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Changes to Tenancy Agreements

A residential Tenancy Agreement is an agreement between a Landlord and a Tenant to live in a named property for a certain term, eg six months, and can be made expressly (in writing) or implied (established right to live in a property).

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A tenant has certain rights when tenanting a privately rented property, such as the right to live in a property which is safe and in a good state of repair; have a deposit returned when the tenancy ends (and have it protected under an government approved deposit scheme); know who the landlord is; live in the property undisturbed and be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent.

Responsibilities of tenants

However with rights are also responsibilities on the tenant such as to take good care of the property, eg turn off the water at the mains if away during cold weather and to pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or there is a dispute with the landlord.

The landlord is also obliged to adhere to certain requirements such as they must not discriminate against a tenant because of disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, except in circumstances where the landlord lives in the same property as the tenant, but this does not provide a defence if the discrimination is because of race.

Landlords' obligations

The landlord is also obliged to ensure a property is in good condition and repair, and to fit the property with items such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as ensuring deposits are held under a government approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Where a tenant is renting a property as their main residence, from 1 February 2016, upon a new tenancy or if there is a break in the tenancy, a potential tenant will now need to show that they have a right to rent the property in England.

To ensure a potential tenant has a “Right to Rent” the landlord must check original documents eg passport, immigration papers supplied by the tenant and any adult occupiers, and keep those records until the tenant vacates the property. All checks should be renewed every 12 months or before the expiry of any visa or permission to stay, whichever is the longer.

There are some exceptions to the rule for example and further information on this can be viewed from the Government UK website.