One of the biggest changes to come into play with regards to tenancy is that landlords may be forced to check the immigration status of prospective tenants before allowing them to rent a property from next year, or they will face a fine of £3,000.

The rules in the new Immigration Bill come as part of the Government’s measures to tackle rogue landlords who provide substandard or illegal accommodation. They will have to legally check tenants’ identity and credit status.

The relationship between landlords and tenants has been in the public eye for much of this year. It began at Christmas when the use of food banks was at an all-time high; poverty and homelessness were thrust into the spotlight; and the issue of housing was pertinent with more private-rented properties than ever.

But many people do not know the basics when it comes to buying properties, renting houses, and their rights.

I spoke with Kamlesh Padhra from Infinity Solution Properties about landlords’ and tenants’ basic rights:

Landlords’ rights:

  • Can evict you by serving you the correct notice if you have not paid the rent
  • Can increase your rent by serving the correct notice under the Housing Act. However, they can only increase the rent every six months and must give you one month’s notice.

Tenants’ rights:

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years.

Your landlord also has some responsibilities. One of the most common complaints from tenants is that their washing machine has broken, or that their boiler needs fixing. If the landlord has provided you with the item, and it has broken while you have been living in the property, it is still the landlords responsibility to fix or replace the broken item.

If you have purchased a new washing machine in the property you are renting, and it has broken, it is your responsibility to fix or replace it.

Landlords must also:

  • Meet the Band A-E energy efficiency requirement
  • Sell a property while you are still living in it, but they must give you at least two months notice. You should be aware of people coming to view it and that you will also have to find somewhere else to live
  • Know that they cannot enter your property without your permission. Even if they have a spare set of keys and you are renting the property, they cannot enter the premises without your say.

As a tenant, one thing you should never do is stop paying rent. If you are served a legal notice, you are advised to seek legal advice.

If you are not a tenant, but are thinking of becoming one, or you are about to become a first-time buyer, you should:

  • Go to a genuine estate agent
  • Check the location of the property
  • Check the crime rate of the area
  • Get a full property spec
  • Have a guided tour of the property

You should receive all of this information from the estate agent you are with, but if you are not given it – ask for it! These factors are extremely important to know when you are moving house.

And if you are about to become a Letting Agent you should:

  • Check the employment status of your tenants to ensure they can afford your property
  • Conduct a full credit check to ensure they keep on top of their finances
  • Contact the potential buyer’s current landlord or agent to find out their background as tenants and if they are reliable.

Good luck if you are thinking of becoming a landlord or tenant, and I hope this blog will help you along the way!