Useful Information for Tenants
  • Notice periods
    • Landlords must comply with relevant legislation when giving notice to tenants. There are 2 forms (Section 8 or Section 21) that landlords can serve on tenants to regain possession back. These forms contain prescribed information and there are strict rules around notice periods.
    • If you receive a possession notice, usually a Section 21 notice, without a reason you should contact your landlord to discuss. Please note it may have nothing to do with you or your tenancy as it may be that they have had a change in circumstance and require the property back to live in themselves or sell.
    • For more information on eviction please visit the Government website
    • Depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have with your landlord will determine how you must give notice.
      • If you have a fixed term contract you will not be able to give notice to leave before the end date unless negotiated with your landlord otherwise you will still be responsible for the rent and other household costs
      • If you have a periodic rolling contract you will need to give notice depending on your contract however it is normally 1 month if you pay your rent monthly or 4 weeks if you pay your rent weekly
  • Deposits
    • To ensure that you get your tenancy deposit back you should:
      • Request a written statement explaining what is covered by the deposit at the start of the tenancy
      • Request copies of receipts for monies paid
      • Ensure you have checked and signed an inventory, you may also wish to take pictures
      • Take reasonable care of the house and furniture during the tenancy
      • Ask your landlord or managing agent to inspect the property prior to your departure
      • Settle all utility bills
      • Return all keys to the landlord or managing agent and make a written request to return your deposit
    • If your landlord wishes to withhold your deposit once you have left, they must provide evidence as to why they are withholding it. If you disagree with their reasons you can raise a dispute with the landlord’s chosen deposit scheme. This will allow you to put forward any evidence you think will support your claim.
  • Disputes
    • If you experience any disputes with your landlord there are a few things that may assist help resolve them:
      • Communicate: Communication is key to resolving disputes, informing your landlord of an issue as soon as it arises enables them to act straight away
      • Put it in writing: Written communication allows you to refer to it later
      • Positive solution: Focusing on a positive outcome will help in the long run
  • Smoke alarms
    • Landlords are legally required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties. After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, but you are responsible for checking them on a regular basis. When you test it and you find it doesn’t work or the alarm starts to beep, you should replace the batteries or inform your landlord if it is a hard-wired alarm.
  • Carbon Monoxide
    • Landlords are legally required to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g., a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, but you are responsible for checking them on a weekly basis. When you test it and you find it doesn’t work or the alarm starts to beep, you should replace the batteries or inform your landlord if it is a hard-wired alarm.
    • Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which can kill quickly with no warning. The main signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
  • Gas Safety
    • If you think a gas appliance is faulty turn it off and let your landlord know immediately.
    • If you smell gas, call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999
  • Household costs
    • Bills
      • Tenants are usually responsible for council tax, water rates and payment for utilities like gas, electricity, telephone, and television unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement
      • Make sure you know what you are expected to pay before signing your tenancy
        • Council Tax: you can check what band the property is by using the Government website, the you can check how much each band is by using the Council’s website, please don’t forget to check if the property is in a Parish Council as there may be additional charges
        • Utility bills: ask the landlord or previous tenant for rough costs
    • Ensure you can afford the rent combined with council tax, bills, and other expenses
  • Security
    • Here are a few pointers in checking the security of the property:
      • Is the property in a ‘good area’?
      • Is the property set back from the road?
      • Is there sufficient street lighting?
      • What type of locks do the external door have?
      • Is there a chain or door eye on the front door?
  • Hazards around the home
    • Common hazards that affect safety in the home consist of faulty gas boilers, fire hazards, dangerous electrics etc. Common hazards that affect health in the home consist of damp and mould growth, excessive cold, overcrowding etc. The hazards in your home are rated under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) according to how serious they are and how likely it is that someone will be affected by them. It is your landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is free from these hazards.
  • Ventilation

Dampness produced by condensation is a problem that some tenants experience frequently in privately rented properties. Ventilation is needed in your home to get rid of moisture and there may be a strong possibility you may be doing something, which makes this problem worse such as:

  • Using a tumble dryer with no outside vent unless a tumble dryer is a self-condensing type, it should be vented to the outside
  • Drying wet clothes on heaters, it is best to dry clothes outside or in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on
  • Blocking ventilation such as covering air vents, closing ventilators and switching off or disabling fans