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Five commonly misunderstood rights of tenants

By z4027672030, May 10 2016 02:13PM

Renting is becoming increasingly common in Britain, but many people are still unaware of the rights they are entitled to as a tenant.

It can be difficult to know who is responsible for things such as repairs, and the clarity surrounding rises in rent payments. Tenants should be safe from being mistreated, but you must also remember to respect the property you are renting and obey the contract that you’ve signed.

In order to help you, we have taken a look at some of the most commonly misunderstood rights of tenants below:

How much notice must my landlord give before they drop by?

Your landlord can’t just drop round when they want; they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice before doing so. It must also be for a valid reason, such as carrying out an inspection or performing maintenance.

Of course, this time period may be broken in the case of an emergency, such as a burst water pipe.

Can my rent be raised during my tenancy?

Your landlord is allowed to raise your rent at certain times, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have. On a rolling contract, your landlord can’t raise your rent more than one a year without your permission.

In a fixed term contract, your landlord can only raise your rent once a term as long as you agree. If you don’t agree, then the rent can’t be raised until the end of said term. Any implemented rent increases must be fair and in accordance with other rent rates in the area.

What happens to my deposit throughout my tenancy?

In order to keep your deposit safe, it should be held in a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. However, 9% of landlords haven’t informed tenants that their deposit is being held there.

It is a legal requirement for landlords to provide the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme where your money is being held, and its dispute resolution service within 30 days of them taking your deposit.

Which maintenance jobs are my responsibility and which are my landlord’s?

It is important that you know which maintenance jobs are your responsibility to conduct, as well as which are the responsibility of your landlord. These can be divided pretty easily, as follows:

Yours:

• Your own appliances

• Looking after internal decorations, furniture and equipment

• Minor repairs (changing lightbulbs, changing batteries in smoke detectors etc.)

• Repairing/replacing anything you have damaged or broken. Make sure you keep the receipts as you may be reimbursed for them later

• Making sure the property is heated and ventilated property to prevent damp, mould and other issues

• Reporting any needed repairs or other problems you are experiencing

Your landlord’s:

• The property’s structure and exterior

• Heating and hot water

• Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation

• Electrical wiring

• Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings, which includes drains and pipes

• Any damage they cause by attempting repairs

Your landlord must also ensure that the property is safe to live in and free from damp and mould before you move in. They must also install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and perform regular checks on the electrical and gas appliances they have supplied.

What action can I take over rent disputes?

It might get to a point where you need external help to sort out an issue you are having with your landlord, where you can apply to a tribunal over rent disputes.

You can only apply to the tribunal if you have an assured or an assured shorthold tenancy and your rent has been increased after a “Section 13 Notice”. You’ll see a Section 13 Notice if the rent is not stated in the tenancy agreement, and the tenant does not agree to the proposed increase in rent.

Other disputes may require you to seek legal advice. If you are experiencing a landlord and tenant dispute, North Devon based Taylors Solicitors can provide you with the assistance you need, in a friendly and professional manner. Please contact us today for more information.

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