Private sector tenants

Renting a safe home

If you are looking to rent a new home then the GOV.UK website has some useful information.

Access GOV.UK to find out more

As a tenant you have certain obligations including -

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 long periods of time. It is usually state in your tenancy agreement how many days you can leave your property empty before you have to inform your landlord.

Paying your rent on time

Rent is usually paid in advance on a monthly or weekly basis. 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.

Paying the bills

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.

Looking after the property

You have a responsibility to take care of the property you are renting and avoid causing any damage. In general, landlords are responsible for the 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. As a tenant, you are responsible for -

  • 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 that you use the correct bins and by putting out your bins for emptying when and where your are supposed to 
  • complying with your tenancy agreement regarding pets, parking, gardening and so on
  • heating the property adequately and making sure it's kept well ventilated

Not causing a nuisance

You should take care not upset or annoy your neighbours. Antisocial 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

Find out more about antisocial behaviour

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.

Asking permission when it's needed

Most tenants have to ask permission from their landlord if they want to -

  • make improvements to the property
  • sublet 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.

Ending your tenancy properly

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.

Giving your landlord access when necessary

You must give your landlord access to your property to carry out inspections and to do 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.

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