What is my landlord responsible for in my rented property?
Landlords have certain responsibilities to their tenants by law, just as tenants have to fulfil their side of the bargain.
If you are renting a property, it is important to know what your landlord must do and what your responsibilities are. The rules are there to protect both parties and ensure a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Find out here what they are and how this affects you in your rented home.
At the start of a tenancy, your landlord should give you an energy performance certificate, and a gas safety certificate if your home runs on gas. They will perform a right to rent check on you and anyone living at the property, to verify your immigration status.
Fit to live in
As of March 2019, the law states that any property being rented out must be fit for human habitation according to a particular set of guidelines. This does not mean that the decor should be to your liking, however.
It relates to making sure the property is safe to live in, healthy, free of hazards, and in a good state of repair so that it does not present a danger to tenants in any way.
This means that gas equipment such as a boiler must be fitted by a gas safe engineer and inspected annually. The landlord is also responsible for fitting a working smoke alarm on each floor, and if you have a wood-burning stove, a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted in that room.
Other electrical items supplied by the landlord, such as fridge freezers, should be checked roughly every five years.
Pests fall under the responsibility of the landlord, who must also carry out any work needed to prevent pests from being able to get into the property.
Damp or mould which is caused by leaks or other structural damage must be fixed by the landlord.
Any soft furnishings, which includes mattresses and sofas, should be labelled by your landlord with a ‘carelessness causes fire’ label.
Note that some of these may not apply if the problem has been caused by the tenant themselves, their visitors, or the tenant’s belongings in the property.
Getting the property maintained
While the landlord is not obliged to make sure the fixtures and fittings are perfect, they should be in a good state of repair. Your landlord is responsible for any maintenance or repair work needed on the roof or chimney of your rented property, as well as the electrical wiring, boiler and gas pipes, and fixing the problem if you are left without heating or hot water.
Make sure you report any issues as soon as you find them, as this is your responsibility. If you or anyone visiting your home causes damage to the property, then you are the one responsible for fixing the damage.
Once the repair or maintenance work has been completed, it is the landlord’s responsibility to redecorate the property.
When can my landlord visit the property?
Landlords may have to inspect the property from time to time, and they have the right to do so. However, your landlord must give you 24 hours’ notice first, in writing, as tenants have the right to enjoy their home without being disturbed.
They cannot enter the property without your consent, for instance, while you are not in. Your landlord must not harass you and must arrange a suitable time for such visits.
What about my deposit?
The landlord should return your deposit once the tenancy is over, provided you have left the property in a good condition, and have paid your rent and bills.
The landlord should return it within 10 days, although you may negotiate with them if they want to hold any part of it back due to damage or loss. Deposits should be kept in a suitable deposit protection scheme.
Your landlord doesn’t have to protect a holding deposit, which is money you pay to ‘hold’ a property before an agreement is signed. Once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect.
Find out at the start of your tenancy if your deposit is in a deposit protection scheme.
In some cases, such as when a tenant is not paying their rent, the landlord may choose to try and evict that tenant from the property. However, they must follow the correct legal procedure if they want to do so. This includes giving written notice to the tenant and usually requires a court order.
Can my landlord increase the rent?
Your tenancy agreement should give details of when the rent is to be reviewed. If you have a fixed tenancy, the landlord may increase the rent, but only if you agree.
If you do not agree, the new increased rent will only apply after the tenancy is over. Landlords can increase the rent on a rolling week-to-week or month-to-month contract, but they may only do so once a year under normal circumstances.
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