Tenants’ rights and responsibilities under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy
Most private landlords require a deposit to be paid by tenants before moving into a property to ensure that, upon vacating, it will be returned in the same condition as it was in at the start of the tenancy (taking into account general wear and tear). The deposit is usually equivalent to six weeks’ rent.
The landlord or letting agent must place your deposit in one of the Government approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes within 30 days of it being paid. These schemes ensure that the deposit is protected and fairly returned to you at the end of your tenancy.
The landlord or letting agent must give you the following information:
- The name and contact details of the scheme and its dispute resolution service
- How the deposit is protected (some schemes hold the deposit, and others insure it)
- Reasons for any deductions from the deposit
- How to apply to get the deposit back
- The dispute process for deposits
If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy, the deposit will be held until the issue is resolved. If the issue is not resolved, each scheme offers free independent adjudications to settle the matter.
Sebastian Roche uses the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which is an insured option.
You have the right to:
- live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- have your deposit protected and returned (subject to any fair deductions) when the tenancy ends
- challenge excessively high charges
- know who your landlord is
- live in the property undisturbed
- see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
- have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.
If you don’t know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined if they don’t give you this information within 21 days.
Below are some of your responsibilities as a tenant. You must:
- give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
- take good care of the property, eg turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
- pay the agreed rent even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, eg Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
- Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.