Private tenants

Private tenant responsibilities

When you enter an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) – the most common type – you are entering into a contractual arrangement. This gives you some important rights but also some responsibilities.

  • Before the start of your tenancy provide documents so your landlord can conduct a ‘right to rent’ check.
  • Follow the rules of your tenancy which are outlined in your assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST).
  • Pay the rent on time and in full. If you don’t, you could lose your home because you have broken your tenancy agreement.
  • Pay any other bills that you are responsible for on time, such as Council Tax and utilities including gas, electricity and water bills. Please note if you pay the gas or electricity bills, you can choose your own energy supplier, but you may need to seek your landlord’s consent. If you wish to change from monthly bills to a ‘pay as you go’ card meter, you will need to obtain your landlord’s consent to change.
  • Look after the property, including keeping the property clean and tidy, using the heating and utilities correctly and ensuring the property is well ventilated.
  • Get your landlord’s permission before attempting repairs or decorating. It’s worth getting contents insurance to cover your possessions too, because the landlord’s insurance won’t cover your things.
  • Be considerate to the neighbours. You could be evicted for anti-social behaviour if you aren’t.
  • Do not take in a lodger or sub-let without checking whether you need permission from your landlord.
  • End your tenancy properly as you may still be liable for rent and bills if you don't.

Read the government’s private renting advice

Read the government’s right to rent check user guide

You should also:

  • Make sure you know how to operate the boiler and other appliances and know where the stopcock, fuse box and any meters are located.
  • Regularly test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – at least once a month – and replace batteries when required.
  • Report any need for repairs to your landlord. There will be a risk to your deposit if a minor repair turns into a major problem because you did not report it.
  • And don’t forget to register to vote.