Your tenancy agreement is a legal document. It gives you legal rights but it also gives you responsibilities that you need to be aware of. As always, there are consequences to breaking the terms of a legal agreement and sometimes student tenancies are trickily worded to make it all too easy to accidentally fall foul of their contents. Your first step is always to read your tenancy agreement and see exactly what it says about your responsibilities and what will happen if you don’t meet them. Below, we have covered a few of the most common breaches and consequences (but read your own tenancy to see if they apply to you).
Not paying rent.
If you pay your rent late then you can expect a fee to pay if the rent is more than a certain number of days late. If you don’t pay the rent at all then the landlord could start eviction proceedings against you and take you to court for the rent owed until the end of the contract.
If your tenancy prohibits smoking and you go ahead and light up then you’re giving the landlord a reason to get rid of you. In most cases, tenancies will allow the landlord to remove you and get you to pay for any smoke damage.
Making too much noise
Depending on the circumstances, if the neighbours complain enough then the landlord can start eviction proceedings against you on the basis of a breach of tenancy. You might also find yourself the subject of action from the local council too.
Not telling the landlord when repairs are needed
Your tenancy normally requires you to notify the landlord or agent of problems. If you don’t and the problem gets worse then you may end up having to pay for any damage that is caused as a result.
Not letting the landlord or agent in
You must be given 24 hours notice of any visits and you can refuse to consent to a visit you’ve been notified of. However, that also has to be balanced with the landlord’s right to enter to inspect the property and do repairs. If you repeatedly refuse access then the landlord can’t force their way in. However, they could go to court to obtain an injunction or they could simply start eviction proceedings, depending on the tenancy.
Wrecking the property
Yes, we all know that students love to party but if you’re partying so hard that you’ve turned the landlord’s property into a bomb site then there will be consequences. Normally, for serious damage, you will lose some or all of your deposit. If you’ve caused so much damage that the deposit doesn’t cover it then the landlord can make a claim against you in court for the rest.
Walking away at the end of the tenancy
You must give notice before you leave or you will remain liable for the rent. You’ll also find it much easier to get your deposit back if you’re involved in the check out inventory and take your own photos and notes. Remember that you must return the keys or you could find yourself paying to get the locks changed. Basically, end your tenancy properly or the responsibilities that you have as a result of signing it won’t end. Ending tenancy on a good note also helps you when you look for a place to live after your student life.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our All advice category.
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