Residential: Landlord's Responsibilities and Tenant's Rights

 Every Landlords have got many commitments and duties towards Tenants. In this article we shall discuss some of the main responsibilities of Landlord and rights of Tenants with respect to Residential Properties.

Landlord’s obligations

Quiet enjoyment:

  • The landlord must let the tenant into possession and
  • Liable if the tenant is substantially disturbed by any action of the Landlord or by third parties whose title is derived from the Landlord
  • The word “quiet” does not mean noise
  • Wider concept; includes any act which prevents the Tenant from using the demised premises.  i.e. it means uninterrupted use
  • In general, there must be some sort of physical interference
  • Landlord is not in breach if the other Tenants are causing a nuisance or do an act in breach of their terms of the lease
  • However, if any lawful act of another Tenant of the Landlord which does affect another Tenant’s use of the property, then this will be a breach by the Landlord

Landlord not to derogate from his grant of lease

  • Every lease will have this covenant by the Landlord. i.e. “The Landlord hereby grants/demises…”
  • Law will generally not permit a person to take with one hand what has already been given with the other.
  • There is a slight overlap with quiet enjoyment but this is wider because it is not limited to physical interference
  • Landlord is liable to ensure other Tenants do not act in a way which may interfere with use of another Tenant’s property

Other covenants are regarding repairs, insurance, use, pets, alterations, additions and improvements, and forfeiture. Sections 11-14 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 imposes implied covenants on landlords of dwellings for a term of less than 7 years:

  • To keep structure and exterior in repair
  • To keep in repair and proper working order the facilities for supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and water heating

 Ancillary obligations

  1. All Landlords should confirm that all gas appliances, pipe work, installations and outlets are maintained in a safe condition. For this a Gas Safety Inspection should be conducted every year.
  2. All Landlords should ensure that the property they provide is safe and comply with Building Regulations.
  3. Landlord should prepare Fire Risk Assessment Report as required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
  4. Landlords should always have one smoke alarm installed on each floor of the rental property along with carbon monoxide alarm in rooms where fuel appliances are used.
  5. The Furniture’s provided by the landlord should meet fire resistance requirements.
  6. Landlord should prepare Risk Assessment Report as required by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2002.
  7. Landlord should ensure that the electrical appliance supplied by the landlord along with the installations in the property rented is safe.
  8. If there is no obligation on Tenant to insure, then the landlord or his assignee must insure the property.
  9. Landlord must confirm that the Tenants deposits into government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) schemes when it is short term tenancy.
  10. Landlord should ensure that before the agreement to let is signed with the tenant, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is provided.
  11. Landlords have a duty to declare the rental income to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and should pay tax accordingly.
  12. Also Landlords should ensure that Tenants are provided with the copy of the government guide” How to Rent”, before they move to the property.
  13.  Landlord should carry out proper repair and upkeep of the outside and structure of the property if agreed in lease.

 Tenants’ Rights

  1. Right to peaceably enjoy the rental premises during the tenancy term without any interruption by the landlord
  2. Right to use the common service installations in the Property for the benefit of the rental unit
  3. Right of support and protection from other parts of the building
  4. Right to enter on other parts of the property other than the rental units, for repairing/maintaining or renewing any services affecting the rental unit
  5. Right to use roads and footpaths on the estate
  6. Right to use any common facilities such as gardens, refuse arrears
  7. Right to notify landlord if any repairs are needed in the common and structural parts of the property and also if any damage occurs to the property
  8. Right to get back the deposit amount, when tenancy ends in case of short term tenancy
  9. Right to have access to the Energy Performance Certificate of the property
  10. Right to be shielded from unjustifiable eviction and unfair rent
  11. Right to have the tenancy agreement in writing.

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