As a tenant you have certain obligations:
- Looking after internal decorations, furniture and equipment
- Reporting repairs, preferably in writing
- Minor maintenance (checking smoke alarms are working, changing light bulbs etc..)
- Repairing or replacing anything you damage
- Disposing of your rubbish properly by making sure it's bagged up and put out when and where it's supposed to be
- Complying with your tenancy agreement regarding pets, parking, gardening etc.
- Heating the property adequately and making sure it's kept well ventilated
You have a responsibility to take care of the property you are renting and avoid causing any damage. When you sign your tenancy agreement you should be told which repairs your landlord is responsible for, which repairs you should do, and how to report a repair.
In general, landlords are responsible for repair and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating. They are also required to ensure that gas and electrical installations comply with safety standards.
You are only required to clean any items soiled above normal wear and tear. Landlords cannot keep deposit money because of general wear and tear to the property. Photos should be taken of the condition of the property at the start of a tenancy.
Most tenants have to ask permission from their landlord if they want to -
- Make improvements to the property
- Sub let or take in a lodger
- Pass on the tenancy to someone else
- Run a business from the property.
You may also need to ask permission for things such as keeping a pet, smoking or parking a caravan on the property. Always put your request in writing and make sure you get your landlord's written permission.
Not leaving your property empty. This doesn't mean that you can't go away on holiday, but you should not leave your property empty for prolonged periods of time. It will usually state in your tenancy agreement how many days you can leave your property empty before you have to inform your landlord.
You should take care not upset or annoy your neighbours. Anti-social behaviour is a legal reason for eviction and includes things like -
- Having the stereo or TV on too loudly
- Not keeping pets under control
- Allowing your children or visitors to be a nuisance
- Allowing rubbish to pile up
- Using the house for illegal activities
- Being responsible for your household and visitors
You are responsible for the behaviour of everyone in your household and of anyone staying with or visiting you.
If you want to move out, you must end your tenancy properly. It may be possible to end your tenancy immediately if the landlord accepts this but you normally have to give your landlord the necessary notice stated in your tenancy agreement.
You must give your landlord access to your property to carry out inspections and repairs.
Most tenancy agreements contain information about how and when your landlord can get access to the property and you are entitled to be given reasonable notice of this.
It should clearly state in your tenancy agreement how much rent you have to pay and when your rent is due. If you do not pay your rent on time, your landlord may be able to evict you.
Most tenants have to pay the bills for electricity, gas, water, council tax, a TV licence and the telephone. If you don't pay them, the services could be cut off.
At the start of a tenancy most private landlords ask new tenants to pay a deposit (also known as a bond). Check the details to see what your deposit/bond will cover.
If you are a tenant your deposit should be returned to you in full when the tenancy comes to an end. Landlords can make deductions from the deposit depending on the deposit/bond conditions. You are entitled to see receipts for any items that have been deducted from the deposit money.
All deposits/bonds taken for an assured short hold tenancy must be protected by a government authorised scheme.