Given the current state of the UK property market, it is easy to see why there is a greater focus being placed on the letting and rental market. People who would have previously bought homes now find that they can only afford to rent properties. Many people are now finding that they are unable to sell their homes which mean that they are looking to rent out their properties in order to bring money in. This means that there is an increased number of tenants and landlords around the country and there are a number of agreements in place that will help to keep people safe.
Both landlords and tenants have rights and obligations when it comes to a landlord tenant agreement and it is important that both parties know what is expected of them. The law is there to protect both sides of the agreement and even if a law or agreement has been broken, there is no right for either of the parties to take the law into their own hands.
Firstly, a landlord will find that they have to comply with these legislations when renting out property:
• Disability Discrimination Order (NI) 2006
• Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976
• Race Relations (NI) Order 1997
This will determine their actions in letting out the property but with respect to the actual legislation for looking after the property and tenants, the landlords have a number of obligations. The landlords are duty bound to carry out any repairs to the exterior or structure of the property. They are obligated to ensure that the heating, hot water, basin, sinks, baths and any other sanitary ware items around the home are kept in good condition. The landlord is also obliged to ensure that gas and electrical appliances are safe. This means that all gas equipment must be fitted and maintained by a registered professional. The landlord should maintain a copy of the most recent safety check for gas and it should be presented to the tenant prior to them moving in or at least within 28 days of the check being carried out. Each gas appliance should be professionally checked out.
Similarly, all electrical appliances should be checked out to ensure that they are safe.
Landlords need to maintain safety
If a landlord has provided any furniture for the flat, they are duty bound to ensure that it meets all fire safety regulations. The landlord should ensure that the flat is maintained fit for habitation , that common areas in a multi-occupancy property is cared for and to ensure that rooms are kept in good repair.
The landlord is entitled to receive access to the flat, given reasonable notice, to allow them to inspect the property or carry out repairs.
Tenants also have obligations and requirements. Tenants are obliged to pay the rent in the agreed fashion and to pay their bills. The property should be maintained in a reasonable condition with respect to cleanliness or decoration. The tenant is obliged to ensure that they, their visitors or anyone else staying in the property does not harass, offend or annoy people living in adjoining or neighbouring properties.
At all times, tenants should be protected from unfair rent, unfair rent increases and from being evicted. Landlords will be protected from a tenant trying to sublet their property without their knowledge or agreement. A tenant has the right to know who their landlord is and the landlord has the right to accept that all damages will be paid for. A tenant has the right to receive their deposit back at the end of the agreement but only after reasonable expenses or repairs have been paired for. This is often a bone of contention between landlords and tenants but there are ways to resolve any disagreements in this matter.
The rental and property market is integral to modern Britain and it is important that all parties are properly protected.