This is Part 2 a two-part blog post about your UK private renters’ rights. Part 1 covered tenancy agreements, your right to know who your landlord is, property conditions, and tenancy deposit schemes. See Part 1 here.
5. You have the right to live in the property undisturbed
The landlord does not have the right to come bursting in unannounced. He or she must provide 24h notice before entering your property, and visit at a reasonable time of day unless there’s an emergency. Your landlord should absolutely not be letting himself into your flat in the evening without warning. He or she also may not harass you, or attempt to drive you out or discourage you from insisting on your legal rights. Finally, you must be given adequate notice before being removed, which the landlord cannot do by force – they must go through the courts.
6. Your landlord must give you the following information:
- How to rent guide (in England)
- Tenant information pack (in Scotland)
7. Your landlord must not discriminate against you
- Your landlord cannot discriminate against you based on your age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or related issues (e.g. service dogs), religion or belief, race, and pregnancy or having an infant
8. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
- If you share a toilet, bathroom, or kitchen with other tenants and there are at least 3 tenants from more than one household, you are in an HMO
- Large HMOs, at least 3 storeys tall and containing at least 5 tenants, need a license from the local council
- The landlord is responsible for maintaining common areas in an HMO
Who to contact if you have a problem
Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, problems can arise. When they do, it’s important to know who to turn to for help, and how to best handle the issue without making it worse.
- If there’s a problem with the property:
- Speak to your landlord first. Most likely, they will want to resolve the problem as much as you want them to.
- If you can’t resolve the issue with our landlord, raise your concerns to a local councillor, your MP, or a tenant panel next.
- If your home (in England) isn’t fit to live in, contact your local council. They carry out Housing Health and Safety Rating System assessments, and must act if the home is unsafe.
- If your landlord isn’t doing repairs, contact the environmental health department at your local council, or the Private Rented Housing Panel in Scotland
- If you’re in an HMO and there are hazards – The local council is responsible for enforcing standards
- If you have financial problems
- Speak to your landlord first, and then contact Citizens Advice or Shelter if you need more help
- If you’re being forced out illegally, call the police. Your landlord cannot remove you by force – they must go through the courts.
- There is anti-social behaviour at the property
- Contact your local council – they can take over property management or create a selective licencing scheme if there is antisocial behaviour in several houses in an area
Although many of us might prefer not to be renting, the reality is that a lot of us will have to for several years before we’re able to get on the infamous property ladder. Renting will always have its downsides as opposed to owning, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Knowing your rights – and responsibilities – as a tenant can help ensure that you have a good landlord-tenant relationship, which goes a long way toward a good quality of life.
Much of the information in this post was compiled from the government’s guidance on private renting, Shelter, or Citizens Advice. For more information, you should visit the websites of these organisations.
This is Part 2 a two-part blog post about your UK private renters’ rights. See Part 1 here.