My Rights as a Tenant

Are you a private tenant? Do you know the rights that the law gives you?

Are you a private tenant? Do you know the rights that the law gives you?

Short-term tenancy agreements in England & Wales are controlled by statutory rules together with long established common law rules which means that the grant, content and termination of tenancy agreements is heavily regulated. Tenants have a number of rights under the law of which they should be aware. This note is a summary of some of the key legal rights that a tenant under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement will have. Although some of these rights apply to other types of tenancy agreement, ASTs are the most common form of tenancy agreement used in today’s residential rental market.

Your rights on the grant of a new AST agreement:

Gas Safety Certificate, EPC and ‘How to Rent’ – your landlord has a legal obligation to provide you with an EPC, a Gas Safety Checklist and a copy of the Government guidance “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” before you sign your tenancy agreement.

Deposit protection – any deposit taken from you in connection with your tenancy must be placed into a government-approved deposit scheme. If your landlord does not do this you may be able to claim three times the amount of the deposit from your landlord by way of compensation.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – your landlord must install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if there are solid fuel appliances at the property.

For more information on your rights as a tenant...

Please do not hesitate to contact an Everyman Legal Solicitor on 01993 893620 for a free discussion or email

Your rights during your tenancy:

Insurance and Repairs – your landlord must insure the building to cover the costs of damage from flood or fire and must keep the property in repair. This includes:

  1. the property’s structure and exterior including drains, gutters and external pipes;
  2. basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains;
  3. heating and hot water;
  4. gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation;
  5. electrical wiring; and
  6. any damage you cause by attempting repairs.

Repairs and maintenance should be carried out by your landlord reasonably promptly.

Gas Inspection Certificates – your landlord should have the gas supply/system in your home checked annually and must give you a copy of the gas safety record within 28 days of the inspection.

Peaceful and Quiet Enjoyment – you have the right to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the property. This means that your landlord cannot simply demand access but must give you prior notification with good reason.

Early eviction – your landlord can only evict you during the course of your tenancy for certain reasons, including non-payment of rent or antisocial behaviour, unless there is a ‘break clause’ in the AST agreement giving your landlord the right to end your tenancy early. Your landlord has to obtain a court order in order to be able to evict you early.

Your rights when the AST ends:

Ending the Tenancy / Eviction – before evicting you your landlord must give you at least 2 months’ notice that your tenancy is coming to an end and that he wants to take back possession of the property. If you do not leave the property at the end of that period then your landlord will have to apply to court for possession of the property.

Return of your Deposit – your landlord must give you back the amount of your deposit due usually within 30 days of the end of your tenancy. If your landlord makes any deductions from your deposit then they should explain why in writing. If you disagree with the deductions made you can complain to the scheme that was holding your money.

Our dedicated team of solicitors, based in Witney, Oxfordshire, would be happy to answer your questions.

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