Health and Wellbeing

We also work closely with health providers who are encouraged to refer patients to us through a system called social prescribing.

Many of these services are provided by us from Brent Community Hubs.  You can find the details here.

This service offers a range of help, including:

Getting your rent back from the landlord

You may be able to claim for repayment of up to 12 months’ rent, if:

  • the landlord has harassed or illegally evicted you; or
  • s/he has not complied with local authority orders, such as an order to do repairs; or
  • you are living in a home that should have a property licence but the landlord has not obtained a licence

Getting your tenancy deposit back

As well as getting your deposit back, you may have a claim for up to three times the amount of the deposit if:

  • the landlord did not protect your deposit in a Government approved scheme within 30 days of receiving it
  • s/he did not give you information about your deposit which the law requires

Challenging new laws

We are keen to help tenants to test new or under-used areas of law which could make a big difference. This includes a new law that homes should be fit for human habitation when tenants first move in and new regulations which make in unlawful to let homes which are very hard or expensive to heat.

This service focuses on people on low incomes whose adverse housing conditions have a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Those we assist often have inadequate heating in their homes or may be struggling to pay the fuel bills.

If we can help you under this service, we will try to:

  • Sort out any urgent issues, which might include providing temporary heaters; negotiating with gas or electricity suppliers to prevent disconnections; sorting urgent debt or benefits issues; or providing food bank vouchers.

Then we will

  • Advise and act for you to make sure that the landlord meets his or her legal responsibilities to keep your home in good repair, with adequate, and affordable, heating; help you to clear energy or other debts or to get a smart energy meter installed; or check whether you may be eligible for any grants to help you to make your home more energy efficient.

Then we will

  • Offer a mentoring and befriending programme for up to six months to help you to achieve your housing or lifestyle goals, ranging from help with budgeting or saving; IT skills; understanding your tenancy rights.

Mentoring and Befriending

We offer support and practical assistance to people who may be isolated or lack confidence and need help with day-to-day challenges.

Matched with one of our trained volunteer befrienders and mentors, they work with you to achieve specific goals you have both agreed from the beginning. 

The main purpose is to encourage you to do as much as you can, which increases your self-confidence and resilience. So next time you have a similar problem, you’ll be in a better position to handle it.

It’s for a maximum of six months, where you can meet weekly for an hour or two in a public space, like a library. As well as offering a listening ear, our volunteers help with for example, changing your energy tariffs to reduce your bills, introducing you to local community groups, accompanying you to meetings to ensure you can have your say, collating evidence to support your housing application and much more.

If you think this could be of help to you, then please get in touch with us.

Other ways to get advice

Shelter

The national housing charity Shelter has an excellent housing advice website which you can access here.

Brent Advice Matters

You can also try the website run by Brent Advice Partnership for all Brent residents here.

You can find other agencies providing advice through Brent Community Advice Network here.

If you struggle to navigate the BAM website, there are people who can help you with this at the Brent Community Hubs or contact us for an appointment to help with this.

Warmer Homes Fund

Launched to help address fuel poverty and tackle the climate emergency. You can access their website site here.

How to get help

Our doors are open...

Please call us on the number below if you feel we can help with your renting or landlord issues, that’s what we’re here for.

Call: 0207 624 4327

FAQs

We provide easy to understand information for private renters, allowing you to make an informed decision as to when to seek further help. This information is about your rights if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. This is often described as a Fixed Term Tenancy. Most people who rent their home privately have this type of tenancy.

This information is provided as guidance only and is not legal advice. Remember to act with caution. You have lots of rights in relation to your home but you do not have much security. We recommend getting help before you assert your tenancy rights.

Last updated March 2020

Apart from the limit of what people are willing and able to pay, there is no limit to the rent that a property owner is able to charge.  This means that a property owner is free to charge whatever renters are willing to pay.  However, you should not have to pay more than other renters are paying for similar properties in your local area.

If, during the first six months of your Tenancy, you find out that your rent is more than other rents in the area for similar homes, you can apply to a Property Tribunal to ask them to fix a lower rent.

If your Fixed Term Tenancy ends your landlord might offer you a new Tenancy.  It is not unusual for the new tenancy to be at a higher rent.  You do not have to accept a new tenancy.  However, if you do not accept the new Tenancy there is nothing to stop your landlord from starting the process of evicting you, (See “Staying in your home” below for an explanation of the eviction process – the process usually take a few months). 

If you want to accept a new fixed term agreement, but are concerned because your landlord wants to increase your rent, you should try to negotiate.  It is a good idea to gather as much information about rents of similar properties in your area.  It is also very important to know what you can realistically afford to pay.  It is important to remember that landlords do not want to lose good tenants and it usually costs money to have a turnover of tenants.

If you are not given a new Fixed Term Tenancy after the first one ends, your Tenancy just rolls on from one rental period (usually a month) to the next; this is called a Periodic Tenancy. If there is no provision for rent increases in your tenancy agreement, your landlord can only increase the rent of your Periodic Tenancy if you reach an agreement about the amount of rent, or if the landlord gives you a formal Landlord’s Notice proposing a new rent. If you think the proposed rent in the Landlord’s Notice is higher than similar properties in your area, you can send the notice to the Property Tribunal and ask them to review the proposed increase. You must do this before the date of the proposed increase is meant to take effect and ask for the property tribunal to decide your new rent. If you do not do this, the proposed rent will become the rent that is due from the date given in the Landlord’s Notice.

If you pay a tenancy deposit it must be protected in one of the three Government approved deposit protection scheme.  The deposit has to be protected within 30 days of it being paid. The schemes are:

Your landlord must also give you specific information about the Scheme.  This information includes written confirmation the deposit has been protected and information about how deposit protection works.  This information must also be provided within 30 days of the deposit being paid.

Since 01 June 2019, tenancy deposits are limited to a maximum of six weeks’ rent.  5 weeks’ rent, where the total annual rent is less than £50,000; six weeks’ rent, where the total annual rent is £50,000 or more

If the landlord does not protect your deposit in an authorised scheme or provide you with the correct information about its protection, you may be able to claim compensation.  

You have the right to know the name and address of your landlord. If you make a written request for this information to the person you pay your rent to, they must give it to you within 21 days.

You also have a right to be provided with an address in England or Wales where you can write to your landlord. This is the address you should use, for example, to give your landlord notice of any repairs needed, notice that you will be taking legal action against him/her, or notice that you wish to leave. This requirement is so important that the law says your landlord cannot take you to court for the rent, if you have not paid the rent, until you are notified of a contact address for the landlord.  It is important to note that as soon as the notice is given the landlord is entitled to all the back rent.  If you withhold rent because you have not been given a contact address for your landlord, it is very important therefore, not to spend the money, because your landlord is entitled to it all, as soon as they give you notice of their contact address. Ideally, you should keep the rent to hand earmarked in your account. 

Lettings agents should treat you fairly.  They should give you accurate information about any property you are interesting in renting.  They should not pressurise you into agreeing to rent a property, or conceal relevant information from you.  Since 01 June 2019, there has been a ban on letting agents charging prospective tenants fees to rent properties.  This means that there are restrictions on the payments you can be asked for, in relation to tenancy agreements.

Since 01 October 2014, it has been a legal requirement for lettings agents to belong to a redress scheme.  A redress scheme is an independent scheme to deal with complaints against letting agents and property managers.

If you found your home through a letting agency and you don’t think they treated you fairly, you have a right to redress. This means you can make a complaint to the scheme that the agent is a member of and ask to be compensated. Reasons for a complaint might be that the agents did not provide truthful information about your new home or that they didn’t provide an Energy Performance Certificate or that they were responsible for unnecessary delays.

The payments a letting agent can ask for are:

  • A holding deposit of a maximum of one weeks rent – this is to hold a property for you, while both sides are getting ready to sign the tenancy agreement. This is usually used to pay part of the first month’s/week’s rent or as part of a tenancy deposit, when the tenancy agreement is signed.  You will lose the holding deposit if you back out of the agreement without a good reason.

  • Rent in advance – landlords usually require tenants to pay the first week/month’s rent in advance as soon as the tenancy agreement is signed

  • A tenancy deposit – in most cases limited to five weeks’ rent

  • A fee of £50.00 or reasonable costs if greater, for changes that you request to the tenancy agreement

  • Payment of the water rates, council tax, or utility bills such as gas, electricity, internet. Usually you will need to pay these directly to the council/utility supplier.

Once the tenancy has started, you can be charged fees if you pay the rent late, or for replacing lost keys or door fobs.  You can also be charged fees for ending a fixed term tenancy agreement early.  Such fees must be reasonable.

Landlords are required to get a licence from the council before they can offer certain types of property to renters.  A licence could be required because a number of people live in the building and share facilities – these are called houses in multiple occupation, HMO’s.  In some cases all rental properties in a particular area (council ward) will require a licence (selective licencing). You should contact your local council to find out the exact rules that apply in your area. Licences have conditions, with which landlords must comply. Some of these are laid down by law and some are added by the local Council issuing the licence. You can find out more here.

Your landlord must not evict you as a way of trying to avoid having a licence or meeting the licence requirements.

Licencing conditions

The law requires certain conditions to be attached to every licence.

Landlords of HMOs must:

  • Give you a written statement of the terms of the tenancy (this could be a tenancy agreement)
  • Make sure your gas installations and appliances are safe by having them tested every year and they must give the local council a copy of the test report
  • Make sure your electrics are safe by arranging an electrical safety test every five years
  • Make sure your furniture and furnishings are fire resistant and that any fridge, freezer, washing machine, cooker, etc. is safe.   
  • Fit smoke alarms on every floor and keep them in good working order
  • For HMO licences granted or renewed on or after 1 October 2015, fit a carbon monoxide alarm [and keep it in working order] in every room used as living accommodation in which there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance
  • When asked to, give the council a declaration as to the safety of the electrical appliances, furniture and fittings

For HMO licences granted after 01 October 2018, the licence must contain conditions about:

  • The minimum size of rooms used for sleeping in
  • The maximum number of people allowed to occupy each room
  • A requirement to comply with any HMO waste storage/disposal scheme implemented by the council.

Councils have the power to impose additional conditions.  In addition to the above conditions Brent Council apply the following conditions.  The property manager must:

  • Protect tenancy deposits
  • Give you written confirmation about the arrangements in place for reporting disrepair and how the disrepair will be dealt with
  • Use competent trades people to do repairs
  • Give you a written complaints procedure which tells you what you can do if you want to make a complaint about your landlord or his agents
  • Make sure that your home is secure with adequate locks and entry systems. Any mortise locks should be ones that you can open from the inside without a key, in case you need to exit quickly in an emergency
  • Change the locks between lettings
  • Maintain and re-decorate the outside of your house when it needs it
  • Keep gardens, fences, gates, etc, in good condition
  • Keep your home free from infestations, including outside areas, and respond to reports from you about infestations within 7 days
  • Make sure that means of escape are free of obstruction and that fire precautions are maintained
  • Put emergency management arrangements in place for times when the landlord or agent is not available
  • Give you a record of the rent that you pay

The landlord must also take reasonable and practical action to prevent anti-social behaviour by any tenants or their visitors.

For new tenants, the landlord must ask for references. There are extra things landlords must do where tenants rent bedsits and share amenities with other tenants in the house. These are mainly about making sure there are enough kitchens, toilets and bathrooms for the number of people in the house. There are also more requirements regarding fire precautions such as the need for fire blankets in the shared kitchens.

Very similar conditions apply to properties in selective licencing areas.  In selective licencing areas, landlords require a licence for all rental properties of whatever size or type.

Please check with your local council to see what licencing schemes are in place and the conditions they have attached to their licences.

SOME OF THE INFORMATION BELOW IS SUBJECT TO NEW ARRANGEMENTS IN PLACE DURING COVID 19 – See below for Covid-19 Special Arrangements

You have a right to remain in your home for six months (or longer if you have a tenancy with a longer fixed term) provided you are not breaking the law or the terms of your tenancy. As an assured shorthold tenant you cannot be forced to leave unless your landlord applies to court for a possession order and the court orders you to leave by a certain date. If you are still in your home after that date, your landlord cannot force you out without getting a bailiff from the court.

If your landlord wants you to leave without evidence that you have done anything wrong (such as not paying the rent), s/he can only force you to leave by following a process which is usually called a Section 21 procedure. This is because it is set out in s.21 of the Housing Act 1988. This procedure starts with the landlord giving the tenant a section 21 Notice of Requiring Possession (“s21 Notice”).

There are some defences to a s21 notice.  The landlord will not be able to use the procedure if:

  • You have not received a written Notice Requiring Possession giving you at least two months before the notice period expires.
  • The date the Notice expires is less than six months since your original tenancy began.
  • The Notice is served during a Fixed-Term tenancy and the notice period ends before the last day of the Fixed Term Tenancy or before the ‘break clause’ can be used – if there is one.
  • You paid a tenancy deposit and your landlord has not protected it in a Government-approved scheme or given you the proper information about the deposit protection scheme
  • You live in a property that should be licensed by your local Council but it has not been licensed.

If you have been given the correct Notice, you do not have to leave during the notice period. If you remain in your home after that date, the landlord must apply to court. If you are still in your home when the notice given in the Possession Order expires, the landlord cannot force you to leave. He must return to court and apply for an Eviction Notice. Then the Bailiffs will give you a date when they are coming and then you really must go.

Remember that you could incur costs if you wait until the landlord applies to court.

If your Tenancy began or was renewed on or after 1st October 2015, you cannot be forced to leave if:

  • The landlord does not use the correct form to give you at least two months’ notice.
  • The landlord gives you notice within the first four months of your original tenancy
  • You paid a deposit to your landlord or the letting agent and any of these apply:
  • The deposit wasn’t protected in the government-approved scheme (see Your Deposit)
  • The deposit was not protected within 30 days of when you have paid it
  • You have not been given information about the tenancy deposit scheme used.

    If your deposit was not protected or was protected late, your landlord must return the deposit to you in full before they can give you a Section 21 notice.
  • The Landlord has not given you all of the following
  • An Energy Performance Certificate
  • A current gas safety record (if there are gas appliances in your home)
  • The correct version of the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide (a paper copy unless you agree to accept notices and correspondence by email)

In addition, if you have complained about repairs or conditions there are extra rules (if your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015.  You cannot be forced to leave if:

  • The notice was served after you complained in writing to your landlord about disrepair or poor conditions
  • Your landlord did not deal with these issues promptly
  • You reported these issues to the council
  • The council gave your landlord an Improvement Notice or a Notice that they would do Emergency Works

If all of these conditions are satisfied your landlord will not be able to evict you, using s21, within six months of the date of the council’s improvement or emergency works notice.

But if the s.21 Notice was served correctly (so that none of the above defences apply) and you do not tell the court that there is anything wrong with the Notice, the court must issue a Possession Order. They could also tell you to pay the landlord’s legal costs.

Remember that, if you are a family with children and you think you may need help from your local Council in finding another home, you should not move out until the Court orders you to do so. If you do, the Council could say that you have made yourself homeless intentionally. This could severely limit the duties they have to help you find another home.

Your landlord may also try to evict you if you have rent arrears or if s/he claims you have broken one or more of the terms of the tenancy agreement.  Once again, there is a strict process which the landlord must follow, which includes giving you the correct form of notice and applying to the court for an order.

If you receive a notice or court papers please get advice immediately as you may have a defence to the claim. 

Your landlord must not evict you as a way of trying to avoid having a licence or meeting the licence requirements.

Landlords must,

  • Give you a written tenancy agreement
  • Give you a record of the rent that you pay
  • Protect your tenancy deposit
  • Give you written confirmation about the arrangements in place for reporting disrepair and how the disrepair will be dealt with
  • Use competent trades people to do repairs
  • Give you a written complaints procedure which tells you what you can do if you want to make a complaint about your landlord or his agents
  • Make sure your gas installation and appliances are safe by having them tested every year and letting your local council know
  • Make sure your electrics are safe by arranging an electrical safety test every five years
  • Make sure your furniture and furnishings are fire resistant
  • Make sure that your home is secure with adequate locks and entry systems. Any mortise locks should be ones that you can open from the inside without a key, in case you need to exit quickly in an emergency
  • Change the locks between lettings
  • Maintain and re-decorate the outside of your house when it needs it
  • Keep gardens, fences, gates, etc, in good condition
  • Keep your home free from infestations, including outside areas, and respond to reports from you about infestations within 7 days
  • Keep smoke alarms in good working order
  • Make sure that means of escape are free of obstruction and that fire precautions are maintained
  • Put emergency management arrangements in place for times when the landlord or agent is not available

The landlord must also take reasonable and practical action to prevent anti-social behaviour by any tenants or their visitors.

For new tenants, the landlord must ask for references. There are extra things landlords must do where tenants rent bedsits and share amenities with other tenants in the house. These are mainly about the size of rooms and making sure there are enough kitchens, toilets and bathrooms for the number of people in the house. There are also more fire precautions such as fire blankets in the shared kitchens.

The Government has introduced a temporary ban on new applications to court for possession by all private and social landlords until further notice.  If a property owner starts a possession claim now, it will automatically be “stayed” (meaning the case is temporary suspended and will not progress through the court system) until after 25 June 2020.  This period could be extended.  This is to protect tenants from losing their homes if they cannot afford to pay the rent because they are unable to work.

If this applies to you, you should contact your landlord to let them know. You should not just stop paying the rent.  If possible, try to reach an agreement with your landlord to pay whatever you can afford, and make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) as soon as you can, even if you have some savings or you are looking for another job. It takes at least five weeks before you receive a UC payment.  You have a right to remain in your home.

Your landlord can still give you notice though. However, the minimum notice period has been extended to at least three months.  This applies to notices given between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020.

https://advice4renters.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID-19-Leflet-Brent.pdf

 

You have a right to get repairs done. Your landlord has a duty to keep the structure and outside of your house in good condition, including drains, gutters and pipes. He/she has a duty to keep all the installations (plumbing/water pipes, gas pipes, electrical wiring, sockets and light fittings) in your home for the supply of water, gas and electricity in good working order. S/he must also maintain basins, sinks, baths and toilets as well as appliances for heating the property and supplying hot water. The landlord should also keep your home free of serious hazards. This includes things that might cause you to fall, such as stairs that are too steep or uneven surfaces. Other hazards include damp, infestations or homes that are hard (or too expensive) to keep warm. A failure to provide adequate locks to doors might be a hazard if there is a risk of intruders.

  • To have all the gas appliances checked. Your landlord must provide you with a Gas Safety Record every year, certifying that the gas appliances (e.g. gas pipes, heating boiler, radiators, gas fires/heaters, gas water heaters) are safe.  The check should be carried out by a “Gas Safe” registered engineer.  They must give you a copy of the inspection report.

  • To know how energy efficient your home is. Lettings agents/property owners should give details of the energy efficiency rating, with an estimate of the fuel costs whenever a property is advertised.  Landlords or their agents must give tenants an Energy Performance Certificate at the start of the tenancy.  Prospective tenants must be shown a copy of the EPC if they ask to see it.

In most cases it is unlawful for landlords to let properties with an energy rating of F or G.

You have a right to ask your local council to inspect your home to assess any disrepair or defects.  The council must take some form of enforcement action if they find serious deficiencies.

Once your landlord becomes aware of a problem they must fix it promptly.   The best way to make sure they are aware of any issues is to tell your landlord or their agent about any disrepair or hazards. It’s best to put this in writing, such as a letter, an email or text message that you can keep a record of. If you phone your landlord or speak to them face to face, be sure to make a note of when the conversation took place.  If the landlord does not sort out the problem, you have a right to ask your local council to inspect your home and order your landlord to put things right. In addition, you have a right to ask the court to order your landlord to do repairs.

You have a right to live in your home, without any unreasonable interruptions from your landlord.

Your landlord must give you notice before coming to the property, they should not visit more frequently than is necessary and must have a good reason for each visit.

Your landlord cannot evict you without first getting a possession order from the court.  They must not harass you, in order to get you to leave or to discourage you from exercising your rights as a tenant.  Harassment could include coming to the property without notice or proper justification, letting themselves into the property without knocking when you are there, or entering it when you are not there, calling you at unreasonable times, such as very late at night or very early in the morning, or cutting off the water or power supply.  Ignoring your request for repairs could also be seen as a form of harassment.  Your landlord must not verbally threaten you, or physically assault you, or speak to you in a rude or insulting manor.

It is possible to get a restraining order from the court, if your landlord does not respect your right to “quiet enjoyment”.  This right is implied into every assured shorthold tenancy; the written agreement cannot override the implied term.

If you’re a tenant in a privately rented house, you might have been offered a smart meter by your electricity or gas supplier, or your landlord might be talking about having one fitted. You can also ask your energy supplier to install a Smart Meter, but this is not always possible.

  • What is a Smart Meter?
    A smart meter is a modern electricity or gas meter that sends automatic readings to the energy supplier – removing the need for estimated bills or for meter readers to visit.

  • Who decides whether to get a smart meter installed in rented properties?
    Gas and electricity meters belong to the energy supplier. It is the bill-payer’s decision whether or not to replace the existing gas and electricity meters with smart meters. The bill payer can contact the energy supplier to ask for the smart meters to be fitted, or the supplier may contact the bill payer. Therefore, if you are the energy bill payer, it is your decision whether or not to have smart meters installed. However, you may be in breach of the tenancy agreement if this happens without your landlord’s consent – it is important in all rental situations therefore, that both tenants and landlords are happy to have the meter installed. The energy company will need access to your property to install the meter. 

You need to know about your legal duties as a tenant as well as your rights. As an assured shorthold tenant, you must keep to the terms of your tenancy unless the terms are unfair – see the note about Unfair Terms below.

Paying Rent
The most important term of your tenancy is to pay the rent. You must pay the rent that is due on time. If you have difficulty paying the rent, get advice as soon as you can. If you have rent arrears you could lose your home and if you do, the Council might not help you because they could say that it is your fault you became homeless.

You are legally responsible for paying the full rent even if you are entitled to housing benefit or universal credit.  This means that you must do whatever is necessary to make sure the money from these benefits/credits is paid promptly.

Other common terms
If you have the exclusive use of a garden, it will normally be your responsibility to mow the lawn and to keep the garden tidy.

Unless the tenancy says otherwise, you are responsible for paying the council tax and other bills, such as gas/electricity and phone/internet.  It is also your responsibility to get a TV licence (if necessary). 

Care of your home
You must also take reasonable care of your home including the furniture and fittings. If you don’t the landlord may apply to court for possession and he may have a right to keep your tenancy deposit.

Decorating your home
Read your Tenancy Agreement carefully to see if you can decorate. Some landlords don’t allow you to pin things on the wall, smoke in the property (or keep pets without their written consent). You should keep your home reasonably warm and let adequate light and air in during the day, otherwise you may get mould from condensation. If there is a central heating boiler, learn how to set the thermostat.  You will usually be responsible for making good any damage to the decorations caused by you or your family, e.g. a child’s drawing on the wall.

Communal Areas
You must also make sure that you do not obstruct the shared parts of the house such as landings, stairs and hallway. Bikes, prams, etc must not be placed where they could prevent anyone in the house from making a rapid exit, or get in the way of the emergency services in the case of an emergency. Remember that a fire will fill the house with smoke within seconds and objects like bikes will not be seen.

Sub-letting
Most tenancies say that you can’t sub-let your home although you can sometimes share with someone, provided this doesn’t cause overcrowding.

Visitors
If you have friends round, you are responsible for their behaviour and for any damage they cause. Avoid late night parties or playing loud music that will disturb your neighbours. Many private rented homes don’t have modern sound insulation, so be considerate to your neighbours.

Providing access for your landlord & maintenance workers
You must also allow the landlord or agent reasonable access. That means you should allow them to make occasional visits to check for any disrepair, and to see that you are looking after the place.

You do not have to tolerate a landlord or agent coming round frequently for no good reason. When the landlord wants to visit he must give you at least 24 hours written notice, unless it is a genuine emergency.

You must give access to any Gas Safe engineer who comes to do the annual check that your gas appliances are safe. Make sure you check their identification before you let them in.

Hygiene
Be careful to observe basic hygiene rules to avoid encouraging pests and vermin and ensure that all rubbish is bagged up and placed in bins provided.  If there are not enough dustbins for everyone in the house, ask your landlord to provide more.

Unfair Terms
The terms of the agreement should be fair to both parties.  If there are conditions in your tenancy that are unfair (apart from the key terms such as the rent and the length of the tenancy), the landlord cannot force you to keep to them. For example, if you had a Tenancy Agreement for a Fixed Term Tenancy of a year, which said that the landlord could give notice after six months but the tenant could not do the same, that would be unfair. A ‘No Pets’ rule with no exceptions so that you couldn’t even keep a goldfish would be unfair too. It’s always best to get legal advice before you ignore terms that you think may be unfair.

 

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