What Do Landlords Need to Provide for Their Tenants?
Many tenants sign agreements with their landlord without fully understanding what their rights actually are.
If this is you, then you could soon find yourself out of pocket when something needs fixing and you believe it’s your responsibility to do so. But a landlord has responsibilities they need to adhere to by law, and often they’re the ones who need to foot the bill for problems in the home.
What are the landlord’s key responsibilities?
By law they have to ensure the home is habitable. This means it needs certain amenities which should be safe and in good working order.
Electricity is one of these (along with the plug sockets, appliances and so on). Gas is another, as is a water supply (and the plumbing that goes with it), heating and hot water, smoke and fire alarms, and sanitation (including sinks and toilets).
The landlord also needs to make sure the property is structurally sound, ensuring the roof, guttering, drains, pipes, walls, foundations, ceilings, floors, windows and doors are all safe and in good condition.
If anything is below standard, the law says it’s up to the property owner to fix it in a reasonable amount of time (this varies depending on the urgency of the issue).
What are the tenant’s rights?
Tenants have a right to all the facilities mentioned working properly and safely, and owners should also provide copies of electrical and gas safety check reports. If the landlord lets a tenant live in a house that’s unsafe (i.e. has faulty electrics) then they’re breaking the law and the tenant can challenge them.
Tenants have rights in other areas too. For instance, a landlord can’t simply increase rent whenever they want to. They might try, but the tenancy agreement will state clearly when they can do this.
The landlord can’t evict you whenever they like either. They’ll have to give a certain amount of notice, which will vary depending upon contracts.
And if they’re refusing to give your deposit back at the end of the tenancy, it might be worth checking whether the money should actually be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme. If it should be, and they haven’t put it there, you can challenge them.
Why should tenants consider renter insurance?
If you’re a tenant you might be under the misapprehension that the landlord’s home insurance covers your contents. It doesn’t, but you can get renters insurance, which covers loss to clothes, jewellery, electronics, furniture and more. It also covers these belongings when you travel, and normally includes liability coverage, protecting you if you accidentally injure someone in the home.
It’s well worth reading the finer detail of your tenancy agreement, as well as what the law says. It might not be the most thrilling read, but knowing your rights will stand you in good stead if a disagreement emerges down the line, and it might just save you a fortune.