What Is The Landlord And Tenant Act 1985?
Updated: May 18
When you rent out property, it’s important to know what your legal responsibilities are to both the tenant and the property. Not only will this knowledge help you avoid being sued by your tenants, but it will also make you a more efficient landlord, since you won’t have to worry about accidentally breaking the law as you rent out properties to multiple tenants over time.
Whether you’re renting out an apartment or house, one of the most important pieces of legislation that covers landlords and tenants in the UK today is The Landlord And Tenant Act 1985. So what exactly does this act say?
In short, The Landlord And Tenant Act 1985 is a piece of legislation or rule book. This rule book or law gives both landlords and tenants rights and responsibilities when it comes to renting out and living in rental properties.
What Is The Landlord And Tenant Act 1985 - The basic rules
It’s worth noting that in some areas, landlords are required to live up to different obligations than non-local landlords. Also, there may be additional local rules or regulations that deal with specific situations.
To make sure you understand all of your obligations as a landlord and tenant act 1985, consult an attorney licensed in your state—and if you’re a tenant looking for legal help in a dispute with your landlord (or any other legal matter), try searching for local attorneys on Avvo who can give you more advice based on specific details of your situation.
The main provisions of landlord and tenant act 1985 are as follows.
What are my rights and responsibilities?
This law gives both landlords and tenants rights and responsibilities to look after. The landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance.
This means that your landlord has to ensure that any repair or maintenance problems are fixed within a reasonable time frame, usually 14 days.
If your landlord doesn’t respond quickly to requests, they may not be meeting their legal obligations.
However, tenants have responsibility too; once you notify your landlord of a problem with repairs or maintenance you must allow them time to respond before taking action into your own hands, otherwise it could be considered harassment under the law.
How do I get an assured shorthold tenancy?
There are two types of tenancy agreement, Assured Shorthold and Assured. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements only started in 1988, when changes were made to Part II of The Housing Act 1988.
To qualify for an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you must have a written agreement which is then signed by both landlord and tenant, which states that it is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
You will not be able to break your lease or get out of paying rent if you’re living in a property with an AST.
You must give your landlord at least one month’s notice before moving out on or after the end date stated in your rental contract.
Lodgers - special rules for lodgings
If you are a lodger - someone living in other people's houses in return for a rent payment and not having exclusive possession of any part of it - you do not have as many rights under a tenancy agreement as other tenants.
You do, however, have important protection from eviction if your landlord wants to get rid of you, though you don't have an automatic right to stay.
Protection is afforded to all lodgers, even those who pay no rent or board. Your rights include
Assured tenancies, licences and occupancy agreements
Under Section 3 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, assured tenancies, licences and occupancy agreements can be assigned or transferred if at least two conditions are met.
Firstly, all tenants must have been given copies of a written statement by or on behalf of their landlord that outlines how they can request permission to assign.
Secondly, it must also be made clear in writing that tenants do not need to get their landlord’s permission before assigning these types of leasehold agreements.
If your lease meets these requirements, it should be possible for you to hand over your tenancy agreement with ease and without needing to worry about whether or not you’re breaking any laws in doing so.
How much notice must I give before moving out?
In most cases, tenants must give their landlord at least 28 days' notice of their intention to leave. However, there are circumstances in which a tenant is required to give fewer than 28 days' notice and others in which they are required to give more than 28 days' notice.
For example, if a lease agreement has come to an end and a tenant has chosen not to renew it but intends on staying at the premises for some time after it expires (e.g., waiting for your student loan money), that person may be required to pay rent until another renter is found.
If you move out before your fixed-term lease expires, you could find yourself owing your landlord money if you’re still liable for rent during what remains of your lease term.
Can I sublet part of my home?
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that landlords can refuse subletting if they have their own personal reasons to do so.
For example, if a landlord has recently been burgled then they may choose not to allow tenants subletting because of security issues.
A tenant’s circumstances may also be taken into account, for example, if a tenant who is working away from home often has no one living in their house then it may be deemed sensible not to allow them to rent out part of their home while they are away to make money. It is worth checking with your local council.