Whether a landlord or a tenant, here's what you need to know

The law on tenant’s rights in private properties is clear and details exactly what is expected from a landlord and from a tenant. The law covers aspects of renting a property such as safety responsibilities, rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

Perhaps surprisingly, in England and Wales, tenants do not necessarily have the right to a written tenancy agreement. Where one is drawn up it should give details of the tenancy, including the landlord’s name and address and any conditions of the tenancy.

Assuming that what is contained within the agreement does not conflict with the law or a person’s statutory rights, both the landlord and the tenant will be held to account to the tenancy agreement they have signed.

Where a written tenancy agreement is not signed, an oral agreement is in place. Should things not go to plan, there are clear disadvantages to this arrangement as it is difficult to prove who agreed to what.

Whatever type of tenancy agreement is in place, there are laws in place which are set irrespective of what has been agreed between the landlord and the tenant.

For tenants this means that they must allow the landlord access to property if repairs are required and they must not cause any damage to the property.

By law, landlords must allow tenants to live uninterrupted and to ensure that any repairs are done in good time and that installations for the supply of utilities such as water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating are kept in good order.

Other responsibilities include:


Renting a property comes with responsibilities and should they not be met, could result in a loss of deposit or even eviction from the property.

Responsibilities include taking good care of the property and putting right any damage as well as paying the agreed amount of rent at the agreed time, along with any other bills unless they are included within the rental amount.

Where a tenancy agreement is in place it will likely detail other criteria, such as whether pets are allowed, whether the property can be sub-let and whether cosmetic changes to the property are allowed.


Landlords must keep their property in a good state of repair and be sure that it meets safety standards.

The tenant should be able to live undisturbed, and in instances where a landlord requires access to the property, the tenant should receive at least 24 hours’ notice before a planned visit, unless in the case of an emergency.

At the end of the tenancy it is the landlord’s responsibility to return the tenant’s deposit assuming they have met all the agreed conditions.

At the end of a tenancy

Notice to leave a property should be given in line with the agreement, whether written or verbal, that is in place.

Landlords cannot evict tenants without going through the correct legal process first. For advice on the process and to ensure you are in compliance with the law, contact us.

When to seek advice…

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, if you are experiencing difficulties with your tenancy in the first instance always try to resolve them calmly through open lines of communication. 

If you’d like to find out more about the legal services offered by Smith Partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us via info@smithpartnership.co.uk. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.

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