Your Rights as a Tennant

The rights you have as an assured shorthold tenant

An assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy that gives you a legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time. Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed-term tenancy).

 

The law gives you rights to:

  • get information about your tenancy
  • control your home so that you can stop other people from freely entering
  • get certain types of repairs done
  • live in your accommodation until your landlord gets a court order to evict you.

You may also have other rights, such as to get your landlord to do repairs or to challenge rent increases. However, assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, so if you try to enforce these rights you could risk losing your home. Get advice before you decide what to do.

Your right to information about your assured shorthold tenancy

If your tenancy started after 28 February 1997, you have the right to ask your landlord to provide a statement of terms of your tenancy. The information that must be provided is:

  • the start date of the tenancy
  • the amount of rent and when you have to pay it
  • how and when the rent may be changed
  • the length of any fixed-term.

If you ask for this information your landlord has to provide it within 28 days.

Your right to live in your accommodation undisturbed

You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. You have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to. Your landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with your right to live in your home. If your landlord tries to do this s/he may be guilty of harrassment, which is against the law.

 

Paying rent

You must pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you don't pay your rent your landlord can take court action to evict you. If you pay rent weekly your landlord has to provide a rent book.

Getting repairs done

The law says your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair. This includes:

  • the roof
  • guttering
  • walls (but this doesn't include internal decoration)
  • windows and doors.

Your landlord must also keep the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation in good repair. Your landlord may have extra responsibilities to repair depending on what your tenancy agreement says.

You are responsible for looking after the property. This might include unblocking a sink or changing a fuse when necessary. You may also have other responsibilities depending on what your tenancy agreement says.

Your landlord must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property. Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.

If your accommodation needs repairs, inform your landlord or agent. If the repairs are your landlord's responsibility and are not done there may be ways you can force your landlord to carry out the work. However, as assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, your landlord may to prefer to evict you rather than carry out expensive repairs. Get advice if you are in this situation.

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