With there being over 4.40 million rented properties reported in the UK in by Statista, it is very important as a Tenant you are aware of your obligations and rights under Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
Before the above the law was introduced there were no assured shorthold tenancy agreement, only regulated tenancies. Regulated tenancies had “fair” rents which were set out by the rent officers. These were often “50%” of market value and left landlords without a profit on their investment or funds to carry out any repairs required to the property.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 was introduced to improve the living standards for both parties. It introduced tenancy agreements which ran for seven years or less.
We have provided a simple but an informative guide below in respect of tenants’ rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985:
Right to know your Landlord
Many landlords operate through letting agents, property managers or companies. The act states:
- If a tenant makes a written request for the landlord’s name and address
- Anyone collecting the rent
- Acting as an agent for the landlord.
The details must be provided in writing to the tenant within 21 days of when the request was made.
Tenants must deal with minor repairs
The tenancy agreement must state what is classed as a minor repair and who is responsible to repair it.
Tenants have four obligations under most tenancy agreements, as detailed below:
- Keep their home reasonably clean and tidy
- Make sure any electrical appliances they own are safe
- Keep any garden and outside area in a reasonable state
- Carry out minor maintenance like changing a light bulb and smoke alarm batteries
The agreement will also include a provision that any damaged caused by the tenant, tenant’s children, their visitors to the property or their pets should be paid for by the tenant.
Right to quite enjoyment for tenants
Section 9A (8) of the Act details as and when a landlord or a contractor can enter the property whilst it is being occupied by a tenant.
The tenant must be provided with 24-hours’ notice in writing unless it is an emergency e.g. a flood. As a tenant you have a right to ask for a more convenient appointment.
However, if the appointment has been agreed the tenant must let the landlord or the contractor enter the property when he/she arrive.
Maintaining a safe living standard
Landlords must ensure that the rented property is free of any health and safety hazards.
An important point for tenants to note is that for any tenants that moved in before 20 March 2018 the landlords only have to bring the home up to standard at the start of the tenancy agreement. However, since then the term is applied to the full term of the agreement.
What are safe living standards?
Section 10 of the Act states that the rented property must be fit to live in. The landlord must address the following under this section:
- Damp and mould – which makes the property unfit to live in because it is in a poor state of repair
- Rates, mice and pests – Landlords must stop pests from getting into the property.
- Gas safety – Must commission annual inspections
- Electrical safety – wiring, plugs, light sockets and any appliances supplied by the landlord should be checked at least every five years
- Fire safety – Landlords must supply working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at the start of the tenancy agreement
Landlords must deal with major repairs
Section 11 of the Act details the landlord’s obligation to maintain and repair a privately rented home:
- Structure of the building, including roof, windows and doors
- Gas pipes, radiators and boilers
- Electrical wiring
- Water pipes from mains into the home and hot water
- Sinks, baths, toilets, showers and drains
- Common areas like halls and corridoes in shared housing
- Making good repairs reinstating and decorating once they are completed
Reporting a repair
Landlords must arrange repairs in a reasonable time after the tenants report them.
What is a reasonable time frame? This depends on the nature of repair that is required to be carried out example a boiler 24 hours or a missing roof tile can take up to 30 days.
Reporting a repair can be done by telephone, email, writing to the landlord or contacting the dedicated smartphone app (if one is available).
It is very important that both parties keep records of all repairs being reported, completed and what action was taken or discussed.
An important point to note is that Landlords don’t always carry out repairs and this might give rise too a civil offence and come with a heavy fine. But the Act does have some get-outs for Landlords including:
- If the tenant has not told the landlord about the defect
- If the tenant does not allow the landlord into the property to carry out the repairs