Research has shown that a generation of young British adults have given up hope of ever owning their own home – a generation which the media are calling ‘Generation Rent’. But as we increasingly become a nation of renters I thought it would be helpful, for both opportunistic landlords and unwilling renters, to spell out a landlord’s legal responsibilities to his/her tenant.
- Landlords have to inform tenants when the rent is due and the method of payment.
- Rent can be increased but only at certain times during the tenancy and only under certain circumstances. These should be explained in the tenancy agreement.
Landlords have a legal requirement to ensure the safety of their tenants. They must:
- Ensure there is a valid Gas Safety Certificate for all appliances which must be issued by a registered gas engineer and renewed annually.
- Ensure furniture meets the fire safety standards.
- Ensure all electrical equipment is safe.
- Landlords have extra legal obligations in the case of buildings occupied by more than one family. They must provide adequate precautions and means of escape from a fire.
- Landlords have responsibility for carrying out external repairs to the property including roof, walls, guttering & drainage.
- It is also their responsibility to keep gas, electrical and water services in working order.
- Tenants normally have some responsibility for internal repairs which must be detailed in the tenancy agreement.
Obviously landlords need access to the property to carry out inspections and repairs but they must let you live without unnecessary interference.
- The landlord cannot enter the property whenever they want and must give reasonable notice and agree to a time with the tenant.
- If the landlord persistently enters the property unannounced you could then stop them entering and may in extreme cases be able to change the locks.
- All Landlords must provide the tenant with their name and UK contact address.
- If the property is managed by an agent they are also obliged to provide this information.
- If you have to make a request to the landlord you should write to them at their UK address and they must reply within 21 days.
- A landlord must give written notice and obtain a court order to evict a tenant.
- The specific legal process depends on the type of tenancy and the reasons for eviction.
- Trying to force a tenant to leave without following the correct legal process is a serious offence and can lead to a fine or even imprisonment.