As a landlord you may have to deal with some tricky questions from your tenants from queries about maintenance to legal and compliance issues, it is important that you give factual and impartial responses.
Today, we answer the top five tenant questions for you and provide you with some helpful, informative responses.
As a tenant, what are my rights
Your rights as a paying tenant should be clearly understood at the beginning of the tenancy when the contract is signed. Although most contracts will vary in some minor specifics, many things agreed between the landlord and the tenant will be very similar across the board.
Firstly and perhaps most importantly, you have the right to live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair. Your well-being as a tenant is fundamental, and landlords can incur large fines and even prison sentences should tenants suffer injury or loss of life should landlords fail to maintain the security of the property.
Secondly, if you meet all the terms of your tenancy agreement, you have the right to receive your deposit in full. Evidently, landlords will inspect the property at the end of a lease in order to check if the furniture and goods within are in good order and have not been damaged. If the property has not been damaged in any way, it is your right to receive the entire total of the deposit you initially paid.
There are also lesser-known, but equally important rights, like the right the tenant has to know the identity of the landlord, and the right to receive due notice should the landlord wish to visit, carry out refurbishments, or bring the lease to a close.
As a tenant, can I refuse viewings?
A cause of some confusion between landlords and tenants is that landlords must officially provide 24 hours’ notice stating that they wish to enter the property for any reason, typically safety inspections or viewings. If the landlord does not provide the 24 hours’ notice, then the tenant is within their legal right to refuse the landlord entry to the property.
This falls under the ‘principle of exclusivity’, where the tenant is entitled exclusive access to the property and to refuse anyone access who doesn’t provide the aforementioned 24 hours’ notice.
As a tenant, can I change the locks?
As improbable as it sounds, the short answer is yes – so long as the contract signed at the beginning of the lease does not specifically prohibit it. The property is in complete control of the tenant during the lease and so they can treat it as their own. Although not common, landlords should agree when signing the contract that any refurbishments or changes should first be approved by them, the landlord, or difficult situations like this could arise.
If a tenant does decide to change the locks, the landlord should be given a key as property owner, and all keys in possession of the tenant must obviously be returned to the landlord at the end of the tenancy.
As a tenant, do I need insurance?
If you’re a tenant renting a property, then you don’t need insurance because this is a specific policy only designed to protect the building itself, which is the responsibility of the landlord. However, in the event of a fire or flooding, where your possessions inside the property are damaged or destroyed, or in the event of burglary where your personal items are stolen, it is a good idea to have contents insurance as you would in your own property.
As a tenant, can I change energy and utility supplier?
Tenants may be surprised but pleased to read that they are fully entitled to change the energy and utility providers. Essentially, whoever pays the bills makes the choice, so as a tenant, you are free to shop around for better deals elsewhere if you feel you’re paying too much.
Even if the landlord pays the bills, it is your right to ask for a full breakdown of what is being charged.
The advantages of letting a property with Townends
As a landlord, letting a property with Townends has many benefits, the main one being our Fully Managed Plus service; ensuring that your property and your tenants are completely taken care of.
Additionally, your dedicated property managed will take the lead on the relationship with your tenants ensuring that they are settled into their new home and will be their primary point of contact throughout the tenancy. As a landlord you can rest assured that those tricky tenant questions will then be answered by a letting’s expert on your behalf.
To find out more about this and other aspects of our Fully Manged Plus service, book a free, no-obligation valuation today.