sitting tenantThe Rent Act of 1977 made sure that sitting tenants, who signed their contract before 15 January 1989, have the uninterrupted right of tenure. Although sitting tenants enjoy a lot of protection, there are also responsibilities that they have to adhere to if they don’t want to invalidate their tenancy.

A tenants rights
A sitting tenant has the right to occupy a property for life without being disturbed and should a sitting tenant die, they are allowed to pass on the tenancy to a spouse or another family member. Even if the property changes its owners, it’s almost impossible to evict these tenants as their rights and responsibilities don’t change.

As part of the tenants’ rights, the landlord has to keep the sitting tenant’s property in good external working order. Sometimes landlords try to ignore this fact due to the lower amount of rent being paid, however it is vital you ensure landlords stick to their side of the tenancy agreement. If needed instruct either the local housing association or your solicitor. They also needs to provide amenities supplies and health and safety procedures must be followed at all times.

As long as a sitting tenant pays their rent, they can stay in the property for as long as they choose. The rent paid is often below the market value and it is a sitting tenants right to keep on this lower rental scale. This is often due to the economic situation of the tenant. This rent is reviewed by the housing office every two years, and it is the tenant’s right to be present and vocal throughout the rent review process to ensure the Housing Office is fully aware of their situation.

A tenants responsibilities
In order to not invalidate their sitting tenant status, tenants must pay their rent on time. If a tenant owes the landlord rent for three months or more then the landlord will be able to apply for an eviction order under the terms of the Rent Act 1977. The tenant is responsible for the property’s internal maintenance. Reasonable repairs must be undertaken and none of the household equipment must be used in any way other than what it is intended for.

The tenant must comply with the regulations that the original tenancy agreement outlines, which can include not having any pets and making sure that the garden stays maintained. If the tenant ignores these rules, they run the risk of losing their sitting tenant rights.

None of these rights and responsibilities change, even if a landlord decides to sell the property. If the property does change hands, a sitting tenant is under no obligations and they do not have to sign a new contract if they don’t want to. The original agreement still remains valid even though the name is out of date. However if you do decide not to sign the new tenancy agreement it is crucial that you make sure you get your new landlord’s payment details, as a change of landlord is not a valid excuse for non-payment of rent.

It isn’t hard to imagine why sitting tenants want to keep their status and why landlords want them to change their contracts. The best thing a sitting tenant can do is to stick to the agreed upon rules and regulations and play it completely by the book. That way the landlord won’t be able to apply for an eviction order.

Profile photo of James Sinclair About James Sinclair
James Sinclair is a freelance write. He graduated from University College London with a first class honours degree in social policy. James is studying for a masters about the impact of the creation of a Universal Credit Union on low income families.

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7 Comments

  • Andy June 17, 2015 8:16 pm

    My wife and i have lived in a property for 9-10 years,even though are rent has NOT gone up,but we feel are landlord wants to put it up,the rent up and is making us feel uncomfortable,WHAT IS ARE LEGAL SITUATION?

  • Akhtar Shaikh January 23, 2016 11:02 am

    Hi
    I am siting tenant since last 12 years, my original landlord past away last year now his relatives wants to sell
    This property, and I want to buy it in market value, but they want more money
    What can I do ??? Please reply ASAP
    REGARDS

  • Madelyn Freeman April 14, 2016 6:25 pm

    My mother and I are Sitting Tenants, since 1974, and we have each lived in our premises together with my brother until now. Although the Lease was signed solely by my brother, do we – my mother and I – have a right to ask our Superior Landlord whether they would be willing to accept our unconditional surrender of our Lease for remuneration as we want to re-locate elsewhere, or is this approach only possible through my brother as his name is on the Lease notwithstanding our shared tenancy throughout this whole period of time. Thank you.

  • Kevin Koster June 14, 2016 1:03 pm

    I have a sitting tenant who is a health hazard. He does not clean, has mice,with droppings all ove the kitchen area and his carpet is full of cigarette stains and butt ends.
    The smell is appauling. The Council (Westminster) is not interested in viewing or advising. There would be a very different response if it was the tenant complaining! What can I do?

  • geoff shawe July 5, 2016 6:38 pm

    I’ve acquired a property with a long term tenant but neither of us has proof of tenancy: no tenancy papers were passed to me on purchase and the tenant says he can’t find them. What is the best way forward here?
    Regards
    Geoff

  • ryan butcher October 12, 2016 8:36 pm

    Hello, My Mother and Father are sitting tenants and just recently the owners of the property have been in touch to say the house is not fit for habitation and they have applied for planning permission to knock it down and rebuild a similar dwelling on the same site. Now as of yet they have not said anything about where they expect my parents to go. Can they do this? My parents certainly cannot afford to move or pay a higher rent.

  • Jane October 26, 2016 8:45 am

    How many times I heard about situation when tenant lives with their friends without noticing landlords. Some of them say that property owners don’t do inspection unexpectedly, so they will never know. Tenants should always ask the permission of landlord. Since they can’t decide who can live in a rental property. Such situations may cause the eviction. And it will be show up on rental background checks. So tenants should be very careful with such issues.
    It’s good when renters know their rights. However, the lease could states more responsibilities. So, as the article https://rentberry.com/blog/typical-tenants-mistakes claims, renters should read the agreement carefully before singing. That why I like the to sign contract online. When landlords send the agreement for me I can take the time to thoroughly review the lease on my own schedule.

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