Frequently Asked Questions

Are tenancy deposits protected?
From April 2007 all tenancy deposits on Assured Shorthold Tenancies have to be placed in a government authorised protection scheme. The landlord should provide a Deposit Protection Certificate (DPC) to the tenant within 30 days

It will be difficult for the landlord to evict the tenants if s/he has not protected the deposit. The Court can order the landlord to pay up to three times the amount of the deposit.

What happens if the tenant damages the property?
Before any tenants move in, the landlord should take an inventory of the property in order to have up to date details of its contents and condition. If the tenants damage the property they should pay for the repairs or replacements as required. If the tenants fail to meet the cost of the damage, the landlord can take this from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

The landlord should however take general wear and tear into account.

What responsibilities does the landlord have?
The landlord is responsible for the following;

  • That the property is fit for habitation
  • Repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and water systems and sanitary wear
  • Safety of gas and electrical appliances
  • Fire safety of furniture and furnishings
  • Maintenance of any common areas

The tenant should allow the landlord reasonable access so s/he can carry out any maintenance and repairs to the property.

What responsibilities does the tenant have?
The tenant is responsible for the following;

  • Paying bills, such as council tax and water and sewerage charges
  • Paying rent
  • Keeping within the terms of the tenancy agreement
  • Using the property in a responsible way
  • Taking proper care of the property
  • Right to quiet enjoyment of the property
The tenant has moved out and left their belongings in the property so can the landlord dispose of them?
Any belongings left behind by a tenant still belong to the tenant. If the landlord disposes of the tenant’s belongings the tenant may bring a legal action against the landlord.

The first thing the landlord should do is try to contact the tenant and request that they collect their belongings. If the landlord is unable to contact the tenant, s/he will be able to dispose of the belongings, as long as s/he can show that s/he made reasonable efforts to find the tenant.

The landlord may charge the tenant for clearing out any belongings from the property. If the landlord sells the belongings the proceeds strictly belong to the tenant, however the landlord may use it to make deductions from any rent arrears.

How can a landlord evict a tenant?
The landlord must follow strict procedures depending on the type of tenancy agreement. Generally the landlord must serve a Notice on the tenant; if the tenant does not leave the property, the landlord can apply to the Court for a Possession Order. This will give the landlord a right to evict the tenant and take back possession of the property.

Landlords should seek legal advice before evicting any tenants, to ensure that they follow the correct Notice and procedure for the tenancy agreement.