Private Tenants

The Private Sector Housing team offers advice and assistance to private tenants

 

Tenants Responsibilities

  • Take care of the property.
  • Report all repairs issues to your landlord as they arise. It is advisable to do this in writing and to keep copies of any communication.
  • Allow the landlord reasonable time to carry out repairs.
  • Provide your landlord access to the property if a reasonable period of notice has been given (your landlord must give you 24 hours written notice, unless you agree otherwise or it is an emergency).
  • Abide by all anti-social behaviour laws and do not create a nuisance (e.g. excess noise).
  • Bills for gas, electricity, telephone etc. are the tenant’s responsibility (unless specified otherwise in your tenancy agreement).

Reporting Repairs

It is your landlord’s responsibility to make sure that any property they let is safe and free from serious hazards. Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that all repairs and maintenance are carried out within a reasonable time period. 

Repairs that your landlord is responsible for include the property’s structure and exterior, basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains, heating and hot water, gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation and electrical wiring. For a full description refer to your tenancy agreement. 

Your tenancy agreement should provide information about your landlords repair and maintenance responsibilities and also your responsibilities as a tenant. Your landlord should also provide you with clear guidelines on how to report repairs. It is advisable that any reports are also confirmed in writing.  

If you have reported a repair you will need to give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to carry out the work, which may include your landlord visiting the property to assess the issues and they may also send a tradesman to provide estimates for the repairs.

If the repairs are not carried out in a reasonable amount of time and your landlord will not give an indication when they will be carried out you can contact the Private Sector by email.

If the required works are not completed, the property may be assessed under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS); the assessment will show whether any serious (category 1) hazards and other less serious (category 2) hazard exist. Where improvements are not made within a reasonable time period the council may take action against the landlord. 

Deposits

If you have paid a deposit to your landlord it should have been paid into an approved government scheme. There are three schemes available:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • My Deposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

If your deposit has not been protected, you may be able to take action against your landlord.  For more information or advice contact Shelter.

If you need assistance with a deposit and your move is essential, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment. To check if you are eligible or to apply contact the Housing Benefits Team on 01908 253040 or by email.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and have concerns about fire safety, the condition of the property or the management of the property you can contact the Private Sector Housing Team for advice on 01908 252664 or by email.  A member of the Private Sector Housing Team may visit the property and if necessary advise your landlord on any works that may be required.

Fire Safety

In properties that are not HMOs your landlord is required to provide at least one smoke alarm on every floor of their rental properties, which are used as living accommodation. The landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.  After that, it is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that the alarms are maintained by regularly testing the alarms and replacing the batteries. For further guidance on the Smoke Alarm Regulations.

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) there must be appropriate fire safety measures in place, which may include a mains wired interlinked fire alarm system, emergency lighting and fire doors.  If you are unsure whether the HMO that you live in has the appropriate fire safety measures you can contact the private Sector Housing Team for advice by email.

The attached leaflets provide information on fire safety in the home (PDF, 692KB)and fire safety in shared or rented accommodation (PDF, 602KB).

Electrical Safety

Your landlord is required to ensure that the electrical installations are safe when you move in and are maintained in a safe condition throughout the duration of your tenancy.

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) the landlord should have a periodic inspection (known as an electrical installation condition report) carried out every five years.

The Electrical Safety First Website provides guidance on your landlord’s responsibilities and general advice for tenants about electrical safety in the home.

Gas Safety

If your rental accommodation has gas appliances, your landlord must provide you with a current copy of the Landlords Gas Safety Certificate.  If you landlord won’t provide you with a copy of the certificate you can make a complaint to the Health and Safety Executive using their online form.

The gas safety check must be carried out by a gas safe registered engineer if you are unsure if the engineer is registered you can check on the gas safe register or for further advice on your landlords responsibilities for gas safety check the Health and Safety Executive website.

Carbon Monoxide

Your landlord is required to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a solid fuel burning appliances (coal fire, wood burning stove) is used.  The landlord must make sure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. After that, it is for the tenant to ensure that the alarms are maintained by regularly testing the alarms and replacing the batteries.  For further information on the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

When an agent or owner advertises a property to let, they are required to have an EPC. This gives a property a score based on how energy efficient it is. The average score in the area is around 55. A score below 37 will indicate that the property may be cold and difficult to heat. EPCs are valid for ten years

Condensation and Mould Growth

If you are experiencing condensation and mould problems in the home that you rent you may find the information in this leaflet helpful. If the problem persists then you should contact your landlord for assistance. If your landlord fails to remedy the problem, you can contact the Private Sector Housing team for advice.

Right to Rent

Your landlord is responsible for checking all new and existing tenants have the right to rent accommodation in the UK.  You should provide your original identity documents to your landlord or any prospective landlord / letting agency for checking. Your landlord will take a copy of the documents for their records and they may need to check these again during the course of your tenancy. For further information on Right to Rent

If your tenancy is terminated

If your landlord serves on you a section 21 notice to end your tenancy and you are unable to find alternative accommodation you can contact the Housing Options Team for advice on 01908 253481 or by email or by using the online self-help tool

Last Updated: 20 September 2018