On my blog I cover most areas of consumer rights. However there are some topics where I ask a specialist to give expert advice.
I have asked Christian Weaver, barrister and author of The Law in 60 Seconds: A Pocket Guide to Your Rights* – to explain your rights when it comes to problems with renting. This is the second in the series. See also:
“I am probably asked more questions on renting than I am any other area of law. It’s also an area where a real imbalance of power can exist, and therefore, just sitting back and hoping things will go smoothly between you and your landlord sometimes just isn’t good enough.”
This post is about what you need to be aware of when you move into a rented property.
Move-in days can be filled with excitement, but here are some things it’s essential to check that you have obtained from your landlord before you lay your head to sleep on those new, fresh pillows you’ve purchased from Wilkos.
Use the checklist below to ensure you have everything you need:
The most recent copy of the government guide ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’. This provides helpful information for you as a tenant and gets you on a steady footing as to what to expect from your landlord and what they can expect from you. (Note that there is no equivalent of this in Wales or Scotland. In Northern Ireland see Renting a home privately.) If your property has a gas installation or appliance, your landlord or agent must give you a gas safety certificate before you physically move in. They must then give you a copy of the new certificate after each annual gas safety check.
- If your property has a gas installation or appliance, your landlord or agent must give you a gas safety certificate before you physically move in. They must then give you a copy of the new certificate after each annual gas safety check.
- A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which tells you the energy performance rating of your property. This might not sound very exciting, but it often contains handy recommendations on how you can save energy and thus save money.
- A record of any electrical inspections and an electrical safety report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report). (There is no requirement to provide an electrical safety report in Wales, but landlords are still required to provide a property that meets electrical standards, including safe installations and appliances.)
- Evidence that the smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide alarms work. (England only.)
Also, if you have paid the landlord a deposit, they must ‘protect’ it by placing it in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. The landlord will then have to provide you with ‘prescribed information in relation to your deposit’. This must be issued within 30 days of the landlord receiving it (so will not necessarily be on your moving in day).
About the author
Christian is a barrister at a leading human rights chambers, where he regularly represents clients whose rights are at risk.
He previously worked at INQUEST and volunteered at Liberty and Nottingham Law School’s Legal Advice Clinic.
In 2018, concerned about the increasing number of people he knew being stopped and searched, he created the YouTube series ‘The Law in 60 Seconds’ to inform people of their rights and make the law accessible; those videos have now been viewed thousands of times, and been featured on BBC News, in the Guardian and the i Paper. The concept has since been turned into a book.