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Rights of tenants and landlords

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Just as the landlord and tenant have certain responsibilities or obligation in terms of the duties that they must perform in relation to the property, so too do they have certain rights that are protected by law:

The landlord
Under the Rent Act of 1977 The landlord can seek possession of the property if the tenant or someone living with him has damaged the property. The landlord has 17 assorted grounds like this for seeking possession of the property. Find out more about this.

The landlord may gain access to the property to inspect it so long as 24 hours written notice is given. Find out more about access to the property.

The tenant
If the landlord fails to carry out obligatory repairs, the tenant may carry out the work and deduct is cost from the rent. Anyone considering doing this should get advice beforehand, and ensure that they have given the landlord ample warning and opportunity to perform the repairs.

As tenants, you have the right to 'quiet enjoyment' of your home without harassment by the landlord or a person acting on the landlord's behalf. This does not mean that you have the right to sit in silence, more that you have the right to a peaceful existence without undue disturbance. Harassment is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and may result in the landlord being fined, or even imprisoned in extreme cases. Harassment can take the form of:

  • Entering your home without permission
  • Changing the locks without giving you warning or new keys
  • Cutting off utilities such as gas water and electricity
  • Tampering with mail or possessions
  • Verbal or physical abuse or threats
  • Enter your home whilst the you are out
  • Neglect the property that you are renting
  • Prevent your friends from visiting

If you are harassed by your landlord, keep a record of when and where it has occurred, names and addresses of witnesses etc

Squatting

People often talk about squatters rights. Whilst a certain legal status can be obtained in some circumstances through squatting, you will almost certainly end up being evicted from the property, so long as the landlord is the rightful owner and has grounds for obtaining possession of the property. However, evicting squatters can be a time consuming, expensive and frustrating experience for landlords. We strongly advise people not to squat unlawfully in a property that someone rightfully owns.

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