Know Your Rights

Private renter? Social housing tenant? Uncertain of your rights?

Use this free tenancy rights checker tool from our friends at Shelter

Check if your landlord has protected your deposit 

Stop your landlord breaking tenancy deposit laws

Find out the law on Evictions

Or carry on reading to find our more.

Your rights, explained...

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.

When you start a new tenancy

When you start a new assured or short assured tenancy, your landlord must give you:

1. a copy of the how to rent guide if you live in England

2. a tenant information pack if you live in Scotland

Your responsibilities

You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.

You must also:

  • take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
  • pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
  • pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
  • repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
  • only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it

Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.

Always seek independent professional legal advice on your individual case or contact your local tenants union for support.

Is your landlord intimidating or harassing you and what are your rights?

Your landlord can’t just turn up uninvited. Your landlord can only come into your home for inspections or repairs. They must give you 24 hours’ notice before they come over to check the place or do any repairs – unless it’s an emergency. But access must be "reasonable", so unless it’s an emergency they cannot have immediate access. They can’t stop your friends visiting, either.

Your landlord can’t harass you or let any other tenants harass you. And they can’t discriminate against you because of your race, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, or anything else.

If your landlord wants you to leave:

  • They cannot offer you money to vacate the premises
  • They cannot use violence or threaten to use violence
  • They’re also not allowed to harass you to make you leave by, for example, changing the locks shouting abuse, playing loud music, cutting off your gas/electricity/water supply, opening your post or removing your belongings

Landlords are responsible for the safety, repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating.

It’s your right as a tenant to live in a safe house with hot and cold water, heating, electricity, ventilation, toilet facilities and a drainage system. It’s your landlord’s job to provide these things and do repairs so that it’s safe to live in. However, landlords are only responsible for problems they know about, so ask them to do the repairs first. If they don’t do them, then you can consider taking action.

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home. This applies to private, council and housing association landlords.

Your landlord's responsibilities include:

  • the structure and exterior of the building, including the walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
  • sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
  • heating and hot water
  • chimneys and ventilation
  • gas appliances
  • electrical wiring

Your landlord is also responsible for repairing the common parts of a building, such as entrance halls, communal stairways and shared kitchens.

Your landlord must put right any damage to internal decorations caused by repair problems they are responsible for or while repairs were carried out.

However, you should always check what your tenancy agreement says.

Your tenancy agreement could say if your landlord is responsible for repairing or replacing faulty items or appliances they provided such as a fridge or washing machine.

Your landlord must do the repairs the law says they are responsible for, even if your agreement says something different.

Your tenancy agreement may say when or how often certain types of repairs will be done. 

It may say that you have some responsibilities, for example keeping the garden tidy or sharing the cleaning of communal stairways and halls.

Always seek independent professional legal advice on your individual case or contact your local tenants union for support.

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