In addition to the information on this page you can get up to date information about being a private landlord on GOV.UK being a landlord and renting out a room.

Information for private landlords

Fire Safety

All landlords are legally required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their rental properties which are used as living accommodation.

  • In accordance with BS:5839-6:2019 (the British Standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems in buildings), both new and existing rented properties should comply with a Grade D1 system. (i.e. a system incorporating one or more interlinked mains-powered smoke alarms [and heat alarms if required], each with an integral stand-by supply). They can be hardwire-interlinked or radio-interlinked. The stand-by supply must be tamper-proof and last the full life of the alarm. However, because of their low cost and ease of installation, Grade F systems (comprising of battery-powered smoke alarms) may be suitable for installation in existing premises.
  • The landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy and should encourage their tenants to regularly test the alarms. It is good practice to keep a record of any fire alarm tests carried out. 
  • For further information, please see Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations (Section 7) and Gov.UK Fire Safety in the Home Guidance.

Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)  require a specified level of fire precautions which may include mains wired interlinked fire alarm system, emergency lighting, fire doors and a fully protected means of escape.

All landlords must also ensure that all furniture and furnishings provided are fire safe and comply with the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire and Furnishing (Fire Safety) Regulations.

For further information please refer to The Fire Safety Advice Centre

Electrical, Gas and Carbon Monoxide Safety

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 apply to all new specified tenancies from 1st July 2020, and existing specified tenancies from 1st April 2021. Under the regulations landlords have a legal duty to have all electrical installations within a rented property inspected and tested by a competent person at least every 5 years. Following the inspection and testing, the landlord must:

  • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant within 28 days.
  • Supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority.
  • Retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next test and inspection.
  • Supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant.

If further investigation or remedial work is required by the report this must be carried out within the time specified by the report and within 28 days from the date of the test.

For houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s) the Regulations require a mandatory condition on electrical safety to be placed on all HMO licences granted after 1 June 2020.  

If we believe that the landlord is in breach of the requirements under the Regulations we have a duty to serve a remedial notice . If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken within 28 days, we can arrange for the remedial works to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord. We can also impose financial penalties of up to £30,000.

For further advice and guidance, refer to Gov.UK Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector.

Electrical Appliances

If you provide electrical appliances in your rental accommodation, you should carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) at least once every year  to ensure that your appliances are safe. For more information please refer to Electrical Safety First

Gas Safety

If your property has gas appliances you will need an annual Landlords Gas Safety Certificate and you must provide a copy of this to your tenants.  The check must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.  For further information refer to the Health and Safety Executive website.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations

Smoke Alarms

Under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations 2015 landlords are legally required to have at least one smoke alarm installed 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, and it is good practice to keep a record of any fire alarm tests carried out. 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Landlords also have a legal duty to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a solid fuel burning appliances (coal fire, wood burning stove etc.) is used. The landlord must make sure that alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. It is also good practice to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a gas boiler is installed.

If we believe that the landlord is in breach of the requirements under the Regulations we have a duty to serve a remedial notice. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken within 28 days, we can arrange for the remedial works to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord. We can also impose financial penalties of up to £5,000.

For further guidance refer to Gov.UK The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015: Q&A booklet for the private rented sector – landlords and tenants

Energy Performance (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Before you can market your property you will need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate from an accredited assessor. EPCs are valid for 10 years although you may find it beneficial to get a new one if you carry out some energy improvements. For more information and to find an assessor refer to  Gov.UK  Energy Performance Certificates

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)

Since April 2018, new tenancies in England and Wales have had to meet the Government's minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES). Properties which require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must reach a minimum ‘E' rating on their EPC assessment, or have a valid exemption registered.

The Government has introduced a ‘cost cap', requiring landlords to spend up to £3,500 per property to improve them to the minimum level. If the cost of reaching an E rating is higher than £3,500, then the landlord should install all measures that can be installed up to the £3,500 cap, then register for an exemption on the basis that ‘all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E rating’.

From 1 April 2020, this requirement has extended to all existing tenancies.

If a local authority believes a landlord has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES Regulations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If a breach is confirmed, the landlord may receive a financial penalty.

Keeping your property safe and in good repair

It is your responsibility as a landlord to make sure that any property that you let is safe and free from serious hazards. You are responsible for ensuring that all repairs and maintenance are carried out within a reasonable time period. Repairs that you are 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, electrical wiring etc.

You should include details of your responsibilities for the maintenance of your property in your tenancy agreement. You should also provide tenants with clear guidelines on how to report a repair.

If the repairs are not carried out promptly and a complaint is made to the council by the tenant the council have a duty to investigate. A tenant could also take you to court or make a compensation claim against you if they are injured or their possessions are damaged because you didn’t carry out necessary repairs.

What the council will do if we receive a complaint from your tenant

If the council receives a complaint from your tenants about repair issues within the property that they rent, an officer from the council may visit the property. If there are repairs that are a cause for concern, we will write to you and allow a reasonable time period to resolve any issues identified.

If the required works are not completed, the property may be assessed under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This can lead to formal action, enforcement and charges.

Enforcement Action and Charges

As a council we are able to charge for various types of enforcement action taken under the Housing Act 2004. The charge is currently £324 per notice. The enforcement options available to the council are:
 

  • Improvement notice (including Suspended Improvement notice)
  • Prohibition Order (including Suspended Prohibition Order)
  • Emergency Remedial Action
  • Hazard Awareness Notice.
  • Emergency Prohibition Order

The Private Sector Housing Enforcement Protocol sets out our approach to enforcement and the range of statutory and discretionary powers available to manage non-compliance and tackle rogue landlords.

Rent Repayment Orders

Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the council can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order to recover rent paid to a landlord who has committed one of the following offences:

  • Failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • Failure to comply with a prohibition order
  • Control or management of an unlicensed HMO
  • Breach of a banning order

The order will require the landlord to repay up to a maximum of 12 months’ worth of rent to the council for any housing benefit or universal credit paid in respect of rent under a tenancy. Private tenants also have the right to make an application for a Rent Repayment Order to reclaim any monies that they personally paid in respect of rent.  For further information, see Chapter 2 Part 4 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Financial Penalties

The Housing Act 2004 has been amended to give the council power to impose financial penalties as an alternative to prosecution. Financial penalties may be imposed if a landlord has committed one of the following offences:

  • Failure to comply with improvement notice
  • Offences in relation to HMO licensing
  • Failure to comply with overcrowding notices
  • Offences in relation to HMO management regulations

The penalty imposed is to be determined by the local authority but must not exceed £30,000.

A financial penalty cannot be imposed if the person has already been convicted of the offence or if proceedings are already in progress. For further information, see schedule 9 of the Housing & Planning Act 2016.

Landlords Forums

The council facilitates a Private Landlords Forum. The forum aims to keep landlords up to date with issues affecting them.

  • If you would like to be sent details of the next forum, or
  • you have recently attended a forum and would like to provide feedback or suggest topics for the next forum

You can do this by emailing the Private Sector Housing Team. 

Please be advised that the following sections are for information only and you should seek legal advice if you require any further guidance.

Right to Rent and Information for Landlords

As a landlord you are responsible for checking that your tenants have the Right to Rent in the UK, information about this can be found on the Gov.UK website  Right to Rent . 

You are required to check identify documents for all new and existing tenants. There is a Gov.UK online checking tool to assist landlords and to request a check on anyone who has an outstanding case with the home office.

All new tenants should  also be given the following documents before their tenancy starts:

  • a written agreement of the terms on which they occupy the property or part of the property.
  • the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide
  • the current Gas Safety Certificate, if gas is installed
  • the property’s Energy Performance Certificate

Tenants Fees and Deposits (Tenancy Deposit Protection - TDP) Tenants Fees Act 2019

Tenant Fees

The Tenants Fees Act prohibits landlords and agents from charging any fees to tenants other than those permitted under the act. The only payments in connection with a tenancy that a tenant can be asked to make are:

  • rent
  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  • payments for the variation, assignment or novation of a tenancy, capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher)
  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
  • payments in the event of a default, such as for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement

If the payment a landlord or agent is charging is not on this list then it is not lawful, and a landlord or agent should not ask the tenant to pay it.

If a landlord or agent has charged a prohibited payment they could face a financial penalty of up to £30,000. A landlord cannot evict a tenant using the section 21 eviction procedure until the landlord has repaid any unlawfully charged fees or returned an unlawfully retained holding deposit. All other rules around the application of the section 21 evictions procedure will continue to apply.

Please note: this guidance applies to England only. For more information please see Gov.UK: Tenant Fees Act 2019: Guidance

Deposits

If you take a deposit from your tenants you must pay this into an approved government scheme. There are three schemes available:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • My Deposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

If you don't protect the tenants’ deposits under one of these schemes you could be liable to pay back three times the cost of the deposit.  A court may also decide that your tenant does not have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if you haven’t used a tenancy deposit scheme when you should have.

Further information on tenancy deposit schemes can be found on Gov.UK Tenancy Deposit Protection 

Eviction

Please see Eviction

Housing - Private Sector Housing

Private Sector Housing contact information

Postal Address: Civic Offices, 1 Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3EJ