30 July 2018
Four More Common Questions About Tenants’ Rights
With more and more people finding that buying a flat or house is unaffordable, long-term renting is now very common.
Here are four more questions I am often asked about the legal rights of tenants.
1. Can my landlord come into the property whenever they want?
The landlord has a right to reasonable access to carry out repairs for which they are responsible and to inspect the property, but usually they must give 24 hours’ notice in writing.
In most cases, a landlord does not have the right to demand access without notice, or to enter the property without permission when the tenant is not there.
2. If we are in dispute, can a landlord seize my belongings?
Your landlord has an obligation to look after any of your belongings left in a property after you have moved out or been evicted. They must make reasonable efforts to trace you, and serve you with notice – usually 28 days, but three months if you owe them money – stating how you can collect the goods, and that they will be disposed of if they have not been collected by the expiry of the notice.
If the goods remain uncollected, the landlord may sell or dispose of them and make a deduction from any proceeds for expenses reasonably incurred in storage or disposal. The balance will belong to the tenant.
3. If my housemate moves out, whose responsibility is it to find a replacement?
If you have a joint tenancy with your housemate – where you are both liable for all the rent – if your housemate moves out and doesn’t pay, the landlord can pursue you for the money.
If your housemate is solely responsible for their rent, they will need to pay the landlord the rent or find a replacement agreed by you and the landlord.
4. Can I be charged for wear and tear, and how does the landlord decide on the amount?
Check your tenancy agreement to see if you have agreed that the property will be in a certain condition at the end of the tenancy. In general, you shouldn’t be charged for wear and tear, but the landlord might ask you to pay for damage beyond that.
If you’ve paid a deposit, the landlord might ask for that payment to be deducted from the deposit. If you can’t agree, you can ask the tenancy deposit scheme that holds your deposit to make a decision.
For more information about tenancy disputes, click here.