Understanding your tenancy agreement – a guide for tenants in the London housing market

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  • 1 in 7 tenants break the rules of their tenancy
  • Many tenants are unaware of their obligations when renting a property

When tenants rent a property from an estate agent in London, or indeed anywhere else in the country, they often fail to look at the small print in their tenancy agreement. However, paying close attention to their responsibilities and obligations could help them to avoid falling foul of breaches in their contract which could lead to penalties and even to a potential eviction.

Checking the small print when you rent property in London

Our estate agents at the Henry Wiltshire Hayes office remind tenants of the importance of reading their tenancy agreement thoroughly before they sign on the dotted line. “Although the majority of tenants follow the rules, which is good news for landlordsothers breach the terms of their contract simply because they are unaware of the restrictions in their agreement. While most tenants would never dream of deliberately breaking the rules of their tenancy, ignorance of their obligations often leads to accidental breaches.”

A guide to the most common tenancy agreement breaches

The most common breaches in tenancy agreements vary considerably from severe issues such as non-payment of rent to minor misdemeanours, for example failing to check the smoke alarms. The ten most common ways in which tenants break the rules of their contract include:

Reading the tenancy agreement thoroughly is essential, otherwise you risk unwittingly breach the terms of the contract.
  • Failure to pay the rent
  • Smoking inside the property
  • Having a pet on the premises
  • Damaging or altering the property
  • Changing the door locks
  • Causing a disturbance to neighbours
  • Subletting a room or the entire property without letting the landlord know
  • Failure to clean the windows
  • Redecorating without the landlord’s permission
  • Failure to check the carbon monoxide or smoke alarm

Although the majority of tenants are aware that failing to pay their rent, causing damage to the property or changing the locks are likely to result in them being penalised, it often comes as a surprise to those who rent property in Hayes that they are expected to regularly clean all of their accessible windows and check their carbon monoxide alarm on a weekly basis. Many tenants in HMOs are unaware that they are forbidden from smoking in common areas even if they are permitted to smoke in their own rooms, and tenants who have listed their sofa as an Airbnb destination may be shocked to discover that this way to try to make a little extra income could result in an eviction.

What should tenants know when they rent property in London?

For anyone who is renting in London, going through the tenancy agreement with a fine toothed comb is essential. Tenants need to be fully aware of all of the obligations and requirements they need to adhere to. Even if a breach of the contract does not result in anything as severe as an eviction, it could end up with the tenant being given a negative reference which could make it more difficult for them to find another home at a later date.

Buy, Sell and Rent Property in Hayes

Our team are experts in the Hayes rental market, and are ready to answer any questions you may have about your tenancy agreement. To buy, sell or rent property in UB3, contact the Henry Wiltshire Hayes team on 020 3696 5626 or by email at hayes@henrywiltshire.com.

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