Within your tenancy agreement there are a number of responsibilities that you take on and that you agree to with your landlord or agent. These will reflect the basic principles and your legal rights within law.
Your responsibilities, in brief:
Rent and deposit
- You have to pay rent on time to your landlord to live in the property. How much you pay, when and by what method should be agreed in writing before you move in. Not paying rent is grounds for a landlord to take steps to ask you to leave. You must not sublet or take in a lodger to help with rent without first asking permission, unless your contract allows for this.
- Do not withhold your rent for any reason, even if you think your landlord or agent is not keeping to the tenancy agreement or infringing on your rights. If you have a problem with your landlord or agent get in touch with the Guild or Birmingham City Council.
- Deductions from your deposit can be made for damage caused to the property or items included within the tenancy agreement (excluding normal wear and tear), cleaning costs, key replacement and outstanding rent. Disputes with your landlord can be settled via the tenancy deposit scheme your deposit is being held.
Right to privacy/landlord or agent access to your home
- Your landlord or agent cannot just drop in as and when they wish or carry out repairs on the property without making prior arrangements with you. However you need to be flexible and be prepared to allow them to enter the property for repairs, maintenance or showing prospective tenants round at a reasonable time when at least 24 hours notice is given.
Repairs and maintenance
Your landlord or agent is not responsible for undertaking improvements to your home, unless they have been agreed and added to your tenancy agreement
- Improvements which you wish to make such as adding or changing internal locks, for example, should be checked with your landlord or agent
- Tenants are responsible for day to day maintenance issues, such as changing light bulbs or unblocking sinks
- It is your responsibility to inform your landlord if any repairs are required and to report dangerous faults or appliances. Do this in writing and keep a copy.
- You are responsible for taking care of the property and using it in a responsible way. The house and its contents should be returned the your landlord and agent in the same reasonable condition (with consideration for normal wear and tear) at the end of your tenancy as you took on at the beginning.
- You are responsible for maintaining your front and back gardens, once your tenancy has started. Please make sure that your landlord or agent have cleared the gardens before you move in.
- Utilities including gas, water, electric, internet/phone and TV license – Unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement you are responsible for paying these with your housemates. Please remember that if there is a separate tenancy agreement for each room in the house a separate TV License is also required. Check the meters when you move in so that you know how much you are liable for when the first bills start coming in.
- Council Tax – Properties with only full time students are exempt from paying council tax. It is, however, your responsibility to supply copies of all your exemption certificates to the council. If there is a non-student living in the house, please seek further advice. You can find out more about Council Tax via Birmingham City Council.
More detailed information, advice and guidance can be found via the Guild of Students Advice & Resource Centre (ARC) and Community Wardens.
To make a complaint
When problems arise, keep a written record with dates. Make attempts to discuss the problems with your landlord or agent and if they fail to respond put your concerns in writing to them explaining the problem(s) clearly, what you want to happen and by when. All letters to the landlord or agent should be dated, signed by all tenants (where applicable), posted by recorded delivery and a copy should be kept for your own records. If your issue remains unresolved you should contact the Guild of Students:
- Community Wardens – for a home visit, advice and useful contacts
- Advice and Resource Centre (ARC) – for on-line service, drop-in surgeries and one to one appointments
Living in the community – anti-social behaviour and nuisance
You are becoming part of the community when you rent and it is important that you consider your fellow
tenants & neighbours by behaving in a reasonable way, not causing nuisance or annoyance to others. Remember to be responsible with noise, rubbish, safety.
- Anti-social behaviour and noise – all residents have the right to privacy and living in their homes and neighbourhoods free from nuisance. Within student areas this particularly applies to noise caused by loud music or loud shouting and parties. You are responsible for your behaviour, your household’s behaviour and that of your visitors. This is in your tenancy agreement and defined in law and failure to abide to these conditions can lead to anything from warning about conduct to fines, seizure of speakers and other electrical equipment, injunctions (punishable via prison sentence) to eviction. You can find more details via the anti-social behaviour and nuisance page.
- Rubbish and recycling – you are responsible for keeping your property clear of rubbish both inside and outside in the gardens. As well as impacting on the condition of the property failure to do this properly also contributes to pest control problems. It is your responsibility to make sure that your rubbish and recycling is put out on the right day in the right place for collection from Birmingham City Council. You can find more details via the rubbish and recycling pages.
You should try and get to know your neighbours. This can help with keeping your home safe and secure, as well as helping out on rubbish/recycling days and avoiding any unnecessary conflict from noise or parties.