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Many young people fear they are doomed to a lifetime in the rental market. A Bloomberg article refers sarcastically to the way in which younger people fund landlords’ retirement plans in the US. With over 2 million buy-to-let landlords in the UK, and a whole generation unable to afford a mortgage, the same is arguably true on this side of the Atlantic.

According to PwC, nearly half of those aged between 21 and 39 will still be renting in the year 2025. This might be easier to accept were it not for unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of their position…

Problem landlords

As house prices rise, many landlords seem to ignore their tenants’ rights and penny pinch in many different ways. From housing deposit scams, to unsafe electrics and filthy bathrooms, the list is seemingly endless.

A Financial Times online article refers to the types of problem landlords’ tenants can encounter. One of these is ‘the Tightwad’, this type of landlord is no trouble until you leave the property, at this point, they “accuse you of doing unspeakable damage” and refuse to hand back your deposit.

Data from Open Property Group backs this up. 50% of tenants said they lived in unsatisfactory conditions. Meanwhile 62% of millennials had trouble getting their deposits back at the end of their tenancies. The data also shows that 54% of tenants were the victims of unfair eviction.

Know your rights

Anyone who rents a property, whether sitting tenants or short-term occupants, has rights. The law states that all rental properties must be safe and in a good state of repair. Tenants should expect prompt repairs and maintenance. They also have the right to know who their landlord is, and should also be able to contact him or her when the need arises.

All gas and electrical systems should meet the relevant safety standards. As a result, it must be subject to gas safety checks by a qualified professional once a year. The landlord must provide a copy of the gas safety certificate before the tenants move in, or within 28 days of the checks taking place.

The law states that tenants should be able to enjoy their time in the property without unsolicited visits from their landlord. If a landlord wants access to the property, he or she must give the tenant 24 hours’ notice before entry.

A landlord must also provide at least 30 days’ notice (in writing) if he or she does not want to continue the tenancy after the initial term ends. You have the right to challenge unduly high charges for cleaning and repairs, or unfair rent increases.

Your landlord cannot evict you before the end of the agreement without due cause. He or she can legally evict you without a court order if rent is more than eight weeks in arrears, or if you are convicted of anti-social behaviour.

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