Renting is common in the UK. In 2021, approximately 4.4 million households were privately rented in England. Renting is also common in younger households with just 41% of household heads between 25 and 34 owning their home. But what rights do renters have in the UK? There are various laws in place to protect renters rights including the renter’s reform bill. If you are renting, it’s important to be aware of your renter’s rights and what you can expect from a landlord.
Here are some of the most important rights as a tenant you should be aware of.
Renter’s Rights Explained
When you rent a property as a new tenant, you may be asked to pay one or two months’ rent before you move in. This is referred to as paying ‘rent in advance.’ In doing so, you will always be paying your rent at least one month in advance. This is paid on top of the deposit that will be returned at the end of your tenancy.
These should be the only fees that you are expected to pay upfront. The majority of fees for private tenants are now banned. As such, you cannot be asked to pay for elements such as credit checks or references when you agree to sign a new tenancy agreement.
The only other cost you may need to pay is a holding deposit. Some landlords will require a deposit to hold the property while credit checks and other details are completed. However, it will be returned if the tenancy does not go through.
Once your tenancy ends, your deposit will be returned to you. The only reason you won’t receive your full deposit is if the property was not left in the same condition as when you arrived. This includes failing to keep it clean.
There are exceptions here, particularly for long tenancies. For instance, many landlords will give a fair amount of leeway for wear and tear. If you lose your deposit, it will usually be because the property was left unclean or areas were damaged. If you feel that your deposit has been withheld for unfair reasons, you can contact the landlord or agents directly. You can also use the deposit protection scheme’s dispute resolution service or go through the courts.
Your deposit must be held in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme if you rent your home on a shorthold tenancy. Once the final amount for the deposit has been agreed upon, it needs to be returned to you within ten days. You will receive the full deposit if you:
- Meet the terms of the tenancy agreement
- Leave the property undamaged
- Pay all rent and bills
Your rights as a tenant include the right to live in a property that is deemed to be safe and in good state of repair. Essentially, this means that the landlord is responsible for fixing any repairs that were not caused by your actions. For instance, the boiler could stop working; if that’s the case, they can’t leave you without heating or hot water. They should arrange a fix as quickly as possible. On average, a landlord should arrange a repair within two weeks of being notified. If a landlord fails to do this, then you can contact the local authority’s housing office and report them. This is one of the agencies who protects renter’s rights. Common issues a landlord should fix include:
- Pest control issues
- Toilet and bathroom problems
- Hot water and heating issues
- Issues with white goods
Some repairs fall outside of the boundaries of renter rights. One example is lightbulbs; if these go out, it’s your job to replace them.
Terms of the Tenancy
To answer the question: what are your renter’s rights? You should always consider your tenancy agreement. Your tenancy agreement will detail everything that you are expected to do around the property. This could include cleaning it periodically or leaving the heating on low during the winter months. Some landlords include this to prevent pipes from freezing.
You will have rights and responsibilities regardless of whether there is a tenancy agreement. These are required to be in writing for a long-term tenancy of more than three years. They will often be updated if the terms change or during a renewal. This is one of the most important tenancy rights UK renters should be aware of.
A tenancy agreement must be fair and comply with the law. In other words, it cannot include unrealistic expectations of how the property should be maintained.
Be Aware of Your Renter’s Rights
We hope this helps you know your rights as a tenant. By being aware of these renter rights, you can ensure that you are never treated unfairly by a landlord and that you are protected from unfair practices that do exist in the industry.
If you would like more information on any of the points discussed in this article or you would like to talk to us about our services, please contact us here.