Landlords have a wide range of responsibilities. They must keep rented properties safe and free from health hazards and carry out all repairs in a timely manner.
If a landlord does not comply with the following procedures, the tenancy may not be valid and they may be unable to serve the tenant with notice to leave:
Landlords must also:
Extra rules apply to houses in multiple occupation (house shares).
Repairs and maintenance
The exterior and structure of a property including drains and gutters have to be in good repair and utilities in place. Sinks and toilets must remain functioning with a source of heating, including that of water. You may be able to get help to install or improve heating systems.
The tenant is entitled to “quiet enjoyment” meaning that any inspection needs to be carried out at reasonable intervals. A landlord must give a minimum of 24 hours notice in writing and must not enter without the tenants' permission unless it is an emergency (and then a witness should be present if at all possible).
The landlord's duty to inspect and repair is accompanied by the need to respond and act upon a tenant’s notification of a genuine repair issue.
Protection against retaliatory eviction
If a tenant complaint leads to the local authority serving a notice on the landlord for remedial action or improvement, then a “no fault” eviction relying on a section 21 notice cannot take place for 6 months. This protects tenants from being evicted because they have raised a legitimate complaint (retaliatory eviction).
It is illegal for landlords and agents to charge certain fees for new tenancy agreements signed on or after 1st June 2019.
The fees that landlords can still charge are rent, deposits (maximum of 5 weeks), holding deposits and charges for defaulting on the contract.
However, all four of these are subject to additional restrictions.
Other fees, such as those relating to inventories, admin charges and gardening services are banned.
Tenancy deposit schemes
For all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) where the tenant has paid a deposit, the landlord has a legal obligation to:
- protect the deposit with a government approved scheme within 30 days of receipt
- provide the tenant with information about the scheme they have used (prescribed information).
If you don’t think your landlord has complied with their obligations, then you may be entitled to bring a claim through the courts for up to three times the value of your deposit.
Most tenancies are ASTs s whether there is a written tenancy agreement or not. Most tenancy agreements will state that it is an assured shorthold tenancy and give the period of the initial tenancy and the rental liability along with tenant and landlord responsibilities. The following are indicators that the tenancy is an ASTs :
- the tenant rents from a private landlord
- the landlord lives in a separate place
- the landlord does not have a right to come into the rented property
If a landlord has not correctly protected a deposit, they cannot serve you a section 21 notice to evict you unless they refund the whole deposit first.
Laws that apply to landlords
Landlord and tenant law is complicated and we can only give an overview of key points on this page. Relevant laws include (but are not limited to) the Housing Acts, Environmental Protection Act, Landlord and Tenant Act, the Tenant Fees Act, and Building Control Legislation. Failure to comply can result in fines, compensation claims or even imprisonment.
The accommodation must comply with the basic legal minimum standards of the Housing Health and Safety Ratings System (HHSRS).
We can help tenants resolve issues about the condition of their home with their landlord. We try to resolve issues amicably but can take enforcement action if necessary. See tenant complaints.
Page last reviewed: 18 January 2022
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