Rights and responsibilities in an AST
You need to know who is responsible for what.
Your landlord is responsible for:
- Keeping in good repair the structure and exterior of the house, including drains, gutters, and external pipes.
- Keeping in good repair and proper working order, the installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences), and for heating rooms and heating water.
- Undertaking repairs within a reasonable period. What constitutes as reasonable will depend on the nature of the repair.
- Giving you at least 24 hours’ notice to enter the property.
- Providing you with a copy of the valid current Gas Safety Certificate.
- Making sure furniture he/she supplied meets relevant safety regulations. (See Staying safe section).
- Protecting your deposit within 30 days of receiving it and giving you the ‘prescribed information’. (See Deposits section).
- Providing an up to date copy of the ‘How to Rent’ booklet
- Providing a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will affect your bills as higher ratings lead to lower bills.
- Anything else you may have agreed in the contract.
As a tenant you have the right to:
- The name, address and contact details of the landlord.
- Stay in the property until the contract ends.
- Exclusive possession and your landlord should not disturb your right to quiet enjoyment.
- Your deposit being protected.
- Have certain repairs completed for you.
- Evidence that the property meets necessary safety standards (e.g. up to date gas safety certificate/HMO licence/electrical safety certificates as appropriate).
- Have the property in a habitable state.
Most terms in the contract are likely to be legally binding and if you are in breach of an obligation your landlord may be able to take legal action against you. Some terms, however, will not be legally binding. For example, a term requiring the tenant to repair or replace all broken glass in windows is void, because Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides this is the landlord responsibility, unless the damage was caused by the tenant or the tenants’ guest(s).
If you are in any doubt, seek advice from the Student Advice and Support Service.
As a tenant you are responsible for:
- Providing the relevant documents such as your passport or BRP card to prove you have a Right to Rent. (See Right to Rent section).
- Paying rent on time
- Using the premises as a private dwelling and not for business purposes
- Acting in a ‘tenant-like manner’. (See Living in the property section).
- Taking reasonable steps to prevent the water pipes from freezing – if you leave the property unoccupied during cold weather keep the heating on low (e.g. over Christmas).
- Securing the property when you go away – lock all doors and windows.
- Informing the Council of your student status for council tax purposes.
- Your household and any visitors.
- Take care of the contents that have been provided.
- Reporting any repairs you need in writing immediately, email is acceptable. Keep a copy though.
- Informing the landlord immediately if you break or damage anything.
- Asking your landlord/agent’s permission when necessary (e.g. hanging pictures, painting walls).
- Ending the tenancy as outlined in the contract.
- Keeping to the terms and conditions of the contract and anything else you have agreed in the contract.
Right to rent
Landlords/letting agents are required to check their tenants’ immigration status before granting a tenancy agreement, to make sure that the tenant has a ‘right to rent’ in the UK.
You have a right to rent if:
- You are a British or Irish citizen; or
- You have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or
- You have a visa to be in the UK, for example a Student/Tier 4 visa or a short-term student visa; or
- The Home Office has given you a time-limited permission to rent.
You have no right to rent if you are in the UK illegally, or have over-stayed.
Document checks should be undertaken by the landlord/letting agent before the start of the tenancy and if your permission has a time limit, the landlord/letting agent must do a follow-up check after 12 months, or when your permission ends if this is sooner.
Typical documents that a landlord/letting agent can check include a passport, residence permit or a Biometric Residence card. Landlords/letting agents will need to make copies of documents and retain them for their records. They should not keep the original.
If you do not have a physical document, and have a share code instead, you can give the share code to the landlord/ letting agent to check your right to rent online here https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-rent
If you do not have your BRP or a share code, you can ask the landlord to check directly with the Home Office. The landlord can do this online here https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/lcs-application.ofml?_ga=2.111667340.924278881.1623663701-831146383.1609233999
You will not be subject to a right to rent check if you live in a student halls of residence or other accommodation provided by the University.
If you have any concerns about the right to rent check please contact the Student Advice and Support Service.
Some landlords/agents require students to provide a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who will guarantee to pay your rent if you fail to do so.
Typically, landlords/agents expect the guarantor to be based in the UK.
If you are an international student then a parent who is abroad is unlikely to be accepted. If you are unable to find someone the landlord/letting agent may ask for rent in advance or a larger deposit.
If you are required to provide a guarantor, we recommend:
- You limit your liability by ensuring the guarantor’s agreement sets out the name of the person whose rent is being guaranteed, the start and end date the agreement applies, and the amount guaranteed rather than a general commitment to pay the outstanding rent.
- You and the guarantor read the tenancy agreement and the guarantor agreement before signing.
You can also read about the rights and responsibilities of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in the following extract from our “Guide to living off campus” (click on the image below).