Topher Bear

Tenants - Know Your Rights

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of all my searching this is the best place to go to find info on rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords:

The Citizens Advice Bureau AdviceSite

It doesn't really say any more than can be found elsewhere, but its all in one place and is reasonably easy to understand....you might be surprised to find out what is your responsability as well as what is your landlords!

Its a MUST for any tenant

Also here is a great source of first contact for when you have a problem

Shelter Housing Advice

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of all my searching this is the best place to go to find info on rights and responsabilities of tenants and landlords:

The Citizens Advice Bureau AdviceSite

It doesn't really say any more than can be found elsewhere, but its all in one place and is reasonably easy to understand....you might be surprised to find out what is your responsability as well as what is your landlords!

Its a MUST for any tenant

Also here is a great source of first contact for when you have a problem

Shleter Housing Advice

Brilliant, thanks for this. Oddly enough, according to my tenancy agreement, I don't seem to be entitled to very much at all - hmm, funny that.

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Didn't know that Shelter provided advice too, that's useful to know.I also posted this on another thread - I found this invaluable when I had problems.

''[Aside from the CAB, try a] more specialist 'housing help' type centre, often run by voluntary organisations (subsidised by local authorities?), certainly in bigger cities, but possibly also in smaller places - look in your yellow pages under advice or similar.Even if there isn't one locally, just ring up and ask for some basic advice over the phone (white lie if you have to and say you live locally).These places are great - I've used one myself.The guy was fantastic, and they had access to a solicitor who specialises in housing law.All for FREE. If there really are problems, a letter or two from an organisation like that can really add weight to your case.I also tried my solicitor who gave me basic advice for free, but of course anything more than this gets expensive v. quickly, and there's no real need for it with the type of organisations I've mentioned around.'' ;)

Edited by Homebird

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This has to be the defacto resource in respects to renting and Assured Shorthold Tennacy agreements.

It is produced by the Office of Fair Trading:

Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements (Sept. 2005) oft356.pdf

It should be your starting place if you have any concerns about landlord / letting agencies practices, your rights as a tenant, and unfair terms in your tenancy that cannot be enforced in a court of law.

Hope that helps.

Knowledge is power!

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You could always go to an estate agent. Lots of them can be very career driven with little time for advice and discussion, but there is the occasional nice guy out there. Try going to a smaller office on a weekday, late in the afternoon. They tend to be quiet times, and most of the time you can get a good chat going and will probably glean some useful information.

If all else fails, and you REALLY want an insight, try working a couple of Saturday shifts for a Lettings Agent. That'll be a nice eye-opener for you.

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Did you know . . . .

You can refuse to accept an unfair rental increase. Do not change your standing order payment as soon as you get notice that they propose a rent increase, instead respond stating why you think the proposed increase is unfair.

'Unfair' broadly speaking is when it is higher than comparable properties on the market and other things that *may* hold water are improvements made to the property in the last 12 months by the tenant and lack of affordability.

You need to make your case though and this can be done initially by letter to the Landlord or via their agent. If you are successful all well and good, if not you will need to go to the next level which revolves around the mysterious document known as the LTA no 206.

This is a PRE- TENANCY -DETERMINATION ( this stands even though you are already in the property) you can get one of these from the the district council for your area. Your landlord can only request this once a year if you have already had one done in the last twelve months your landlord cannot request another, your rent will be assesed by a fair rent officer who will determine whether you are paying the correct amount of rent for your property, it is also dependant on the income of your household, you may be eligible for some help with the rent through housing benefit if your income is below a certain level, or it may turn out that your landlord cannot increase the rent , anyway i hope this is of some help to you.

Copy of a letter sent to our agent with the important details erased to protect the 'innocent' below to give you an idea of how to tackle the first stage of objection. Just make sure you meet all the deadlines in your notification letter.

Dear Ms Letting Agent

Thank you for your letter dated xth of month received today yth of month notifying us of a proposed change to the monthly rental charge and the Section 13 Notice as of xy of month 2006.

We have the following objections to this rental increase:

Firstly the Landlord and his agents have not recognised the investment we have made in the property, while having given permission for us to make imoprovements. It has cost us personally approximately £500 to make the following improvements

List any works here

Total value of improvement by the tenants in the year 2005/2006 £500

This far exceeds the £300 that the Landlord would gain through a rental increase of £25 a month in the year 2006/2007.

Secondly, the rent as it stands at £xyz is commercially competitive and at the higher end of what is reasonable, I refer you to the following examples from your own current list, one of which seems to be an identical property on the same estate, available from xth month this year.

[insert weblinks to properties advertised on their own property website as evidence]

And these from other lists:

[http://www.rightmove.co.uk/ (put in the view details web links)]

Thirdly the number of properties available to rent in ZXYville is higher than anywhere we have previously lived and currently a number of properties are up for sale (probably due to the rise in interest rates). The likelihood is that these too will be bought as buy to let investments, thus reducing the commercial rental rate due to saturation over the next six months.

Our intention is to remain here longer term which means that the Landlord will not suffer any periods void of rent nor have costs associated with frequent (6monthly - annual) changes of tenants who may or may not have the excellent references we have justifiably supplied. We have never defaulted on rent or left a property in anything less than the state in which we found it. In many cases we have considerably improved upon it, in this case specifically to a value greater than the £25 gain a month which accumulated to a year would be wiped out with even just a two week void period.

This email will also be sent to your offices by letter, recorded delivery, but we would be grateful for a response as soon as possible.

Regards and thanks

Mr and Mrs Topher Bear

*******

Hope this helps

Missus TopherBear :rolleyes: x

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Hi everyone,

I've just moved into a studio flat in Pimlico, London and noticed there was no smoke detector. Do you know whether this is the landlord's responsibility to install, and whether the landlord is required by law to do this?

Many thanks,

Caroline

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How many floors and how many people in total? It sounds like you may be in a licensable HMO, which probably would require fire equipment to be installed.

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It is a self-contained flat and I am aware that there are other people in the house (though I am not sure how many). There are locked doors. I am not sure how many floors there are but there are at least 2, and I am not sure whether the landlord owns both floors (or more than one flat). Does anyone know how I can get the council to investigate whether this is an HMO?

Many thanks,

Caroline

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Hello,

I am renting a studio flat and the shower has started leaking onto the flat below mine. I have stopped using it, and have left phone messages for the landlord (I cannot get directly through to him) but he has not phoned me back. Does anyone know if there any amount of time by which the landlord has to have the shower fixed?

Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Caroline

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hi I am in a 1 bed flat ground floor at front no smoke alarm fitted. 2 other flats in same building. I am at end of terraced housing so looks to be a converted house. Should smoke alarm be fitted? landlord owns all 3 flats.

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hi I am in a 1 bed flat ground floor at front no smoke alarm fitted. 2 other flats in same building. I am at end of terraced housing so looks to be a converted house. Should smoke alarm be fitted? landlord owns all 3 flats.

A bit late probably but if you are still not sure, then yes you should have a smoke alarm on every level. I assume you are on 1 level in which case you should have at least 1, but maybe 2 (to be on the safe side)

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Did you know . . . .

You can refuse to accept an unfair rental increase. Do not change your standing order payment as soon as you get notice that they propose a rent increase, instead respond stating why you think the proposed increase is unfair.

'Unfair' broadly speaking is when it is higher than comparable properties on the market and other things that *may* hold water are improvements made to the property in the last 12 months by the tenant and lack of affordability.

You need to make your case though and this can be done initially by letter to the Landlord or via their agent. If you are successful all well and good, if not you will need to go to the next level which revolves around the mysterious document known as the LTA no 206.

This is a PRE- TENANCY -DETERMINATION ( this stands even though you are already in the property) you can get one of these from the the district council for your area. Your landlord can only request this once a year if you have already had one done in the last twelve months your landlord cannot request another, your rent will be assesed by a fair rent officer who will determine whether you are paying the correct amount of rent for your property, it is also dependant on the income of your household, you may be eligible for some help with the rent through housing benefit if your income is below a certain level, or it may turn out that your landlord cannot increase the rent , anyway i hope this is of some help to you.

Copy of a letter sent to our agent with the important details erased to protect the 'innocent' below to give you an idea of how to tackle the first stage of objection. Just make sure you meet all the deadlines in your notification letter.

Dear Ms Letting Agent

Thank you for your letter dated xth of month received today yth of month notifying us of a proposed change to the monthly rental charge and the Section 13 Notice as of xy of month 2006.

We have the following objections to this rental increase:

Firstly the Landlord and his agents have not recognised the investment we have made in the property, while having given permission for us to make imoprovements. It has cost us personally approximately £500 to make the following improvements

List any works here

Total value of improvement by the tenants in the year 2005/2006 £500

This far exceeds the £300 that the Landlord would gain through a rental increase of £25 a month in the year 2006/2007.

Secondly, the rent as it stands at £xyz is commercially competitive and at the higher end of what is reasonable, I refer you to the following examples from your own current list, one of which seems to be an identical property on the same estate, available from xth month this year.

[insert weblinks to properties advertised on their own property website as evidence]

And these from other lists:

[http://www.rightmove.co.uk/ (put in the view details web links)]

Thirdly the number of properties available to rent in ZXYville is higher than anywhere we have previously lived and currently a number of properties are up for sale (probably due to the rise in interest rates). The likelihood is that these too will be bought as buy to let investments, thus reducing the commercial rental rate due to saturation over the next six months.

Our intention is to remain here longer term which means that the Landlord will not suffer any periods void of rent nor have costs associated with frequent (6monthly - annual) changes of tenants who may or may not have the excellent references we have justifiably supplied. We have never defaulted on rent or left a property in anything less than the state in which we found it. In many cases we have considerably improved upon it, in this case specifically to a value greater than the £25 gain a month which accumulated to a year would be wiped out with even just a two week void period.

This email will also be sent to your offices by letter, recorded delivery, but we would be grateful for a response as soon as possible.

Regards and thanks

Mr and Mrs Topher Bear

*******

Hope this helps

Missus TopherBear :rolleyes: x

Given that the laws regulating tenancies with private landlords are so heavily biased in favour of the landlord you have in reality little choice but to accept the situation. Any victory resulting from the suggestion above would only be of benefit if your landlord showed goodwill towards you. Most of them are stone-hearted barbarians so your would be extremely lucky to succeed.

At the end of the day you are at the mercy of your landlord as your tenancy can be terminated without reason, by giving you a short period of notice to move out, after your initial assured period (usually six months) has expired.

Good luck anyway. You will certainly need it.

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I'm a little confused by my tenancy agreement...

Initially, I signed up to a 12 month lease. Circumstances have changed, and now I want to leave about a month earlier than my lease expires. I have asked the agent, and the owner has said that that's OK if they can get a new tenant in before that time. However my rental agreement is as follows:

"1. You are proposing to take a tenancy of ..... which will commence on 9th Aug 2006 for a period of 12 months.

2. This document is to tell you that your tenancy is to be a short assured tenancy. Provided you keep to the terms of the tenancy you are entitled to remain in the dwelling for at least the first six months of the fixed period agreed at the start of the tenancy...."

Later on...

"1.5 Rental period starting from 9th August 2006 and ending on 9th August 2007"

"Temination of lease

Either party may terminate this agreement by giving written notice of termination by recorded delivery to the other party at least two calender months before the termination dats and on the expiry of such notice the tenancy will come to an end without prejudice to any right of action which either party or both parties may have against the other for any breach of this agreement."

So, can I send them a notice to quit by recorded delivery for the middle of July? That's what I get from this, even though my lease is until 9th August. Any help on this is greatly appreciated.

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Given that the laws regulating tenancies with private landlords are so heavily biased in favour of the landlord you have in reality little choice but to accept the situation. Any victory resulting from the suggestion above would only be of benefit if your landlord showed goodwill towards you. Most of them are stone-hearted barbarians so your would be extremely lucky to succeed.

At the end of the day you are at the mercy of your landlord as your tenancy can be terminated without reason, by giving you a short period of notice to move out, after your initial assured period (usually six months) has expired.

Good luck anyway. You will certainly need it.

Actually it did work...for 6 months.

We were going to stall again after 6 months, but by then advertised rents had risen and it would have been harder to argue the case. The rise though was not £25 but only £20!

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I'm a little confused by my tenancy agreement...

Initially, I signed up to a 12 month lease. Circumstances have changed, and now I want to leave about a month earlier than my lease expires. I have asked the agent, and the owner has said that that's OK if they can get a new tenant in before that time. However my rental agreement is as follows:

"1. You are proposing to take a tenancy of ..... which will commence on 9th Aug 2006 for a period of 12 months.

2. This document is to tell you that your tenancy is to be a short assured tenancy. Provided you keep to the terms of the tenancy you are entitled to remain in the dwelling for at least the first six months of the fixed period agreed at the start of the tenancy...."

Later on...

"1.5 Rental period starting from 9th August 2006 and ending on 9th August 2007"

"Temination of lease

Either party may terminate this agreement by giving written notice of termination by recorded delivery to the other party at least two calender months before the termination dats and on the expiry of such notice the tenancy will come to an end without prejudice to any right of action which either party or both parties may have against the other for any breach of this agreement."

So, can I send them a notice to quit by recorded delivery for the middle of July? That's what I get from this, even though my lease is until 9th August. Any help on this is greatly appreciated.

I'm sorry to see that no-one has replied, but here goes..and hope its not too late.

Unfortunately since the cotract was for a fixed term, you are indeed liable for the rent up until the end date of the contract. In your case that is 9th August. However, if they do find someone else to take it on, then you will only be liable up until the date at which the new contract starts.

What the above part of the contract means in the case of the fixed term is that notice to quit (either by yourself choosing to leave or by the landlord/agent wanting you out) MUST be provided at least two months prior the end of of the contract (ie 9th June). If notice is not provided by either party then the contract rolls into a statuary periodic tenancy, which provides all the rights and responsibilities as before, but the notice can be given to terminate at any date after (ie some arbitrary date after 9th August) as long as the require notice has been given (ie two months).

However, one more thing to check into. Re-read the pinned posts at the top, but I "think" that you as a tenant have a legal right to only provide 1 month notice, it is only landlords that must provide 2 months. I "believe" that this is something enshrined in law and no written contract can circumvent...but please double check this, as I may have mis-remembered it.

Sorry the news was not so good for you, remember next time to only sign up to 6 month contracts, unless you have a worry that you might get kicked out before 12 months is up...in which case, find somewhere else! Also resist re-signing new fixed price contracts, they are only to provide for rent guarantees for landlords....and you end up paying the exhorbitant administration fees.

As a quick aside. I know my name is at the top of this forum as a leader to it, but in truth I haven't been a regular on this forum for nearly 2 years, and only pop back in occaisionally (usually when things are looking interesting on the house price front! :-)

Regards

Topher Bear

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i live in an underdwelling & have a few problems 1st problem being i get live woodlice crawling around the place in the bathroom floor on the tiles,in the kitchen on the floor around the sink & even the worktops,+ in the living room & bedroom,even when there dead for example when get home from work every night i still have to either vac or sweep them up ! but it really does aggitate me when eating my tea in kitchen only to see one crawling across the floor putting me off eating ! ive made the landlord aware of this but to no avail... is it something i should put up with in general or should i see it as unhiygenic and a case for enviromental health or something ? 2nd problem "noise" from above as im in an underdwelling my bedroom is underneath a house where a shift worker lives who comes in from work around 11pm-1am and then proceeds to do the washing housework cooking cleaning etc as well as stomping around the house ! problem is..is that the dividing floor between us is wooden & i can hear everything pretty much(imagine somebody in your loft when your in bed),landlord said soundproofing was installed when he refurbished the flat recently but i find this hard to beleive ? isnt a sound test required on newly refurbished flats under part e of the building regs ? as it causes me sleepless nights and great distress.. i even wear a pair of building site ear defenders when the noise is prominent .. although to be fair it isnt every night.. tried telling person above me but said dont make exessive noise ans will walk around whatever time they want.. + told landlord and he just says oh they might hear your tv or something..which is highly unlikely as its at the other end of the flat..what can i do with landlord or with person above me ? ok cheers

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I thought you would apprecaite the effort I put in to this issue I had with my landlady claims for repairs, it is very important you understand your rights under the two housing acts

Both are listed with some guidance on a website I created you also need be confident in the difference between explicit and implied law, an implied law is an act of law can not be signed away in a contract. I also recommend that you have any contract that has any "house/flat specific" clause checked by CAB (most solicitor have scant knowldge of basic consumer tenancy laws as there is little or no money in it) If it is doctored it is likley to be unfair

Have a look at the site, it is clean, it is named after the house I still live in and whilst it is mostly serious it has a comical blog

www.bennells.com

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Guest Ryanman

Thank you, that was really helpful! I wanted to know how long I had to wait before I can evict a tenant if he does not pay the rent! That was really useful!

Edited by Ryanman

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I'm 2 weeks into a 6 month tenancy agreement, and living in the property with my partner and 3 month old daughter.

I've received a notice that the landlord is about to be repossessed !!!! - Where do we stand legally as tennants?

Presumably he's been pocketing the rent and not paying his mortgage ! - Should we cancel the rent?? - Our contract states there would be a 6% interest charge on late rent, but surely the landlord is in breach of contract for not keeping up his associated payments on the property? :unsure:

Also what happens with the bond? - It's safeguarded with TDS....

Help please!!!!!!! :o

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