1. ITV Report

What are your rental rights and what can you do if you have a problem landlord?

  • By Joanna Partridge, ITV News Business Producer

Many young people in Britain today belong to Generation Rent.

Only 20% of Brits in their twenties now own their own homes.

With many people expecting to rent for longer, it’s important to know where you stand - especially with criminal landlords still in operation.

Renters in the UK aren’t as well protected as they are in other countries. But some rights are set out in law.

What are your main rental rights?

Knowing your rights as a tenant is vital before you sign a contract. Credit: PA
  • The right to live in a safe property in a good state of repair. I.e. with an acceptable kitchen and bathroom, and no safety hazards.
  • The right to know who your landlord is.
  • The right to be protected from unfair evictions and unfair rent.
  • The right to get your deposit back when the tenancy ends.

What can you do if you have a problem landlord?

These are the kinds of horrendous conditions tenants have experienced, an ITV News and Guardian has found. Credit: ITV News

An ITV News/Guardian investigation into landlords and the private rented sector in England and Wales found one in seven councils had failed to prosecute any bad landlords in the last three years.

But you don’t have to put up with problems like damp, or broken heating, or bullying from a landlord.

If something goes wrong you shouldn’t be put off telling the landlord.

If you don’t get an adequate response you need to report it to the local council.

There are also lots of organisations who offer advice to renters, led by the Citizens Advice Bureau and Shelter.

Can landlords force you to pay higher rent or withold your deposit?

Landlords cannot take more of your hard-earned pennies without your consent. Credit: PA

Landlords also can’t just decide to put the rent up and then send you a letter.

They can only increase rent if you sign a new contract agreeing to it.

Since 2007 landlords have been legally obliged to put tenants’ deposits in a deposit protection scheme.

Wear and tear to the property is also allowed.

Landlords can only keep some of your deposit if there is serious damage to the property.

Are renters protected from eviction?

Police and a council enforcement officer conduct a raid at a property in east London. Credit: PA

It’s a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order.

Just sending a letter of notice to leave isn’t enough.

Legally, landlords have to give at least two months’ notice.

Unfortunately as our investigation has shown, there are some bad landlords out there.

That’s why it’s so important to know your rights and where to turn if things do go wrong.