Renting a home involves lots of responsibilities for both the landlord and the tenant. The former is responsible for keeping the home safe and secure while the latter takes care of maintaining the house’s or flat’s upkeep throughout their tenancy, aside from paying rent on time. They must also immediately report any disrepair in the home issues like structural damage, damp, mould, or infestations to the landlord.
A good landlord-tenant relationship can benefit both parties. Tenants will stay longer and landlords will be more understanding, especially in terms of any potential rent increases. Some landlords cause distress to their renters by making unannounced visits or not promptly responding to urgent repair requests. Whatever their reasons are for such behaviour, tenants are allowed to exert their rights and force the landlord to take appropriate actions.
The tenant must know the landlord’s name and contact details in case of an emergency or an urgent concern, such as a maintenance request. They have the right to live peacefully in a safe and risk-free environment. Tenants can also dispute if the rent is increased excessively or if they are threatened to be unlawfully evicted.
Before the start of the tenancy, the landlord must present the tenancy agreement to the renter and highlight the do’s and don’ts of the property including the rent payment schedule. Should there be a special clause—for example, regarding subletting, having pets around, or smoking inside the flat—the landlord should discuss this clearly to avoid future conflicts.
Landlords must have a complete set of certifications such as for gas, fire, electrical, and Energy Performance Certificates, as well as the tenancy deposit protection documents. They are required to keep the rented homes habitable and free from the following issues:
- structural damages like cracks in walls, broken windows and defective doors
- faulty electrics and plumbing
- water and gas leaks
- vermin infestations
- clogged sewage
Although the landlord does have rights under the tenancy, they are in no position to abuse their power as property owners or managers. Taking back possession of the property due to non-payment of rent cannot be done in haste. In fact, they will need to serve notices to the tenant and follow proper legal procedures.
The tenant needs to be notified 24 hours before an inspection of or entry into the premises can be done. Inspections happen either in response to a request by the tenant or if the landlord feels like the tenant has caused some damages on the property. However, for overdue rent payment, an impromptu visit is allowed.
If the tenant left some personal belongings in the property after they vacated, the landlord can remove the things to free up the flat for the next occupant. They are not obligated to inform the tenant about the removal of goods but are encouraged to, especially if there was no bad blood between them.
Landlords cannot discriminate or harass tenants due to nine of the protected characteristics. These are: age.
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
. They should not treat anyone unfairly because of these protected characteristics.
Tenancy deposits, which must remain untouched throughout the tenant’s stay, should be refunded to the vacating tenant with a complete breakdown of the deductions, if any. Otherwise, the full amount must be given back by the landlord.
Requests for repair must not be ignored as this can harm the tenant of the affected flat. It can sometimes take 21 or so days for landlords to respond but, when they do, they should make a pre-scheduled inspection of the property to assess the damage and repair cost.
Sometimes, landlords may never respond and ignore the requests completely. Cases like this might end up in retaliatory eviction where the private landlord or property owner will forcefully evict the complaining tenant just to avoid all the hassle of repairing the damages in the property.
If you have repeatedly reported the disrepair in your home but your landlord keeps ignoring your repair requests, there are housing disrepair experts that can assist you with your complaint. Be sure you have photos and videos of the disrepair in your home as they can serve as evidence for your claims. Send your communication to the landlord via email and notify them through text messages so you will have a paper trail for all your correspondence with them.
For unreasonable deductions to your tenancy deposit from your assured shorthold tenancy after 6 April 2007, there are Government-backed firms that run tenancy deposit schemes to assure you that you will get all or some of your money at the end of your tenancy. It is illegal for your landlord to not protect your tenancy deposit in one of these schemes.
Exerting your tenant rights does not end when your landlord mistreats and ignores your reports or claims. Disrepairclaim.co.uk has a panel of solicitors who can help you file your complaint and get you the housing disrepair compensation you deserve.