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Estate Agents in Liverpool and Runcorn | Letting Agents in Liverpool and Runcorn - Tyrer & Hart Property Specialists

LIVING IN A HOUSE-SHARE

YOUR RIGHTS

There’s an important distinction between renting from a live in landlord, and renting in a 'normal flatshare', from a landlord who doesn't live in the property. So let’s take an in-depth look at how your rights differ depending on whether you’re a lodger or a tenant.

Rights of lodgers living in a property with their landlord

When you rent a spare room from a live in landlord, you're legally not a tenant, but a lodger or an 'excluded occupier'. This is an important distinction and has implications on the contract between you and your landlord, and on your rights.

Because the flat or house is the landlord's main place of residence, the balance of rights is in their favour. Any contract you sign with this kind of landlord will not be an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy - normally with a 6 month break clause and 2 months notice required for a landlord to evict a tenant) but a licence. 

A live in landlord only needs to give 'reasonable notice' to ask a lodger to leave. This is normally 28 days but could be shorter. We recommend lodgers and their landlords to sign a written agreement, which sets out the conditions of your 'licence' (remember it's not a tenancy), as well as agreeing a set of house rules up front before you move in.

Whereas a tenant 'owns' the space they rent during the period of their lease, if you become a lodger, you don't have the right to exclude your landlord from the room you're renting. So, as a lodger, you won't be able to put a lock on the door to your room to keep them out, although they must respect your privacy at all times. What does this mean in practice? They have the right to come into your room, but should always ask in advance, and give you the chance to say no.

What’s more, the landlord may have the right to move you to a different room in the property, if necessary. For instance take the scenario in which Auntie Sarah comes over from Canada for 6 weeks – as the lodger you could be asked to vacate your room and move to another spare bedroom to make room for her, for the period of her stay. As a lodger, you can negotiate, but you don’t have any legal rights to back up your argument.

Having said all of this, there’s unprecedented demand for shared accommodation in the UK, and not enough housing to meet demand. Rooms advertised by live in landlords form a large proportion of what is available, and can often be great value if you don't want to compromise on location or comfort. Many of the lodgers and landlords we hear from share homes happily and often for many years at a time. As with any flatshare, it's important that you meet in person and find out if your lifestyles and habits are compatible before committing to living together.

Rights of tenants living in a flatshare, managed by an agency.

You should expect to have a contract, normally an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) which is the default agreement nowadays. This gives you full rights to remain in the property until the end of your contract, or after a notice period. It’s normally easier for you to give notice, as the tenant, than the landlord (often you can give one month’s notice, whereas the landlord is required to give two). So crucially, you have greater security of tenure as a tenant than as a lodger.

As a tenant, you own the space you’re renting, for the period of your rental, and have the right to exclude the landlord from that space. If he or she or their contractors need access to do maintenance, they will have to give you notice of at least 24 hours and make arrangements agreed with you, as to when they will access the property. Of course, if it’s an emergency, there shouldn’t be much debate about giving access to stop a water leak, for example. Don’t try to repair any serious problems yourself – you could make the matter worse and becoming liable for more expensive repair work. However it’s reasonable to expect tenants to change their own light bulbs or unblock a sink.

You have the right, as an assured shorthold tenant, to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. Your landlord can’t interfere with your right to live in your home, for example by cutting off the utilities. If he or she tries to do this, they may be guilty of harassment, which is against the law.

Along with rights come responsibilities. These include looking after the property and making sure it remains in a habitable state. When you live in a flatshare, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of who else is coming or going in the property, but you should be wary of your flatmates allowing others to live there, who are not on the tenancy agreement. This type of loose arrangement can not only cause arguments and distress, but also affect you financially and be detrimental to your safety.

TOP TIPS FOR LIVING IN A HOUSE-SHARE

UNDERSTAND YOUR RENTAL CONTRACT

It’s really important you pay attention to any special conditions or important dates in your contract e.g. penalties for late rent, scheduled house inspections and expected cleaning

ANY QUERIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO INFO@TYRERANDHART.COM

MAKE SURE YOUR DEPOSIT IS PROTECTED

In April 2007 the Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into force – this means that your landlord cannot unfairly withhold your deposit. They must justify any amount of your deposit they

TYRER AND HART PROTECT ALL DEPOSITS TAKEN WITH THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION SERVICE.

KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN

This sounds like an obvious tip but keeping on top of cleaning will ensure the landlord and your housemates are happy. Pull together a cleaning rota so that everyone shares responsibility for the communal areas of the house – housemates should take care of their own rooms. Put the rota on the fridge so everyone can see it!

IF ALL HOUSEMATES AGREE TYRER AND HART CAN ARRANGE FOR A CLEANER TO COME AND LOOK AFTER THE COMMUNAL AREAS ON A WEEKLY BASIS. MOST HOUSESHARES TAKE 1 OR 2 HOURS A WEEK TO CLEAN ALL OF THE COMUNAL AREAS AT A COST OF JUST £13 PER HOUR – DIVIDED BETWEEN ALL TENANTS THIS CAN BE A WISE INVESTMENT FOR A VERY LOW COST.

PUT THE RUBBISH OUT

Make sure you find out when the bins and recycling are collected – ask neighbours, your landlord or search online. Check what time bins need to be by the roadside, and make a note to put them out the night before on the weekly cleaning rota. Utilise these services regularly to prevent rubbish building up at the house – which could develop nasty smells, mould and unwanted pests!

FOR HOUSE SHARES IN LIVERPOOL FOLLOW THIS LINK TO FIND OUT YOUR BIN COLLECTION DATES…

ENSURE THE PROPERTY IS KEPT VENTILATED

Keep the property well ventilated as this will prevent damp and mould developing. In the bathroom use extractor fans if you have them, or open the window slightly after a bath bathroom use extractor fans if you have them, or open the window slightly after a bath or shower. Always make sure you close any open windows before you leave the property.

When it’s cold or damp use the heating to reduce the risk of damp or mould developing.

TYRER & HART HAVE LEAFLETS AVAILABLE ON PREVENTING DAMP AND MOULD JUST ASK IN THE OFFICE OR WE CAN POST ONE OUT TO YOU ON REQUEST FREE OF CHARGE.

REPORT ANY REPAIRS

As soon as a problem starts to arise e.g. dripping taps, leaky pipes, heating and water problems – notify your landlord or letting agent immediately. Make sure the problem is recorded and action is taken as soon as possible. This will prevent further damage as well as any potential disputes regarding your contract (and getting your deposit back). Be aware that the cost for any damage in communal areas by an individual e.g. an iron burn on the carpet, will have to be split equally amongst all housemates unless the responsible individual owns up.

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE ISSUES NEED TO BE FORWARDED TO TYRER AND HART IN WRITING. THE EMAIL ADDRESS INFO@TYRERANDHART.COM CAN BE USED OR REPAIRS CAN BE REPORTED DIRECT FROM THIS WEBSITE USING THE CONTACT FORMOR CONTACT US PAGE.

WHEN LEAVING RETURN YOUR KEY TO THE LANDLORD OR AGENT AND ENSURE YOUR ROOM IS LEFT AS IT WAS AT THE START OF YOUR TENANCY.

EACH TENANT WILL RECEIVE ONE FULL SET OF KEYS, WHICH MUST BE RETURNED TO TYRER & HART AT THE END OF THE TENANCY. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD LOCKS BE CHANGED OR ADDITIONAL LOCKS ADDED WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS MAY RESULT IN ADDITIONAL COSTS TO YOU, AND YOU CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR RENT UNTIL THE KEYS ARE RETURNED. ALL KEYS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE OFFICE AT 166-168 PRESCOT ROAD, KENSINGTON LIVERPOOL L7 0JD ON OR BEFORE 12 NOON ON THE LAST DAY OF YOUR AGREEMENT.

Tyrer & Hart Property Specialists

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