8th Mar, 2019
Millions of people across the country pay monthly rent to a landlord for a room or property, but many will be unclear about their rights.
So we answer the top 5 most commonly asked questions, to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises…
What can I do if my landlord fails to do basic repairs?
It is important to find out at the start of your contract who is responsible for fixing anything that is damaged or broken. Usually, tenants are expected to do small maintenance jobs, such as changing a light bulb, or sorting any minor damage they have caused.
But for anything major, like a broken boiler or leak, your landlord is often responsible for rectifying it. In the first instance, speak to them to raise your concerns and if this doesn’t help then your next step is writing a formal letter – including with this any evidence that you have. The final action would be to go to your council, who can order the home owner to do the repairs if they think the issue is harmful to your health or safety.
Some landlords may try to evict a tenant who complains about repairs, but there is legal protection in place if this happens – in this case we would suggest you seek help from Citizens Advice. It’s important that you never withhold money or refuse to pay rent, as this will give them reason to evict you.
Can my rent be increased at any time?
Your monthly rent can’t usually be increased unless you agree, or your tenancy contract allows it. However, a rent review clause in a fixed-term agreement will no longer apply when the period is up. At this point, a landlord can use special procedures to raise fees by giving you a formal notice. This can be appealed against, which will determine a ‘market rent’ for the property – in other words, whether you’re paying above what it’s worth.
Can I be evicted without a reason?
You can’t be evicted during the fixed-term of your agreement, unless you breach a condition – including not paying rent or damaging the property. But, if you stay in the home beyond your contract and the home owner wants possession without a reason, they must give you at least two months’ notice.
If I’m evicted, where can I go?
If you’re evicted without having another property to move to, you should seek help from an independent adviser – like Citizens Advice – who will be able to check whether your landlord has followed all of the correct procedures. It may be that you have the right to stay, so it’s well worth getting in touch with them, as they’ll also help you find alternative accommodation.
What will happen to my belongings if there is a dispute?
If you are asked to leave a property, it’s likely you will have a lot of items to take with you – which may not be possible if you don’t have alternative housing. But your landlord has a legal obligation to look after anything left behind – for up to 28 days, or three months if you owe them money – and make reasonable effort to trace you and serve you notice. If the goods remain uncollected, they have the right to sell or dispose of them, and the tenant will be billed for any fees accrued.
We hope that this has answered any of your questions and will act as a helpful guide if you are ever faced with eviction.
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