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Know Your Rights and Responsibilities: For Tenants

When you decide to rent a home, there are certain things that you need to know in order to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible – for you and for your landlord. With this guide to both your rights and responsibilities you can avoid running into any difficulties and ensure that if anything unexpected comes up, you know exactly how to deal with it.

Giving house keys

Maintaining the Property

As a tenant, you have the right to live in a property which is kept in a good state of repair. When you move in, everything should be functional and safe, and if you are living in a furnished flat or home (as opposed to self-furnished) then your landlord may even take responsibility for replacements providing that items have worn out through natural use.

When it comes to structural repairs or maintenance that’s needed on a boiler or any other essential items in your home, this is the landlord’s responsibility. You need to ensure that any faults are reported to the landlord as quickly as possible to avoid making minor repairs into major hazards!

Although the landlord is responsible for fixing these issues if they occur, you have a responsibility as the tenant to care for the property properly while you’re living there. This means remembering to carry out tasks such as turning the water supply off whilst on holiday to avoid burst pipes, removing condensation that could form into mould, and fixing damage which is caused by your own actions (or those of a family member).

Payments and Deposits

couple hands holding green house

It won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that one of your key responsibilities as a tenant is to pay the agreed rent at the agreed time, and this has to happen even if there are outstanding repairs needed. You do have the right to challenge costs if you feel that they’re unreasonably high, but you’ll need to continue paying while the process is still ongoing. Other bills, including both tax and utility costs, will have been agreed in advance with your landlord and the responsibility will fall with the person specified within the contract.

When it comes to the deposit, you have the right for this to be returned when the tenancy reaches its end providing you haven’t damaged the home, and in a lot of cases your landlord should also place the deposit in a deposit protection scheme while you are still renting from them.

Landlord Inspections

Your landlord should be given access to your property if they wish to inspect it; however, they must give you at least 24 hours notice before entering.

You also have the right to live in the property undisturbed, so although the landlord can carry out inspections or visit your home when repairs are needed, they are not allowed to harass you or turn up unannounced! If they do, there are legal processes that you can go through.

Making Changes to the Property

Moving Boxes and Broom

If you want to make changes that go beyond hanging up a few pictures – for instance, putting up shelves or painting the walls – then you should always ask permission from the landlord first. Of course, this doesn’t apply to freestanding furniture – but anything that could be considered a permanent change will need to be cleared first.

You also need to ask the landlord’s permission if you would like to sublet your property, keep pets or smoke within the property – your tenancy agreement might clarify whether or not these things are permitted, but if not it’s always worth a quick call to the landlord to avoid losing your deposit!

If you feel that any of your tenant rights are not being afforded to you, then never be afraid to query it: these are in place to ensure that your standard of living is at a high quality, so take advantage of them.  Here at Easy Let we can help you ensure that you’re renting from landlords who have your best interests in mind and with a great selection of property to let in Hastings, we can help you find the perfect house or flat to make your home. Contact us online or at 01424 44 70 80 to find out more.

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