Tenants’ Rights

Tenants in privately rented properties have several rights to cover themselves from unfair evictions, rent increases and more.

Currently, a landlord must give tenants two months’ written notice once their fixed-term tenancy has come to an end. The landlord must be able to prove grounds for eviction in court if they want you to move out before your tenancy ends and also give notice using the prescribed information on form 6a. Landlords and agents cannot harass you or try to force you out of a property without a court order.

Challenge high rent increases

You have the right to challenge rent increases that you feel are unfair, the process is slightly different depending on where in the UK you live.

To prevent unfair rent increases, landlords must abide by the following rules:

1: They must notify you before they increase the rent

2: The rent increase must be fair (i.e. on a similar level to average rents locally)

3: They must give you at least six months’ notice or one month if you are on a periodic tenancy

If you feel the rent increase is unfair, you should first speak to your landlord or managing agent and try to come to an agreement. If you cannot agree, you can ask a tribunal to decide for you. Visit the Citizens Advice website for more information.

Tenancy information

Don’t forget that as a tenant you are entitled by law to specific information about your tenancy. Make sure you are given:

A copy of the gas safety certificate (if the property has gas)
A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
The Government’s How to Rent guide (England only)
Local authority licence (if the property is subject to a landlord licensing scheme)
Prescribed Information (see below)

The UK Government introduced measures to make sure tenancy deposits are protected whilst they are with the landlord or letting agent. The Prescribed Information is everything you need to know about the protection of your deposit.

It will vary depending on the scheme used but will outline that your deposit has been protected and how you can check its status online. Having paid your deposit, it must be protected within a given timeframe and this will generate the Prescribed Information to then be issued to you.

This guide covers everything you need to know about tenancy deposit protection.

Safe properties that meet a set standard

Regardless of where you are renting in the UK, as a tenant, you have the right to live in a property that is in good condition and safe.

To help you get to grips with what’s expected, we have outlined the main safety concerns surrounding fire and carbon monoxide alarms you need to be aware of and the legal obligations that must be adhered to here

Electrical safety

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that any electrical items provided in a rental property are safe throughout a tenancy. As well as all appliances, landlords must also ensure all electrical systems such as sockets, switches and light fittings are safe.

In England, all fixed electrical cables and equipment will need to be inspected and tested by a qualified person in accordance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations.

This includes appliances that are fixed directly to the electrical supply, such as showers or fitted kitchen appliances. Once a qualified person has carried out their inspection and tests, they will provide an Electrical Installation Safety Report to the landlord or letting agent. A copy of this report must then be:

Supplied to each existing tenant of the property within 28 days of the inspection and test
Supplied to any new tenant before they move in
The most recent report also needs to be supplied to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving the request

A comprehensive guide on the electrical safety requirements needed to be met by landlords can be found here.

Quiet enjoyment

You have the right to live in the property undisturbed and what is dubbed as ‘quiet enjoyment’. This means that you have the right to use the property without unreasonable or unnecessary interference from the landlord or their letting agent.

Further changes to protections

The law continues to change in the sector and there are currently proposed changes going through Parliament offering extra protection for tenants. Therefore, it’s important for tenants to keep abreast of how these may affect them.

Are you using a Propertymark Protected agent?

If you’re searching for a property to rent, you need an agent that you can trust and rely on—the quality of the agent makes a real difference.

Our members have voluntarily chosen to become regulated by Propertymark to showcase their commitment to higher standards. Use our search to find a Propertymark Protected letting agent in your area. 

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark comments: “It’s crucial that tenants understand their rights when renting a privately rented property from a landlord whether that be through the landlord themselves or via a letting agent. Regardless of who you’re in communication with as a tenant, the same rules apply and all legislation in place protects you from poor-quality homes or rogue operations.

“We urge tenants to use a Propertymark Protected agent when renting their next home to ensure the property they live in will abide by legislation and keep them safe and secure.”

How to complain

When tenants feel as though the conduct and service of an agent/ the condition of a property is not up to scratch, they should first, as with any complaint, contact them directly about the problem.

This gives the agent a chance to put the situation right and is the fastest route to getting your complaint solved. All agencies must provide a complaints procedure for their business by law, ask them for a copy directly if you cannot find it on their website.

It’s best to put your complaint in writing and you should receive a response within 15 days. Keep copies of any correspondence and ask them to confirm:

Who is handling your complaint
What they propose to do to resolve it
How long it will take to resolve

It is a legal requirement for property agents to belong to a Government-approved independent redress scheme.

There are two schemes to look out for: The Property Ombudsman and Property Redress Scheme and most agents display which one they belong to on their website.

If your complaint has not been resolved by the agent, having been given a reasonable time to do so, then you should contact the redress scheme.

Redress schemes have the authority to ensure that the agent takes action to remedy any problem arising from a complaint. If the redress scheme supports your complaint, they can also impose that the agent grants you compensation.

If neither the agent nor the independent redress scheme has provided a satisfactory outcome to your complaint then, provided the agent is one of our Propertymark members, you can send your complaint to us.

We will investigate complaints against our members where there is evidence that the agent has breached our conduct and membership rules, this includes:

Misuse of client money
Failure to uphold high standards of ethical and professional practice
Failure to protect and promote clients’ interests
Conflicts of interest
Failure to answer correspondence
Any act of dishonesty or conviction of a criminal offence