We know that moving into a new property can be a stressful time, therefore we aim to make the moving process as easy for you as possible. One of our highly trained and professional Negotiators will be your point of contact every step of the way.
Below we have listed a number of points that may be of interest to you and will give you a good overview of what is required of you and what will be expected of you once you move into a property.
We believe that it is vital that both Landlords and Tenants are aware of their legal rights and obligations. Below are some essential questions and answers.
Q – I have a fixed 12month contract which is due to come to term in two months time. Do I still have to provide notice to our Landlord?
At the end of a fixed term in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy unless either you or your landlord has served notice or agreed to renew your tenancy. It is therefore advisable that you serve your landlord a month’s written notice and like wise your landlord should serve you a minimum of two months notice, which should not expire any sooner than end of the fixed term. In some cases your landlord may have served a section 21 at the start of the tenancy stating that at the end of the 12month period they want to take possession of the flat, in such circumstances you will not need to serve notice.
Q – Can I use my deposit as my last months rent?
Deposit monies are given to landlords as a security against damage caused by the tenants during the tenancy and the settlement of any outstanding bills left by tenants. Therefore the deposit cannot be used as the last months rent, some tenants find this unfair when they have dealt with unscrupulous landlords who withhold deposits. This problem has been tackled by new legislation written into the Housing Act 2004; Tenancy Deposit Scheme will be implemented to safeguard tenants’ deposits.
Q – My Landlord is withholding my deposit, what can I do?
When a tenancy ends it is normal practise for the landlord to carry out a check-out of an inventory or at least an inspection of the property. Once this has occurred then the landlord can make any necessary deductions for damage to the flat or furniture or for any outstanding utility bills or rent arrears. However, the landlord cannot make any deductions for normal wear and tear; he/she cannot withhold your deposit without providing you a written notice of why and what for. Should you disagree with the reasons or the landlord is not providing you with a reason you should seek legal advice or start proceedings through small claims. Usually a letter from the Citizen Advice Bureau will force the landlord into action. The government has introduced a section in the Housing act 2004 that deals specifically with tenants’ deposits and the government should be implementing this in the near future.
Q- What is the Landlord responsible for?
- Repairing obligations to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and hot water installations, sinks and other sanitary installations.
- Ensuring that all gas and electrical appliances are safe.
- Ensuring that the furniture and furnishings within the property meet the fire safety standards.
Q – What is the Tenant responsible for?
- Paying the rent in the agreed manner and taking proper care of the property
- Paying the utility bills for the property as agreed with the Landlord, such as gas, electricity and telephone.
- Paying council tax, water and sewerage charges as agreed by the Landlord.
Q - Does a Landlord have to provide a Gas Safety Certificate for each new Tenancy?
No, the legislation in place relating to the installation and maintenance of gas appliances (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998) demands that all Landlords must ensure that any gas appliances within their rental property is inspected and passed annually by a gas safe registered engineer. Failure to comply with the regulation carries a fine of up to 5,000 and/or imprisonment of six months (or more). The Landlord is responsible for keeping a record of all the Safety checks and providing the Tenants with a copy.
Q – A Tenant has informed their Landlord about a necessary repair, however the Landlord has failed to carry out this obligation, what are the Tenants rights?
Depending on how the disrepair occurred in the first place then the tenants rights are as follows. The Landlord is not responsible for repairs arising from damage caused by the Tenant. If the Tenant caused the damage then the Tenant would be responsible for paying and ensuring that the work is carried out. Apart from this the Tenant only has to do repairs if the terms in the Tenancy Agreement say so. If the Tenant has tried on numerous occasions to get the Landlord to carry out the repair and has no success then the Tenant can either:
- sue the Landlord in court
- seek help from the local authorities as they have powers to ensure that the Landlord does the repairs
- or in some circumstances, if the right procedure is followed then the Tenant could do the works and take the cost out of the rental payments. Tenants need to know that with holding rent would be in breach of their tenancy terms and the Landlord could take action to repossess the property.