Most common questions for tenants

Most common questions for tenants
Following our article on the most common questions for landlords, we have compiled a list on the most common legal questions for tenants. Whether you want to rent a property for the short term while moving house or you will be calling your place home as a long term tenant, it is useful to know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and what to expect from your renting experience.

What should a tenancy agreement include?
Your tenancy agreement should include the following information:

The names of all people involved in the agreement, including the tenants and the landlord
The property address
The start and end date of the tenancy
The price for the rent, how and when to pay it
The deposit amount and how it will be protected
Information on how and when the rent will be reviewed
Depending on your tenancy agreement, it may also include whether you can end your tenancy early and how to do this, who is responsible for minor repairs and whether the property can be let to someone else as a sublet or have lodgers.

What is the difference between an assured shorthold tenancy and an assured tenancy?
Most landlords use Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) for renting their properties. ASTs have a fixed term at the beginning of the tenancy, usually six months. If after this time no new tenancy is agreed the tenancy agreement rolls over into a statutory periodic tenancy, which continues until either party gives notice.

Assured Tenancies are unpopular as they are treated for the whole term of the agreement like fixed tenancies and are much harder for landlords to break the agreement as they must have “grounds” to break it.

How do I know if my deposit is protected?
As a tenant, you have the right to have your deposit protected and returned once the tenancy ends, as long as there is no damage to the property or furnishings.

Landlords are required by law to put your deposit in a formal Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Once your deposit has been taken and put into the scheme, your landlord needs to provide information about the scheme within 30 days.

What are my tenant rights?
As a tenant, you have several rights related to your tenancy in privately rented accommodation. These are the following:

The right to know who your landlord is – you must receive this information within 21 days from the start of the tenancy
The right to live in a property that’s in a good state of repair and safe for you to live there
The right to have your deposit protected
The right to challenge excessively high charges
The right to see an energy performance certificate for the property
The right to live in the property without being harassed by the landlord or their agents
The right to not be discriminated against or harassed by your landlord because of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or something connected to your disability, religion or belief, race, being a transgender person
The right to be pregnant or have a baby
If you have a tenancy agreement, you have the right for it to be fair and comply with the law and if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years, you have the right to have a written agreement.

How do I end my tenancy agreement?
How to end your tenancy agreement depends on your tenancy agreement. If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, you can usually leave the property on the last day of the fixed term without giving notice to the landlord. If you stay just one day beyond this fixed term then both you and the landlord are liable to give each other notice as it is set out in the tenancy agreement. For the tenant, this is usually at least four weeks or a calendar month depending on how often the rent is paid. The landlord usually has to give at least two months of notice.

What are grounds for eviction?
While you are living in the property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or during an Assured Tenancy, the landlord can evict you if you have breached the tenancy agreement and they have “grounds” to do so. The landlord has to serve you with a “Section 8 notice to quit” or “notice of possession” in writing, stating the grounds they are seeking to evict you. You are entitled to defend this claim and can do so in writing and/or in person at Court.

There are 17 grounds in total. Grounds 1-8 are mandatory which means that the court must give possession to the landlord if the they are met. Grounds 9-17 are discretionary which means the court will decide on the outcome. The grounds cover a range of reasons as to why the landlord wishes to evict you, including rent arrears (Ground 8), anti-social behaviour and tenant damage (Ground 13).

If you want to discuss your unique circumstances as a tenant or a landlord or if you need legal advice on any aspect of property letting, get in touch with our team today and we will be able to help.