Does a goldfish count as a pet?

It's a good question. Even though they don't need brushing or walking many people would argue that it's a living creature in your care and therefore is a pet.

Other people might say it's more of a decoration that just happens to need feeding every now and then. 

Whatever your view if you rent a room or a house from someone it's just one of the questions that you may well come across.

If you pay someone to rent a room or a house from them you are known in legal terms as a tenant.   The person you rent from is usually known as your landlord.

Legal issues for tenants

Many people who are tenants sign an agreement or a contract with the person that they are renting from. These documents set out things like the amount of rent money that needs to be paid and the responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord.

This can cover anything - from whether you are allowed to own a goldfish or paint a bedroom door, right through to what will happen if there is a structural problem with the house itself.

However even when there is a contract in place there can be more problems than you might think between tenants and landlords that can quickly become legal issues. These could include:

  • problems with the right of entry for the landlord
  • repairs needing to be done
  • facing eviction

Getting help

If you are having problems with your landlord the first thing to do is get a feel for where you stand.

To find out about different problems you might have when you rent somewhere to live and the types of legal issue these can lead to, take a look at the Citizens Advice's renting a home guide.

Sometimes lawyers can help you to understand your rights in a particular situation and can represent you with your landlord to try and resolve the situation. You can find information about the different types of lawyer and how to find the right one for your situation on our types of lawyers page.