1. Your rights and responsibilities
You have certain rights and responsibilities if you’re a tenant in privately rented property.
As a tenant, you have the right to:
- live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends - and in some circumstances have it protected
- challenge excessively high charges
- know who your landlord is
- live in the property undisturbed
- see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
- have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.
If you don’t know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined If they don’t give you this information within 21 days.
When you start a new tenancy
When you start a new assured or short assured tenancy, your landlord must give you:
- a copy of the How to rent guide if you live in England
- a tenant information pack if you live in Scotland
You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
You must also:
- take good care of the property, eg turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
- pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, eg Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.
If your landlord lives outside the UK
Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your landlord lives outside the UK and you pay £100 or more a week in rent directly to them.
You may have to deduct tax from your rent under HMRC’s ‘non-resident landlord scheme’.