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House Doctor

Question: My boyfriend and I rent a flat at a discount but our landlady, a friend of his family, regularly turns up unannounced to check things are OK or do little repairs. And the gas central heating works intermittently. She's promised to fix it twice, but we've been living here for over six months. Do we have proper rights LW, Gloucester

Answer: The showbiz maxim runs: you should never work with children or animals; in property, that applies to renting from friends and family. "Mates rates" can be great... or a huge burden. With the standard agreement between yourselves and the landlord – known as an "assured short-hold tenancy" (AST) – you have the right to four things under English housing law: to live in your flat undisturbed; to live in a property in a good state of repair; to get clear information about your tenancy; and protection from eviction. Your landlady is – unwittingly or not - trampling all over the first two. Read More


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