The right to live in a property that is safe and in good condition
When renting it is important that the property is in a habitable condition and that it is safe. If this isn’t the case you can legally withhold paying your rent until the property is brought up to a suitable and safe condition. If the landlord or agency refuses to address major issues and no compensation is received, then you should contact citizens advice or your local council.
The right to have your deposit out in a Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
By law, all deposits that are received are to be put into a DPS scheme within 30 days of receiving it. In the event that after 30 days your deposit has not been registered with the DPS, then you should contact your local county court. The courts will then contact the landlord/agency and ask why this has not been carried out and order them to pay the deposit into a scheme within 14 days, the courts may also order the landlord/agency to pay up to 3 times the deposit back to the tenant.
The right to have your deposit returned at the end of your tenancy
At the end of your tenancy, there will most likely be a closing inspection to ensure that the property has been left in a good/similar condition to when you moved in. If there are no disputes, then you should receive your deposit back within 10 days of both parties agreeing on the amount to be returned.
However, if there is a dispute make sure to submit evidence to support your case. This is why it is important to take photos of the property when you move in.
The right to know who your landlord identity
Tenants have the right to know their landlord’s identity and address, under the law you can request these contacts and once the request has been made the agency/relevant party have 21 days to provide you with this information. You can also search the Landlord on local council/land registry sites and even Rent Smart Wales if you are renting in Wales.
The right to live undisturbed
By law, any visit to your property has to have been requested at least 24 hours prior to the visit. You have the right to refuse this request and if the request is breached you can report the landlord for harassment, as even though they may own the property on paper it is not in fact their home.
The right to see the Energy performance certificate (EPC)
Every rental property should have an EPC and they should all be at least an E rating by 2020 by law. You have a legal right to see the EPC to ensure that your property is within the guidelines of the law and also to see the potential costs of running the property. If this request is refused, the Landlord/agent can receive a fine of £200. However, commercial units are exempt from this requirement.
The right to be protected from unfair rent charges
Rent can be increased, but only under certain conditions. For example, if you are on a fixed 6-month tenancy which most standard contracts are these days, then the rent can only be increased during the tenancy if you agree to it. Otherwise, the landlord will have to wait until the end of the 6months to increase the rental charge.
However, if you have passed the fixed period stage and have now moved onto a periodic tenancy (rolling contract) then the landlord cannot increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement.
The right to be protected from unfair eviction
In the event that the locks are changed, water/electric is cut off and unlawful behaviour is used in an attempt to remove you from the premises, then you should seek advice immediately and contact the environmental health department and your local council.
In the event that you do face eviction, the landlord should follow the correct procedures depending on whether they are issuing a section 21 (they do not need a reason) or whether they are issuing you a section 8 (the landlord has to explain why they are evicting you).