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Tenancy Rights explained

Following the opening up of the economy, many face uncertainty regarding eviction but are unaware of their legal tenancy rights.

If you have a problem with your landlord then it is essential that you know your rights. Our housing team has years of experience dealing with these matters.

What are my rights as a tenant? What are my tenancy rights?

Your tenancy agreement should outline your general rights. However, your tenancy agreement is made of two types of rights:

  • Express terms, which are those included in the agreement.
  • Implied terms, which are those prescribed by law.

Regarding fees, landlords are only able to charge you for:

  • Rent
  • Refundable tenancy and holding deposit
  • Late rent payments
  • Changing or ending your tenancy
  • Bills and Council tax
  • Cost of repairs to damaged property
  • Replacing keys

They cannot charge you general administrative fees for things like: DBS checks, credit checks, or reviewing your contract. A landlord can face a fine of £5,000 if they charge general administrative fees.

If you rent a house that has two other people in it then it should be registered as a house with multiple occupation (HMO). Your landlord must ensure that some additional elements are met:

  • No overcrowding, number of occupants must be reasonable
  • Fire safety in place
  • Gas checks undertaken annually
  • Electrics check every 5 years
  • Enough facilities for the number of occupants
  • Communal areas must be in good repair
  • Enough bins to manage the number of tenants

What if I cannot pay my rent? What are my tenancy rights?

If you are unable to pay your rent then you should speak to your landlord and outline the issue. Your tenancy agreement binds you to pay the amount agreed.

You may need to put in place a temporary agreement or if they have given you your notice to leave the property then organise paying rent arrears and find another rental property.

What if my landlord wants to increase my rent?

Your landlord should be charging a market rent, which can fluctuate depending on the availability and going rate of the area. If you have a fixed-term contract, then your landlord cannot increase the rent unless there is a clause that specifically allows this. Periodic tenancy makes it harder to challenge rent increases.

If you disagree with the rental increase, then initially you should discuss it with your landlord. Following this, you may be able to apply for a rent assessment committee to assess whether the increase is excessive, however, this can only be done within the first six months of the tenancy.

We suggest reminding your landlord of your record and that a rent increase would lead you to look elsewhere.

What if my landlord wants to evict me?

Dependent on the reason for eviction, notice periods vary. You can find detailed guidance on the government website.

If you have been given a Section 21 notice after the 1st October 2021 then it is 6 months from the date the Section 21 (4D) notice was provided or 4 months from the date a Section 21 (4E) notice was provided. Section 21 notices are provided when you have reached the end of the term of your tenancy or during a periodic tenancy agreement.

If you have been given a Section 8 notice, then your landlord seeks to take possession of the home. From the 1st October 2021 possession proceedings can be sought following the pandemic. Your landlord must meet specific grounds. Depending on the reason for the notice, depends on the notice period, which varies from two weeks to two months.

If you face a Section 83 notice, then your landlord seeks to take possession of the home. Timescales depend on the grounds that the landlord intends to evict you, but from 1st October 2021, they range from immediate eviction for nuisance, illegal or immoral use of the property to four weeks for other grounds. Further, timescales depend on whether you have a fixed-term or a periodic term.

Get in touch

If you are having issues with your landlord and need advice, get in touch. If you cannot afford legal representation, then you may qualify for Legal Aid. Our housing team offers an initial consultation to discuss your situation outlining how we can help and a roadmap.

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