Buy-to-let opportunities are popular in the UK, as landlords hope to earn an easy second income without having to put in 9-5pm hours each day. But how can you protect your rights as a tenant in the UK?
Know Your Rights
Landlords have many legal rights and entitlements when it comes to their property, but so do tenants. It is important to know your rights as a tenant when you move into a new rental property. Do not expect your landlord to present you with a list of your tenant rights, as this is highly unlikely to happen.
Some of your basic rights include knowing the name and address of your landlord and being given a reasonable period of notice if your landlord wishes to terminate your rental agreement. The Tenancy Agreement Service website will give you a more complete rundown of your tenant rights.
Your Rights to Fair Treatment
Landlords have every right to expect their tenants to take reasonably good care of their property and to pay their rent on time. Conversely, as a tenant, you are also entitled to fair treatment. Many UK landlords will treat their tenants well and go out of their way to ensure they are comfortable.
However, some landlords are ill-equipped and do not really know what they are doing. Accidental landlords (those who have been thrust into the position of landlord after an unsuccessful attempt to sell up) are often unable to act responsibly by offering their tenants fair treatment because they are not well versed in the law. The DirectGov website will give you an idea of what to expect from your landlord. If your landlord is violating your rights as a tenant, you can report their shady dealings to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a local Shelter Adviser.
Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
One of the biggest worries tenants have is whether their deposit is safe. Fortunately, British landlords are now required by law to place their tenants’ deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme, which will safeguard your deposit from being withheld for no good reason when you decide to move on.
The tenancy deposit protection scheme guarantees that your deposit will be returned, provided you have not caused any damage to the property and you have kept to the terms of the tenancy agreement. Before you sign a tenancy agreement, ask your landlord which tenancy deposit protection scheme they will be placing your money into. A landlord that is above board with nothing to hide will willingly disclose what you need to know.
As a tenant in the UK, you have more rights than you may think. Learn as much as you can about your rights as a tenant, including your right to fair treatment and where your deposit is being kept during the terms of your tenancy agreement.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland Finance, 5 things your landlord won’t tell you, by John Fitzsimons.