As a tenant it is important to know what rights you have and what you are entitled to. This will help you to know what your landlord must do for you if for example an appliance stops working.
Check your Tenancy Agreement
When renting a property you will have agreed to a tenancy agreement which is an agreement between you and your landlord that sets out the rights and obligations for both you and the landlord (and the letting agent if one is involved).
Documents and information you should receive as a tenant
By law, you as a tenant must be given the following information:
- if you have a weekly tenancy (not a fixed term or monthly tenure), your landlord must provide a rent book or similar document. Your landlord commits a criminal offence if they fail to do so.
- if you do not know the name of your landlord, you can make a written request to the person who receives the rent for the full name and address of your landlord. The agent must supply you with this information in writing within 21 days, after which they commit an offence.
- in England and Wales if the tenancy is an assured shorthold which was created on or after 28 February 1997, your landlord must provide basic written terms of the agreement within 28 days of you requesting this in writing.
Assured shorthold tenants (on or after28 February 1997)
Any new tenancy created on or after this date is automatically an assured shorthold tenancy, unless it was created following a contract made before 28 February 1997; or your landlord serves a notice on you stating that the tenancy is not to be an assured shorthold tenancy; or there is a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that it is not to be an assured shorthold tenancy; or the tenancy is one created by the death of a former protected tenant; or the tenancy was previously a secure tenancy and became an assured tenancy; or you are an occupier with basic protection (see under heading Occupiers with basic protection).
If the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy for one of the reasons given above, it will be an assured tenancy. You will have the same rights as other assured tenants whose tenancy began before 28 February 1997 but after 15 January 1989.
Assured shorthold tenancies created on or after 28 February 1997 do not have to have a fixed term period at the beginning of the tenancy, although your landlord may give a fixed term if they want. If no fixed term is agreed, the tenancy will be what is called a periodic tenancy. No written agreement or notice is needed to create an assured shorthold tenancy on or after 28 February 1997. An oral agreement is sufficient.
Your rights as an assured shorthold tenant
As an assured shorthold tenant you have the right to stay in the accommodation until the fixed term ends unless your landlord can convince the court there are reasons for eviction, for example, rent arrears, damage to property, or that one of the other terms of the agreement has been broken. You can stay on after the end of the fixed term, even if the agreement is not renewed, until your landlord gives you notice.
As an assured shorthold tenant you can enforce your rights, for instance to get repairs done, but if you do, your landlord may decide not to renew the tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term.
As well as the right to stay in your home for the fixed period as long as you keep to the terms of the tenancy, you will also have other legal rights including:-
- the right to have the accommodation kept in a reasonable state of repair
- the right to carry out minor repairs yourself and the right to deduct the cost from the rent.
If you are considering doing this you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau.
- the right of your spouse, civil partner or other partner to take over the tenancy on your death (the right of "succession")
- the right not to be treated unfairly because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
You may have a written tenancy agreement which may give you more rights than the minimum provided by law. You can find more information on assured shorthold tenancies from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.