model house with key

Ultimately, you’d be right in thinking that long-term tenants have similar rights to short-term tenants. If your tenants have signed an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and are paying on time as well as adhering to the guidelines stipulated in the agreement, they have the same rights as short-term tenants.

Long-term tenants in house

What is a long-term tenant?

To put it simply, long-term tenants would usually exceed longer than a standard 6-month tenancy agreement. While the starting marker begins at 6 months for long-term tenants, you may find they stay in the property for years to come. 

Once you have a relationship built with your tenants, you’ll more than likely find that the consistency of income and a lower turnover of tenants is an attractive set-up. 

However, with long-term tenants, there are some considerations to keep in mind. We’ll be diving into those considerations a little later on.

long term tenants

Do long-term tenants have any rights?

They have a legal right to stay in the property, as long as they continue to pay rent and follow the terms of their tenancy agreement. Their legal rights and protections are defined by UK law.

Furthermore, as stated on the .gov website, a tenant has the right to the below items as well:

Provide a property that is safe and in good condition

From dampness and mould to checking the cables on your blinds, the property should be safe and in a habitable condition. You should be checking and maintaining this condition with 6-month inspections. 

Keep their deposit in a government protection scheme 

It is a legal requirement to keep your tenant’s deposit in a government-protected scheme. At the end of the tenancy, you must return the full deposit or file an application for deductions. You can read more about how to do this in our helpful guide.

Make sure your tenant has a ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ of the property. 

This would include giving the tenants 24-hour notice that you will enter the property. You will need permission from the tenants before you enter. Unexpected visits from you to the property would be a breach of allowing your tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’.

Health and safety certificates 

You will need to show your tenants an energy performance certificate of the property before they move in to help them budget and plan for bills. This is a consideration that they are legally allowed to see. 

Fair eviction notice

Unsurprisingly, you’ll have to deal with evictions fairly. The New Rental Reform in 2022 saw the abolishment of section 21 meaning you can’t unfairly end the tenancy. You will need proof of your tenant breaking their AST agreement and with steps in place to give them the opportunity to rectify the situation. 

If you’d like further advice on this, you can read our advice on evictions and best practices. 

What rights do long-term tenants have compared to short-term tenants?

Much like the rights stated above, long-term and short-term tenants share the same rights. However, that’s not to say that there are some considerations to keep in mind. 

  • Less flexibility. With a long-term tenancy, you will be less able to make changes to the rent or the terms of the lease.
  • More risk. If a long-term tenant stops paying rent or damages the property, you may have a more difficult time finding a new tenant and recovering your losses.
  • Less control. With a long-term tenant, you will have less control over how the property is used and maintained.

Squatters rights 

While you may be thinking ‘my tenants aren’t squatters’, you may be surprised to learn that squatters have more rights than long-term tenants over a property’s ownership. 

If squatters abide in a property for more than 10 years and have been acting as the ‘homeowner’, they can apply to seek possession of the property. 

Conditions to this are the squatter must not have been a tenant in the first place. 

Obviously, you’ll be keeping a close eye on your asset so this situation doesn’t occur. However, understanding why your long-term tenants may be applying for false possession under ‘squatters rights’ might help you resolve the situation quickly with your local council.

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