Tenant Rights and Responsibilities - Housing Disrepair Claim
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What are My Rights and Responsibilities As a Tenant?

Posted on: Mon Mar 14 | 5:47 AM by: housing

As a tenant, you have rights and responsibilities which come from the Landlord and Tenant law as well as whatever you and your landlord may have agreed in your lease or tenancy agreement. The main legal rights and responsibilities of a tenant are written in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. A consolidated version of this Act and the various updates made are available with the Law Reform Commission. 

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

You should also be aware that landlord and tenant legislation does not apply if you are renting a room in your landlord’s home. However, you are covered by the Act if you rent a self-contained flat in your landlord’s home. Your rights as a tenant are not nullified by any other leases or tenancy agreements you may have made with your landlord but you are of course allowed to agree on matters which are not covered by legislation in a lease or tenancy agreement, for example, who pays for the utility bills. 

What Is A Tenancy Agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord when you move into a new accommodation. The agreement which may be oral or written gives both you and your landlord additional rights and if any of these rights says something contrary to the Landlord and Tenant law, the law will nullify it. Both you and your landlord will have a copy of this agreement and are expected to abide by it.

From the above, it can be said that tenants’ rights without a tenancy agreement are protected by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Your landlord is not supposed to treat you in a bad way because there was no written tenancy agreement between you two.

Why Is It Important To Know Your Rights And Responsibilities?

As it is said, ignorance is no excuse before the law, therefore it is important to know what tenant laws, responsibilities and rights that are available and ensure to follow them strictly to avoid being dragged to court by your landlord for defaulting.

It is also important that you know these rights so that you will know when your rights are being trampled on, when your landlord has failed to carry out his obligations and know what options are available for you in the Law. 

Knowing these rights and responsibilities thus makes it possible for you to know how to fight for your rights and what legal channels you can explore to ensure that the wrong is made right.

What Are My Rights As A Tenant?

The following are tenants or renters’ rights;

Tenants rights are divided into;

  • Rights as a private tenant
  • Rights as a Housing association tenant

Rights As A Private Tenant

  • You are entitled to live in a home in a good state of repair
  • You are entitled to be paid back for any repairs you carried out which are the landlord’s responsibilities
  • You are entitled to have your landlord or their agents contact information and be able to contact them as the need arises
  • You are entitled to enjoy the comfort of your home without any noise disturbance. However, if you are disturbed by noise from co-tenants, you can tell them of the inconveniences their noise is causing you. You can also inform your landlord or make a formal complaint if the first two approaches fail.
  • You have the right to fair treatment irrespective of your disability, gender, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.
  • Your landlord can only enter your home with your permission and if there is need to carry out repairs or inspect your home, there should be a prior agreement of a date and time (at least 48 hours notice from landlord) unless it is an emergency.
  • You have the right to have visitors stay at your place overnight or for short periods except your tenancy agreement forbids you from such. However, your landlord has to be informed if you have an extra person moving in with you.
  • You have the right to challenge any charges that you believe are ‘excessively high’ 
  • You are entitled to see the property’s energy performance certificate (EPC), which should be rated a minimum of E except in very peculiar situations.
  • You are entitled to a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years
  • Also, as of 1 June 2019, you are entitled not to have to pay certain fees when setting up a new tenancy, under the Tenant Fees Act (commonly referred to as the Tenant Fee Ban).  
  • It is your right to be protected from unfair rent and unfair eviction. Your landlord should give you at least 90 days’ notice if they want to review the rent. They are to also follow the rules concerning how to and how often they can do this.
  • You are entitled to make complaints to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and to hold a copy of any register entry held by the RTB about your tenancy.

MAKE A CLAIM

In certain cases, your landlord can give you 28 days notice to vacate the premises. This can apply in these scenarios;

  • You or the person living with you in the apartment has a relevant criminal conviction.
  • You or the person spending time with you in the rented property engaged in serious antisocial behaviour.
  • you no longer live in the rented property

Rights As A Housing Association Tenant

Your rights as a housing association tenant which could be a co-operative or approved housing bodies (AHBs) is the same as the those of private tenants but for few differences;

  • You cannot assign or lease the property to another person.
  • The tenancy agreement (if it exists) determines how rent reviews are carried out or if there is none, it should not be more than once a year.
  • You are entitled to get security of tenure (Part 4 rights) after 6 months in the tenancy. This means that you can live in the property for a certain number of years. This does not apply to tenancy of 18 months or less or a transitional accommodation.

If your tenancy started on or before 24 December 2016, this period is 4 years. After that date, the period is 6 years. This security of tenure continues in 6-year cycles and no longer 4-year cycles.

  • AHB tenancies nullifies the landlord’s rights to terminate a Part 4 tenancy because they, or a family member needs to live in the property.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

  • As a tenant, it is your responsibility to pay your rent on time.
  • You are also supposed to pay other charges as specified in the tenancy agreement including utility bills, waste management charges, etc.
  • You are required to keep the property in good order and inform the landlord if there are repairs to be made. Also, do well to give the landlord access to the property to carry out repairs.
  • As per agreement, you should give the landlord access to make routine inspections
  • It is your responsibility to inform the landlord if you have another person spending time with you for short or extended periods in the property
  • Ensure that you do not cause damage or nuisance to or in the property.
  • You are also obligated to comply with any special terms in your tenancy agreement be it oral or written.
  • You have to inform the Landlord properly when you are ending the tenancy.
  • Provide the landlord with the information they need to register with the RTB and sign the registration form
  • It is in your best interest not to break the conditions of your tenancy as you may not be able to assert your rights if you do so.

What Responsibilities Do Landlords Have?

The responsibilities of private landlords is to ensure that your rented property is in a good state of repair so as not to put your health at risk, causing you to incur damages, inconveniences or unnecessary financial or property losses as a result of disrepair.

According to Section 11 of The Landlord and Tenant Act (LTA) 1985, which applies to tenancy agreements entered into after 1961, the landlord has to;

  • keep in good repair the structure and exterior of the property. This includes drains, gutters and external pipes to avoid flooding.
  • keep in repair and proper working order a space and water heating system, installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation.
  • Ensure that the home is mould and damp free.
  • See to it that your home is free from insect, vermin or rodent infestation.

Additionally, your landlord is expected to

  • Deal honestly and fairly to you. You should not be discriminated against because of your race, gender or religion.
  • Your landlord should not harass you in any way such as threaten you with illegal eviction or unfair rent increase without following the rules.

Best Housing Disrepair Solicitors

With our no win no fee housing disrepair claims solicitors, you can make your housing disrepair claims without any financial implications.

Our best housing disrepair solicitors have handled and won several disrepair claims by tenants over the years and so know the best approach to get you the justice you deserve.

You can call our Housing Disrepair Helpline so that our solicitors can set up a meeting with you and see that you are well compensated for any losses or inconveniences you may have suffered as a result of housing disrepair or an unfair landlord.

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