When you rent a flat or a house in London, you also need to pay a deposit, this will be returned upon departure. Deposits must be placed to a protected account by the landlord. Learn your rights and responsibilities as a tenant as well as those of your landlord.
Contract and Deposit
Before moving into a privately rented property, you will sign an Assured Short-hold Tenancy Contract with the landlord. The contract should include the price of the rent, the amount of the deposit you paid, who is responsible for repairs/maintenance, how long the tenancy will last and the notice period.
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After signing the contract you are committed to pay the rent for the length of your contract, which is usually 6 or 12 months.
A deposit amount can be between one to six weeks worth of rent. Your deposit should be returned upon leaving the property and according to your tenancy agreement. At the end of your tenancy, if the landlord finds that you damaged the property or didn’t pay the rent in full, then they can make deductions from the tenancy deposit.
After taking the deposit from you, the landlord should protect it within 30 days. This should be with either an insurance scheme or a custodial scheme. Your Landlord or Letting Agent must give you a copy of the deposit protection certificate within 30 days of paying your deposit.
Available tenancy deposit schemes are:
Deposit Protection Service Custodial and Insured Tel: 0330 303 0030
MyDeposits (Capita)Tel: 0844 980 0290
Tenancy Deposit Scheme email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0845 226 7837
Within 30 days of the receipt of the deposit, the Landlord or the Letting Agency should inform you as a tenant of the following:
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- How much deposit you paid
- Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme details, where your deposit is placed.
- Landlord’s and the letting agency’s name and address.
- How to get your deposit back.
Your deposit on TDP account is guaranteed to be returned within 10 days, provided
You have respected the lease
You did not cause damage to the house
You paid the rent and bills.
What to do if your landlord doesn’t protect your deposit
If you do not think your deposit has been placed on a TDP account or you have not received information from the Landlord or Letting Agent within 30 days, contact the above listed companies for advice or contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or your Local County Court.
Your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
Your rights as a tenant are:
- To live in a safe property that is in good condition
- To have your deposit protected and returned to you after your tenancy ends
- To know who your landlord is ( You can write to the company or person that you are renting from if you do not know who your landlord is)
- To be able to live in the property without being disturbed
- To be able to see an Energy Performance Certificate regarding the property
- To be protected from unfair rent and unfair eviction
- To have a written agreement if you have a fixed term tenancy and to have a fair tenancy agreement that follows the law.
Your responsibilities as a tenant are:
- To look after the property well
- To pay the required rent
- To pay any bills that you agreed with the landlord (Council tax, Utility bills)
- To pay for any damage caused by you or friends and family
- To sublet the property only if your landlord or the tenancy agreement allows it
- To give your landlord access to the property if they want to inspect it or for repair
Your landlord has the right to take legal action against you if you don’t meet the responsibilities.
Responsibilities of the owner/landlord
- To keep the property protected against health hazards
- To make sure all electric and gas equipment is safely fitted and maintained
- To be able to give you an Energy Performance Certificate regarding the property
- To fit, test and maintain fire alarms, provide fire resistant furniture.
- Plumbing related repairs and maintenance of the property
- To protect your deposit
To make a complaint, contact your local Council Environmental Health Department.
House in Multiple Occupation
A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is when a property is lived in by at least 3 different people who are not related. The occupants share facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom. Known as a house/flat share.
A property should be licensed by the local council and classed as a Large HMO if it is at least 3 floors high and it has 5 or more unrelated people or 2 or more separate households living within it.
Overcrowding in a house or apartment in London
The Landlord’s responsibility is to make sure the property doesn’t become overcrowded. The amount of people that can live in a property depends on how many bedrooms there are and shared kitchen, bathrooms. 1 kitchen and 1 bathroom can only be shared by maximum of 5 people. If more than 5 people live in the property there should be more kitchens and bathrooms facilities provided.
Generally, the rule is:
- 1 room = 2 people
- 2 rooms = 3 people
- 3 rooms = 5 people
- 4 rooms = 7.5 people
- 5 or more rooms = 2 people per room
- Children under 12 are considered to be a half
The size of the room determines how many people can stay in it:
- 10.2 m2 (square meters) = 2 people
- 8.3 – 10.2 m2 = 1 adult and 1 child
- 6.5 – 8.4 m2 = 1 person
- 4.6 – 6.5 m2 = 1 child