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Legal Experts Reveal 5 Laws That Protect Tenants Amid Housing Crisis

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The housing crisis and lack of affordable options for young people have spiralled rental prices in recent months, with the average renter under the age of 30 spendings more than 30% of their monthly income to cover their bills. 

If you’re gearing up to move in the next few months due to your tenancy agreement ending or in an attempt to reduce how much you are spending each month with the current housing crisis, the thought can be a little bit daunting. 

However, when moving into a rented property, tenants are protected by several rights and laws that can help shield them from landlord disputes during or after their tenancy. They should be outlined in the contract signed by both parties.

With this in mind, the team of experts at BPP University Law School have shared below exactly which laws protect renters when it comes to matters such as cleanliness, eviction and more

Cleanliness 

One law that protects tenants when renting a property that some may not be aware of is the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The law, introduced only three years ago, now stops landlords from charging those who occupied their property with an end-of-tenancy clean fee.

Instead, they can only ask that the property is cleaned to a professional standard upon exit and returned to them in the same condition it was found – aside from reasonable wear and tear.

Suppose your landlord incorrectly deducts money from your deposit for cleanliness when you leave. In that case, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) offers a free resolution service where tenants can seek advice.

Property damage

Often, contracts between landlords and tenants stipulate that you should not permanently edit the property in any way. This includes painting or putting up pictures, which counts as property damage and can lead to money being deducted from your deposit when your contract ends.

However, if structural damage is caused to the property that isn’t your fault, it is important to seek advice. Damage can include faulty power sockets, unsecured exterior windows and doors or leaking roofs. Under Section 11 of the Landlord Tenant Act 1985, it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix these repairs and make sure that it is safe and in a fit condition to be lived in – tenants can usually find information on this in the landlord’s responsibilities section in their contact. 

Eviction

Until recently, ‘Section 21’ or the No-Fault Eviction Law meant landlords had the right to remove their tenants from their property with just eight weeks’ notice. This would be due to no fault of their own, even if they have paid their rent on time and followed the rules.

However, from next year, the government has announced that this law will be banned. This means tenants can no longer be evicted from their property for no good legal reason and must be given long notice. 

Knowing the landlord’s name and address when requested

Another law many tenants may not know about is that they have the right to know their landlord’s name and address when requested.

For example, if the tenant needs to get in direct contact with the landlord to serve notice, under Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, they can request the landlord’s name and address in writing from the estate agent or the person who last asked for rent. 

The landlord must provide these details within 21 days, or they can be fined up to £2,500 for failure to comply.

Your deposit back at the end of the tenancy

Suppose you have taken out a short-hold tenancy agreement since 2007 under the Tenancy Deposit Protection Act. In that case, landlords are legally required to protect your deposit throughout your contract and return it to you when it comes to an end. 

As mentioned above, deductions can be made to your deposit to cover property damage. Still, once an amount has been agreed upon between the tenant and the landlord, this should be returned to the tenant within 10 days of the agreement. 

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