Private sector liaison
Cheshire East Council employs a private sector liaison officer who works with landlords in the private sector.
We offer free advice to help landlords with tenant issues including Anti Social Behaviour and rent arrears; we can mediate with tenants and help landlords to find a solution to most tenancy issues.
The Private Sector Liaison Officer Claire Grice can be contacted on 01625 378207.
Information for landlords
Please see our specialist landlord pages.
Information on renting privately for tenants
Renting a property in the private sector is becoming a more affordable and accessible option for households in Cheshire East. Cheshire East has a significant shortage of social housing but has a large and thriving private rented market.
Before you start looking for private rented accommodation, you need to carefully consider the following:
- type - the type of accommodation required depends on individual circumstances for example do you need ground floor access or a home with a garden
- size - think about the how many people are in the household and how many bedrooms are needed
- affordability - you need to be sure that your rent is affordable before committing to a tenancy agreement. Make sure you have budgeted for Council Tax, water, electricity, gas and food
Renting privately can be slightly more expensive than renting from a social landlord but there are advantages:
- you can usually move in quickly
- the accommodation can come furnished, carpeted and decorated
- you can be more selective about the location and type of property you rent.
It is important that you understand your rights and responsibilities and those of your landlord.
If you are on a low income you may be able to claim help towards your rent by claiming housing benefit or by claiming the rent element of universal credit. You may also be entitled to assistance.
Please remember that any assistance with rental costs will dependant on the size of your household.
You may find the factsheets below helpful when deciding whether to take on a private tenancy.
Information for tenants
Your rights and responsibilities
You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a private tenant in the how to rent guide which must be provided by your landlord.
In brief, as a tenant you must:
- pay the rent on time
- behave in a tenant like manner by considering your neighbours and understanding that you are responsible for anyone visiting your property
- maintain the property ensuring your landlord is notified immediately if there are any repair issues. You can get more information from the ShelterShelter website
- give appropriate notice to bring your tenancy to an end - ending a fixed term tenancy
Tenants should also:
- inform the landlord if they are going to be away from the property for any length of time
- keep the property adequately heated and ventilated to avoid mould and moisture build up
- notify the landlord if you have changed your telephone number
- allow your landlord to inspect the property at reasonable intervals
- allow access to carry out maintenance and repairs as long as you are given adequate notice
- allow for gas safety checks to be carried out
The responsibilities of your landlord:
When you become a new tenant your landlord should provide you with a tenancy agreement which you should read carefully before signing. It will define the landlord’s responsibilities and yours as a tenant.
- it will detail the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent and when it is due
If you are not given a tenancy agreement you should have a statement of tenancy terms.
If you have paid a deposit the landlord is required by law to protect it in one of the Government’s Tenancy Deposit Schemes, details of which should be detailed on your tenancy agreement. The deposit has to be protected within 30 days of the tenancy start date and the landlord will need to provide you with the prescribed information relating to your deposit and the scheme it is protected in. For more information see tenancy deposit protection.
The landlord must also provide:
- a gas safety certificate if there is gas at the property, updated every 12 months. See more information about gas safety certificates
- an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) advising you on the likely costs of your energy bills, (unless you live in a House in Multiple Occupation)
- for more information see the Gov.uk website Energy Performance Certificates
- working smoke alarms on every level of the property
- a carbon monoxide detector in any room which has solid fuel
- contact details and an address where you can serve the required notice
A landlord also has a legal responsibility to ensure all electrical installations within the property are safe and any electrical appliances provided are safe to use when the property is handed over to the tenant. Information is available from the Shelter website.
Landlord or tenant issues
Housing officers can negotiate with other landlords and/or tenants in order to resolve disputes or misunderstandings. Quite often even when a landlord has served notice, there are ways in which we can help you to resolve issues so that you can remain in your family home. We will consider:
- landlord / tenant mediation
- floating support referrals
- debt and finance management.
Preventing eviction by resolving disputes will always be our primary aim. However, we need your full co-operation and permission before we can contact your landlord to discuss your circumstances.
Eviction by private landlords
The landlord may decide to start eviction proceedings by serving a written section 21 notice. The current legal notice must be given on a Form 6a.
The minimum notice period, when relying on a section 21 notice, is 2 months and the landlord does not have to give a reason. However possession can not be given before a fixed term ends when relying on this course of action.
If a landlord can evidence that the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy which may be for none payment or regular late payment of rent he can apply for eviction under Section 8 of the Housing Act. This requires a much shorter notice period and can be used at any time.
If you feel that your landlord is trying to evict you without following the lawful procedure you should contact the housing options team who will be able to offer advice and assistance. We can negotiate with your landlord in order to ensure your tenancy is ended correctly to allow you adequate time to find alternative accommodation. We could also help you understand why problems have arisen in the tenancy and try to find ways to resolve them.
Below is a range of factsheets to help people in the private sector understand their housing rights and responsibilities. These factsheets are courtesy of Shelter.