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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

Read the terms of your Lease

The first thing to check in relation to any rights is the express terms of the tenancy agreement. The express terms form the starting point to determine the duration of a tenancy, rights to alteration, subletting, repairs, rent increase and termination of tenancy. Where the agreement is an oral agreement this might be difficult to prove but oral terms are still valid.

However express terms cannot overwrite or exclude certain statutory provisions which are automatically implied into the tenancy agreement. The common law also provides further guidance and application. This means that the statutory provisions below apply even where the tenancy agreement claims to exclude them.

Mock-up of a tenancy agreement (Beatrice Bass)

Implied terms and obligations of the Landlord

Furnished flats, rooms or houses: The landlord has to ensure that the premises are fit for occupation at the start of the tenancy. If that is not the case the tenant has the right to rescind the tenancy agreement. The bar to what is fit for occupation does not seem to be very high and a property has to be in a very bad state in order to amount to 'unfit for occupation'. Case law has established premises as 'unfit for occupation' where they were infested by bugs, defective drains rendered them unsanitary or where an infectious disease posed a risk to the tenant or other occupiers.

Quiet enjoyment: This is an implied covenant by the landlord. It gives the tenant the right to enjoy the premises without interference or interruption from the landlord.

Right of access: The landlord has an implied right of access to the premises to carry out repairs.

Implied terms and obligations of the Tenant

Tenants will be pleased to hear that there are barely any implied duties they have to adhere to. The main one is to use the premises in a tenant-like-manner. The term tenant-like-manner was coined by Judge Denning in the 1953 case Warren v Keen. Tenants are basically expected to complete basic everyday tasks to keep the place in an orderly state, such as changing lightbulbs, changing batteries in smoke detectors, re-pressuring your combination boiler and checking that the water pressure is correct, unblocking your sinks and toilets, mowing the lawn and keeping the garden tidy where applicable.

Basically do not trash the place and apply common sense. If you hold a party and your guests start dancing on top of the furniture and break it and then someone throws the fridge out of the window - you will hopefully understand that this does not fall under tenant-like-manner!

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