Tenants Know your rights – Government Guidelines

General  Government Guidelines to Tenants who are Private Renting

1/ Your rights and responsibilities

 You have certain rights and responsibilities if you’re a tenant in privately rented property.

 Your rights

 As a tenant, you have the right to:

  • 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

 If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.

 If you don’t know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined If they don’t give you this information within 21 days.

 When you start a new tenancy

 When you start a new assured or short assured tenancy, your landlord must give you:

Your responsibilities as a Tenant

You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.

You must also:

  • Take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
  • Pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
  • Pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
  • Repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
  • Only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it

Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.

 If your landlord lives outside the UK

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your landlord lives outside the UK and you pay £100 or more a week in rent directly to them.

You may have to deduct tax from your rent under HMRC’s ‘non-resident landlord scheme’.

2/ Document checks

You must prove that you have a right to rent property in England if you’re: 

  • Starting a tenancy on or after 1 February 2016.
  • Renting it as your main home.


You won’t have to prove your right to rent if you live in:

  • Student accommodation, for example halls of residence
  • Accommodation provided by your employer as part of your job or training
  • Social housing
  • Accommodation provided by the council
  • Hostels and refuges
  • A care home, hospital or hospice
  • Accommodation with a lease of 7 or more years

Check the full list of exemptions from the right to rent property checks.

What Beacons Estate Agents

According the the Government Guidelines we must:

  • Check your original documents to make sure you have the right to rent a property in England
  • Check the documents of any other adults living in the property
  • Make copies of your documents and keep them until you leave the property
  • Return your original documents to you once they’ve finished the check

Your landlord must not discriminate against you, for example because of your nationality.

If you can’t prove your right to rent

You won’t be able to rent property if you can’t provide the acceptable documents.

If the Home Office has your documents

If the Home Office has your documents because of an outstanding case or appeal, ask your landlord to check with the Home Office.

Give your landlord your Home Office reference number to do the check.

If your circumstances mean you can still rent in the UK

In some circumstances, you can still rent even if you aren’t allowed to stay in the UK, for example if you’re:

  • A victim of slavery
  • Using the Home Office’s voluntary departure scheme

Check with the Home Office team that’s dealing with your case.

Your landlord will have to check with the Home Office.

Repeat checks

You won’t have a further check if you stay in the same property and either:

  • You’re British or from an EEA country
  • You have no time limit on your right to stay in the UK

We here at Beacons Estate Agents will have to make a repeat check if there’s a time limit on your right to stay in the UK.

We will ask to see your documents again just before your permission to stay runs out, or after 12 months, whichever is longer.

3/ Repairs

 What your landlord must do

 Your landlord is always responsible for repairs to:

  • The property’s structure and exterior
  • Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
  • Heating and hot water
  • Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
  • Electrical wiring
  • Any damage they cause by attempting repairs

Your landlord is usually responsible for repairing common areas, for example staircases in blocks of flats. Check your tenancy agreement if you’re unsure.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

You should only carry out repairs if the tenancy agreement says you can.

You can’t be forced to do repairs that are your landlord’s responsibility.

 If you damage another tenant’s flat, for example if water leaks into another flat from an overflowing bath, you’re responsible for paying for the repairs. You’re also responsible for paying to put right any damage caused by your family and friends.

If your property needs repairs

Contact us here at Beacons if you think repairs are needed. Do this straight away for faults that could damage health, for example faulty electrical wiring.

We will tell you when you can expect the repairs to be done. You should carry on paying rent while you’re waiting.

For the full set of Government Guidelines see:


Posted by:
Clare Bourke