Your Housing Rights and Responsibilities
Here you can find key information related to your housing rights. This covers issues such as if you are having problems paying your rent or if there are issues with the property that need fixing by the landlord.
The most important thing to remember about your housing rights is you can’t just be kicked out with no warning. You do have rights related to where you live whether you own the property or not.
Some key realities about the law in the UK related to housing our listed below:
If you are renting a home from a private landlord they have to give you notice before you move out, this is called a section 21 notice and you have to be given at least two months notice for it to be valid. This can be issued for any reason, it doesn’t mean there is an issue or you have done something the landlord doesn’t agree with.
There is also something called a section 8 notice, this is when your landlord is accusing you of behaviour that means they want to evict you and have a reason to. This could be failing to pay your rent or causing problems like having parties or making excessive noise etc.
The most important thing to remember is:
YOU CAN'T BE FORCED OUT OF YOUR HOME WITH NO WARNING.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities…
Wherever you live you do have responsibilities and not meeting these can put your housing at risk, some of the key responsibilities you have when you are renting a home include:
Making sure you pay - you should always pay your rent and do it on time
That you keep the property in good condition and report any damages that you make
Making sure there is no illegal or anti-social behaviour at your property, this could be lots of loud parties or allowing illegal things to happen at your home
Not breaching the contract you sign, this means making sure you stick to everything in it. For example, if it says you can’t have pets, don’t get one
That you are honest when applying for a home or signing a contract
Remember while you have rights when it comes to housing there are responsibilities. Not sticking to any of the responsibilities listed above can mean that your landlord may have grounds to evict you.
What you can expect from your landlord
You also have rights related to what you can expect your landlord to do for you as part of your tenancy.
Some of the key things you can expect and ask for are listed below.
There are a few different types of landlords in the UK and there are differences in terms of what you can expect them to do and when.
First, let's look at the main types of landlords.
Private – A private landlord is someone who owns a property (or several) and rents these out to people themselves. They may also use a letting agency to arrange tenants for the property.
Social Landlords – This could be a housing association, charity or some other kind of housing provider. What they all have in common is they provide housing ‘not for profit’, the aim of the organisation is to provide affordable housing to their tenants.
Local Councils – Some local councils still own housing stock and rent this to local residents needing housing. They operate on a very similar model to the social landlords that we have looked at above.
Wherever you live, and whoever your landlord is, as a tenant you have the right to:
Live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
Have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends - and in some circumstances have it protected
Challenge excessively high charges
Know who your landlord is
Live in the property undisturbed
See an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
Have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law
If you don’t know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined if they don’t give you this information within 21 days.
LET'S RECAP ON WHAT WE HAVE COVERED
YOU HAVE RIGHTS – You have rights wherever you live and you can expect certain things to be done for you when you live in a property. You also can't be evicted without any warning.
YOU ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES – You also must do certain things like paying your rent on time and not do certain things, like damage the property. If you don't stick to your responsibilities it can mean your housing might be at risk.
THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE – You can get advice on problems with your housing. Shelter, the homelessness and housing charity, have some really useful information on their website or you can contact Citizens Advice. Just use the links above or below.