There are two rights here:
- The right to information about the tenancy and
- The right to information about your landlord
The Right to Information about the Tenancy
Under section 20A of the Housing Act 1988 your landlord must provide you with the following information within 28 days of receiving a written request from you:
- The date on which your tenancy began
- The rent payable and the dates on which it is payable
- Details of any rent review clause, and
- The length of any fixed term.
If your landlord refuses to provide this information, then this is a criminal offence and you can report him to the Housing Officer at your Local Authority (which is the prosecuting authority for this type of offence – the Police will not be interested).
However, it does not entitle you to do anything else, such as withhold your rent.
The Right to Information about your Landlord
1. Your Landlords Identity:
If you do not know who your landlord is, section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides that if you make a request in writing asking for the name and address of your landlord from the person who collects your rent (or the last person who received it), then this information must be provided within 21 days.
If your landlord is a limited company, you are entitled to request the name and address of every director and the company secretary. If this information is not provided it is a criminal offence and you should speak to the Housing Officer at your Local Authority.
Note that failure to respond to your requests does not entitle you to do anything else, such as withhold your rent.
2. Your Landlord’s Address
Under section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, your landlord is obliged to provide you with an address in England and Wales. If this is not provided, you are entitled to withhold your rent until the address is given to you.
The main reason for this is so that if you want to issue legal proceedings against your landlord, you will have an address for the court to serve the paperwork. This is particularly important for landlords who are resident in Scotland, or abroad.
If you are withholding your rent under this section however, keep it safe and do not spend it. All the back rent will fall due once the address has been provided. You will have to pay it over once the address has been given to you.
Landlord Law Blog Posts
- Tenants legal help – who is my landlord?
- A tenant’s right to know his landlords address – and how to enforce it
Action – Contact your Local Authority tenancy relations officer or tenant advice service for assistance.