COVID-19 - how it affects renting

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Tenants rights

Note: due to the effects of COVID-19, some of the information on this page might not currently apply.

(Note: these rights don’t apply to lodgers).

Tenancy Agreements

You’ll have a contract – usually an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy), which entitles you to stay in the property until the end of the contract and have full rights while you’re there. Being a tenant means it’s easier to give notice to leave the tenancy early – usually a month’s notice – whereas landlords have to give two months notice if they want you to leave.



For as long as you’re renting a property, you own the space – so you can exclude your landlord (or their contractors) from coming in. If they need access for any reason, they should give you at least 24 hours notice.

But if it’s an emergency it’s probably best to drop this rule and give access right away – having a water leak fixed for you is better than having to do it yourself and potentially making the issue worse…

Living in rented accommodation gives you a right not to be disturbed, so your landlord can’t interfere with these rights.

Your responsibilities

You’ve basically just got to look after the property – including decorations, furniture and appliances. Do the basics: replace light bulbs, check smoke alarms, take your rubbish out and keep the place heated properly, and keep on top of the rent and bills (obviously). If you have a garden you may be responsible for its upkeep.

If you're falling behind on payments, there's free advice from Shelter here.

For more info on your rights as a tenant, use Shelter’s tenancy rights checker.



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