Whether you are a tenant with a landlord or a landlord with tenants, it’s important to be aware of certain legal responsibilities that the landlord has. Obviously, there are plenty of responsibilities on both sides, but this article will focus on some of the items required by law which a landlord is legally obliged to provide for his or her tenants.
There are three of the six items covered in this first part, with Part 2 focusing on certain safety certificates that a landlord must provide to ensure the property being rented is safe to live in. But let’s begin with the obvious one so that’s out of the way.
It’s rare you will find a landlord that won’t provide you with one of these as they protect the landlord as much as they protect the tenant (well, nearly). It’s worth including first on this list as it is the contract between the tenant and the landlord that will determine how long the tenancy period will be for and how much rent will be paid for each month of that period (usually either six months or a year). It will also cover any other responsibilities that either the tenant or the landlord has, either to each other or to the property.
It’s crucial for every tenant to read and understand their tenancy agreement fully so that there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of the tenancy period which might result in the loss of part or even all of their deposit. Talking of deposits…
Deposit Protection Scheme Documents
Landlords are now legally required to place their tenants’ deposit into a deposit protection scheme which will hold the money until such a time that the tenant is leaving the property. Once you have paid the deposit, the landlord must provide documentation proving that they have indeed paid the deposit into the deposit protection scheme (which is often taken care of by a letting agency).
If, at the end of the tenancy period, the landlord insists that a portion of the deposit must be retained to cover certain damages to the property as covered in the tenancy agreement (for example), then the landlord can claim it but will have to prove and justify the claim. Otherwise the deposit scheme returns the deposit to the tenant. These deposit protection schemes are only legally obliged for ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ contracts, which the vast majority of tenants will be (though do double check before you sign just to be certain).
The Government’s How to Rent Guide
Since October of 2015, landlords are also obliged to provide this How to Rent guide for their tenants. You can get either a link to an online copy to download, or get a printed version, with either having the purpose of helping tenants understand their rights and responsibilities. The guide provides information on the likes of what to look out for before signing a contract, what happens at the end of the tenancy and also what you can do if things go wrong.
Part 2 will concentrate on the safety side of things, as landlords are legally obliged to prove their properties are safe to live in.