Boring Money’s research shows that on average, British people are renting their homes for longer. 39% of 26-35-year-olds are renters. In 2017, a Knight Frank report estimated that almost one in four of us will be privately renting by 2021. Lots more people are choosing to cast off the shackles of home ownership and embrace the relative freedom of a rental property. If this is you, understanding your rights and your landlord’s rights can save you a huge amount of headache and money. So, what are the key points of contention? And where do you stand on your rights?
Rule of thumb: if you did it, you pay. If it’s a structural problem with the house or its equipment, the landlord pays. The problem is, that’s not always clear-cut – are the missing tiles causing a leak a structural flaw (landlord’s fault)? Or because you didn’t clean the grouting and they fell off(your fault)?
The rules say you need to ‘live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair’. That means leaky roofs are fixed, rotten woodwork is dealt with, while gutters and drains are cleared. It also means all interior fixtures and fittings work properly.
Everything should be set out in a decent tenancy agreement. As such, you need to read your tenancy agreement clearly and refer back in the event of a problem.
Real Life Story: Dodgy dishwasher
Eleanor, Islington: “When we moved to our flat, we decided to pay up for a nice area, a reasonable landlord and a well-maintained flat (we had young children). It had all the appliances – dishwasher, washing machine, dryer. They were included in the inventory and we liked the fact we weren’t going to have to buy them ourselves.
“The dishwasher broker within days of us moving in. Not great with young, mucky kids. The landlord tried to claim it had been left by a previous tenant and therefore it wasn’t his responsibility to repair it. Anyway, after a bit of back and forth (and chatting to our friend who is a lawyer), it turns out that because it was included in the inventory it WAS his responsibility to repair it. It didn’t matter whether it was left there by previous tenants or not. He did it, reluctantly!"