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Ten steps to becoming the tenant that landlords love

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There’s plenty of information out there about landlords’ duties, but it works the other way too. If you’re new to renting there are a few responsibilities in your tenancy agreement that you really need to know about. From being on time with your rent to getting on with the neighbours, read on for our ultimate guide to becoming the tenant that landlords love.

What are the responsibilities of a tenant?


Pay your rent

Prioritising your rent, so you never fall behind, has to be your number one duty as a tenant. If you pay by standing order, make sure you have funds to cover your rent on the due date. If you fail to pay, your landlord can take steps to evict you and reclaim the money that’s owed. You need to make sure you pay any other charges, as agreed with your landlord too; Council Tax or utility bills, for example.

Keep your home in good order

Your landlord is responsible for carrying out repair work to the structure and exterior of your property and to the plumbing, electrics and heating. However, the majority of assured shorthold tenancy agreements state that tenants must keep the property in good condition.

This means you’ll be expected to complete small tasks to keep your home running smoothly – checking smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and keeping the place clean and well-ventilated. You’ll also need to take reasonable steps to prevent problems occurring – such as not flushing anything inappropriate down the loo and turning off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather.

You should always report repairs to your landlord promptly – if further damage is caused because a problem wasn’t fixed, you could be liable.

Allow your landlord access

Unless living in the property, landlords don’t have the right to come and go as they please. But you do need to allow you landlord access to the property to carry out repairs and maintenance and to make fire and gas safety checks. Your landlord must give you 24-hours’ notice before visiting and should visit at a reasonable time, unless it’s an emergency.

Stay on top of your benefits

If you rely on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent, you need to keep your claim up-to-date, reporting any changes in circumstances through the official channels.

Show your documents

Landlords are now responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants – known as a ‘right to rent’ check. Be ready to show your landlord your passport or other documents so they can comply with the law.

Be a good neighbour

Put your rubbish out on time, keep the outside of the property tidy and avoid noisy parties. Landlords can start eviction proceedings against tenants for antisocial behaviour directed at them, their employees or neighbours. As a tenant you will be held responsible for the behaviour of anyone living with you or visiting too.

Don’t make alterations without permission

Rental properties tend to be decorated in neutral tones, which suit most tastes. Avoid the temptation to personalise your space with something more radical without checking first. Unauthorised redecorating, or drilling holes to hang pictures, is likely to result in the landlord withholding your security deposit, so they can put things right after you’ve gone.

Follow the rules about pets

Some landlords allow cats and dogs, others don’t. Check your tenancy agreement or get permission in writing before sharing your home with a furry friend.

Be present

If you ‘re going to be away from your home for a substantial period – because you’re in hospital, travelling abroad or caring for a relative – let your landlord know. You’ll still need to pay rent while you’re away and you must never sub-let the property to someone else in your absence, without permission.

Saying goodbye

You should end your tenancy properly by giving the correct notice. If you don’t you will still be liable to pay rent. You can’t give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says you can.

Read more about tenants’ rights and responsibilities on the gov.uk and Shelter websites.

Landlords who sign up to Assetgrove’s rent guarantee scheme can be assured that their properties will be kept in good condition.

Not only does our rent guarantee scheme provide landlords with a fixed monthly payment every month for up to five years, even if the property is empty, we treat every property we manage as if it was our own.

For more information about our rent guarantee scheme, click here.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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