What are your rights as a tenant when you're renting?

Your rights as a tenant when you're renting?

What are the regulations regarding rent increases by landlords? In most cases, tenants in England with an assured shorthold tenancy have a rental agreement that may be either rolling or fixed-term.

For rolling tenancies:

  • Landlords can typically increase the rent once a year.
  • They must provide at least one month's notice.
  • Any rent increase must be fair and in line with local property prices.

For fixed-term tenancies:

  • Landlords usually cannot raise the rent until the fixed term ends unless the contract includes a rent review clause.
  • They must give at least one month's notice before increasing the rent.
  • If the fixed term is a year, landlords must give six months' notice.

It's worth noting that there are other types of tenancy agreements with different rules. To determine the specifics of your tenancy, you can use Shelter's online tool, a housing charity in England. Keep in mind that housing laws and renting regulations differ in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

What is a holding deposit, and how much is it? In England, a holding deposit is paid by tenants to reserve a rental property. The amount of a holding deposit cannot exceed one week's rent.

Upon signing the tenancy agreement, you should receive the holding deposit back within seven days. Alternatively, it can be applied towards your rent. However, if you decide not to move into the property, you may forfeit the holding deposit.

If the landlord fails to return the holding deposit when you believe they should, you can write to them requesting a refund. If the issue remains unresolved, you can contact one of the letting agent redress schemes. In England, you can also lodge a complaint with Trading Standards through the Citizen's Advice consumer helpline. It's important to note that holding deposits are not legal in Scotland, and rules may differ in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Can a landlord evict a tenant? Landlords must adhere to strict rules when evicting tenants. Failure to follow these rules could render the eviction illegal or make the landlord guilty of harassment.

In England, landlords must provide written notice to the tenant, which can be:

  • A "section 8" notice if they have a legitimate reason for wanting the tenant to leave, such as late rent payments.
  • A "section 21" notice without providing a reason. However, the government may reform this process in the future.

Different tenancy agreements have varying rules regarding eviction. Once the notice period expires, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings through court. They can apply for a "possession order." If granted and the tenant refuses to vacate, landlords can request a "warrant for possession."

Eviction rules differ in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so it's important to consult the specific regulations in those regions.

What are the standards for rental property conditions? In England, tenants have the right to "live in a property that's safe and in a good state of repair." Similar rules apply in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Landlords are not responsible for minor tasks like changing light bulbs. However, if the rental property is unsafe due to issues such as faulty electrical systems, dampness, or pest infestations, it could be considered unfit.

If you encounter such problems, you can first complain to your landlord. If the issue persists and the landlord fails to address it, you can reach out to your local council for assistance. It's worth noting that if you have already lodged a complaint with the council, you may have additional protection against eviction.

Tenants are responsible for paying rent on time, covering their allocated bills, and maintaining the property's cleanliness. This includes proper waste disposal and general upkeep.

What can tenants do if their landlord refuses to make necessary repairs? If your landlord refuses to address necessary repairs, you have several options. You can:

  1. Contact your local council: Seek assistance from the council's environmental health department, which can inspect the property and take enforcement action against the landlord if necessary.

  2. Seek legal advice: Consult a housing lawyer or seek advice from organizations such as Shelter, who can provide guidance on your rights and legal options.

  3. Explore alternative dispute resolution: You can consider mediation or alternative dispute resolution services to resolve the issue without going to court.

Remember that the specific steps and options may vary depending on your location within the UK.

Can a landlord refuse to rent to tenants with pets or children? In England, it could be considered discrimination under equality law if a landlord refuses to rent a property to a woman solely because she has children.

Before filing a complaint, it's important to demonstrate that you can afford the rent and that the property is suitable in size for your needs, according to Shelter.

Landlords should not have blanket bans on pets and must provide a valid reason for refusing them, such as insufficient space. However, they can charge higher rent to account for potential pet-related damages.

It's worth noting that the rules regarding renting to tenants with pets or children may differ in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Are bills included in the rental agreement? Landlords have the option to include bills, such as council tax, in the rental agreement, but they are not obligated to do so.

If landlords choose to include utility bills, they cannot charge more than what they are actually paying for those utilities.