Rights and Responsibly of Tenants in Supported Accommodation on a License Agreement.
What are my Responsibilities as a Tenant?
Young tenants’ responsibilities are as follows:
- not leaving your home for a lengthy period (for example because of a hospital stay or time spent in custody) without informing the landlord. Some licences will specify that you have to stay for a certain number of nights per week.
- paying the agreed rent on time even if repairs are needed or you are in dispute with the landlord - arrears can lead to eviction
- paying bills
- general upkeep of the home (but not larger repairs and maintenance- the landlord is responsible for these)
- not acting in an anti-social manner - this can lead to eviction
- giving the landlord the correct notice to properly end a tenancy- failure to do this could mean the young person owes extra money
- allowing the landlord access when necessary, for example for repairs and maintenance. However, landlords are not allowed unreasonable access unless agreed in the licenece.
- taking good care of the property (including a garden if you have one)
- keeping the property safe by locking doors/windows.
- paying charges as agreed with the landlord in your tenancy agreement, for example, utility bills or council tax.
- repairing or paying for any damage that you have caused (and making sure to report bigger repairs that are needed to your landlord)
- allowing the landlord access if repairs need to be made (the landlord must give you at least 48 hours in advance if you have a private residential tenancy unless it's an emergency or they need to assess the work that needs to be done)
- informing your landlord in writing if you have other people living with you in the property
- making sure the property will be secure and not damaged if you are going to be a way (e.g. by locking up properly and making sure the water pipes don’t freeze and break in winter)
What Are My Rights as a Tenant?
Your basic rights include:
- the right to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state.
- that your landlord should not enter the property without your consent, except in an emergency.
- receiving your deposit back when your tenancy ends, unless there’s a good reason for the landlord to keep some of it (e.g. if you have damaged the property or not paid your rent). Your deposit can be no more than two months' rent.
- being able to challenge any charges you deem to be excessively high.
- to not be treated unfairly because of your disability, gender, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation
- not having to pay any additional fees.
Extra rights you have a Private Residential Tenancy (tenancy starting on or after 1 December 2017)
- being informed of any rent increases three months in advance.
- being given at least 28 days’ notice of eviction if you have been living in the apartment less than six months, and 84 days’ notice if you have been there longer and you’re not at fault (if you have a private residential tenancy).
Tenancies for Minors
Minors have a limited capacity to enter into a legally binding contract unless the contract is for 'necessaries' (ie things that are required for daily subsistence). Accommodation is generally assumed to be a 'necessary'. A contract relating to the provision of accommodation to a young person under the age of 18, but with sufficient capacity, will be binding on her/him.
Ways in which landlords can let to minors:
A landlord can grant occupation rights to minors in one of the following ways:
1. Grant of tenancy to a third party on trust for the minor:
Although a minor cannot hold a tenancy s/he can 'benefit' from a tenancy. The tenancy can be granted to a third party, a 'trustee', and held on trust for the minor until s/he reaches the age of 18. The minor has a beneficial interest, which means s/he has the right to live in the property. The trustee will hold the legal title to the tenancy.
2. Landlord holds the tenancy on trust for the minor
The landlord can retain the tenancy on trust (as above) for the minor until s/he reaches 18. However, this will cause problems in the event of the landlord wishing to seek possession, because
the landlord cannot serve notice on her/himself.
3. Grant of a joint tenancy
If there is a person aged 18 or over who is willing to enter into a tenancy agreement with the minor, a joint tenancy can be created. The adult tenant will hold the legal estate as trustee for both joint tenants (as above). An agreement between all parties (ie including the landlord) could be drawn up to say that a sole tenancy will be granted to the minor when s/he reaches 18 years old, at which time the joint tenancy will be surrendered.
4.Benefits for Young People
If you are renting or thinking of renting accommodation and are finding it difficult to pay rent, you may qualify for Housing Benefits.
- You must be paying under a commercial agreement. Cannot get Housing Benefits if you live with your landlord and they are a close relative such as your parents.
- Whether you qualify for Housing Benefits will depend on your income and circumstances. You could still claim even if you’re working full time.
- As a young person, you will probably find that your Housing Benefit is restricted to the cost of liking in accommodation with shared facilities.
- There is no minimum age limit to claim housing benefits, but you must be able to show you have a legal liability to pay rent.