Your Rights as a Renter

We want to make sure you know your rights as a tenant, so we've put this list together to help you better understand where you stand

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Moving in can be an exciting time - but it's important that you get to know your rights as a tenant before you settle in. Take some time to get to know the information in this article so you know where you stand as a tenant if things go awry.

Can I Decorate?

Once you've got your boxes moved into your room, you're likely looking around and thinking about what you can do to make it more 'you'. Maybe you want to paint the walls or put up some posters, or move furniture around. 

  • If you want to paint the walls, you must get written permission from your landlord - and make sure you keep this written agreement somewhere safe, in case you need to refer to it at a later date
  • If your landlord does agree to you painting the walls, you may be required to paint it back to the original colour before you move out
  • Check your tenancy agreement if you want to put up some posters or picture frames - generally, as long as you don't damage the walls (avoid Blu Tack and drilling/nailing into the wall), then you should be fine
  • If you move furniture, keep in mind that you will have to put furniture back in its original position (as per the tenancy agreement/inventory)

Am I allowed guests over?

You might find that your agreement doesn't really mention anything about guests or visitors, and so this is something that is usually agreed upon with your housemates. 

  • Be mindful of your housemates if you are having guests over - especially if your guests will be staying or sleeping in a communal area
  • If you find that one of your housemates is unhappy with you having guests over, take a look at this article on how to deal with difficult housemates
  • You must not, under any circumstances, take any money from your guests for their stay - neither can you rent your room out. This is considered subletting and will almost definitely go against your tenancy agreement - it could even result in eviction

Will the landlord repair anything?

Hopefully, you won't experience any difficulties with repairs to the property, however, problems can arise and when they do you should report them to your landlord immediately. Your landlord should be responsible for large repairs such as:

  • Baths, toilets and sinks
  • Boilers - including issues with heating and hot water
  • Pipes
  • Wiring
  • Structural issues - walls, windows, doors, roof
  • Gas and electrical safety

Your landlord must have a record of safety checks made by a Gas Safe registered engineer - this is required on all appliances. They must be safely installed, maintained, and annually checked.

For any minor repairs, the tenant is usually responsible. This includes:

  • Changing lightbulbs
  • Fuses
  • Batteries in smoke alarms

It is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the property and garden are kept clean and tidy.

Can the landlord enter the property?

Your landlord, estate agent, or anyone acting on behalf of your landlord is legally required to give you at least 24 hours notice before they enter the property (unless in an emergency such as a fire, flood, or gas leak for example).

What about my deposit?

It's expensive to move house, and it's understandable that you will want your deposit to be in safe hands. Your landlord is legally required to keep your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme - a government-owned deposit scheme ensuring that both you and your landlord are protected in case of any disputes.

What if the landlord breaches the contract?

The likelihood is your tenancy will be a smooth one, however, if you do feel like your landlord has or is breaching the terms of your contract, or acting in a way that is illegal (such as entering the property without sufficient notice), you can contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. Get in touch with your university accommodation office if you're living in halls.

Renter's rights are there for you whether you're a fresher, mature student, or anywhere in between - in fact, these rights apply to all renters, not just students. Make sure you know your rights to avoid difficult situations with landlords or estate agents. For more information, we recommend you check out this link with more in-depth information on tenants' rights.

Our Advice and Support Centre offers further information and can assist with any queries relating to housing - we encourage you to get in touch if you need any help.

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