The Landlord's Rights

Living in your home

You must actually live in and use the property as your main home. You should notify your landlord if you will be leaving your home for any length of time. This might be the case if you are going into hospital, serving a custodial sentence, or need to stay elsewhere temporarily in order to provide care for a loved one. If you don't keep your landlord informed, they might think you've abandoned the property. It is also important to ensure that the rent will be paid while you are away.

If someone else is living in your home while you are away, bear in mind that it may be possible for your landlord to evict you for subletting the property without permission.

 

Keeping up to date with your rent

Rent is usually paid in advance, normally on a monthly basis. If you fall behind with payments your landlord may be able to evict you and claim back any money that you owe them.

 

Paying the bills

Most tenants have to pay the bills for electricity, gas, water and telephone, as well as getting a TV licence. Your tenancy agreement will say whether you are responsible for paying the bills or not. If you don't pay them, the services could be cut off and you may have to pay to be reconnected.

Taking care of the place

Most tenants have some responsibilities regarding the upkeep of their homes. You should always look after the property as best you can and avoid causing damage to it or to your neighbours' property.

In general, landlords are responsible for repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating. They are also required to ensure that gas and electrical installations comply with safety standards. 

As a tenant, you are responsible for:

  • looking after internal decorations, furniture and equipment. This doesn't include 'fair wear and tear' though. If the carpet becomes a little thin, it's fair wear and tear; if you burn a hole in it, you'll probably have pay for it
  • not using appliances that you think might not be safe
  • reporting any repairs needed or other problems that you are aware of
  • minor maintenance (such as checking smoke alarms are working, changing light bulbs, etc).
  • if you cause any damage or break anything, you'll need to repair or replace it
  • dealing with your rubbish properly. Make sure it's bagged up properly, and only put out when and where it's supposed to be
  • sticking to any terms in your tenancy agreement regarding pets, parking, gardening, caravans, etc
  • heating the property adequately and making sure it's kept well ventilated. In particular, make sure that if you go away during the winter leaving the property unoccupied, you may need to ensure the heating is left on a timer to keep the place warm. A burst water pipe may be your landlord's responsibility to fix but it's still your home that will be flooded!

Not causing a nuisance

You should take care not to behave in an antisocial way that could upset or annoy your neighbours, or to allow anyone in your household (including children) to do so. Antisocial behaviour is a legal reason for eviction, if you are found to be responsible for this kind of behaviour your landlord has the right to seek posssession of the property. 

  • Antisocial behaviour can include things like:
  • having the stereo or TV on too loudly
  • not keeping pets under control
  • allowing your children to be a nuisance
  • leaving rubbish piled up everywhere
  • making lots of noise outside your home or when you come in
  • using the house for illegal activities, such as drug dealing.

As well as respecting your neighbours, you should not behave in an antisocial or aggressive way towards your landlord, or anyone employed by your landlord.

 

Being responsible for your household and visitors

As well as not breaking any of the terms of your tenancy agreement yourself, you are also responsible for the behaviour of everyone in your household and of anyone staying with or visiting you. You could be held responsible (and possibly evicted) if they cause damage or are antisocial, so don't be afraid to take control.

Smoking

Unless the tenancy agreement says that your property is non-smoking, then you are allowed to smoke and allow visitors to smoke in your accommodation. However, smoking is not allowed in any parts of the building that are shared with other tenants.

Giving your landlord access when necessary

Most tenancy agreements contain information about how and when your landlord can get access to the property, for example, if repairs are needed. You are entitled to be given reasonable notice of this.

However, you also have the right to live in your home without unnecessary interference from the landlord. Most tenants have the right to stop the landlord from coming in, unless they want her/him to. If your landlord or someone acting on her/his behalf harasses you or tries to make life difficult for you in your home, they may be committing a criminal offence. If this is happening to you get help from an adviser. 

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