Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords must operate within the law

Landlords must operate within the law

There are hundreds of pieces of Government legislation and local authority regulations that have to be adhered to by landlords before being allowed to rent out property in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

The onus is on the landlord to make sure that the rental property and tenancy agreement are in full compliance with all the rules and regulations and the landlord must also take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of their tenants whilst they are resident at the property.

Landlords also have an obligation to enforce their responsibilities outlined on the assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST), even if the agreement was drafted by a third party (such as a letting or property managing agent or registered landlord association or organisation).

Any sub-clauses and guidelines outlining the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant should be read carefully and must be fully understood.

Landlords are reminded to comprehensively reference all applicants in order to prevent fraud and have a proper tenancy agreement in place at the start of every tenancy as this is used for the protection of all involved parties should a disagreement arise. The tenancy agreement (AST) should outline the tenant’s responsibilities during the period of the tenancy and indicate what they are required to do.

If tenants are referenced the landlord can also utilise Rent Guarantee insurance to protect their rental income should the tenants employment or financial circumstances change.

The advice from Legal 4 Landlords may appear to be common sense to many experienced landlords but having an agreement in writing signed by both the tenant and the landlord means each party have read and understand what is required of them under the terms of the agreement.

The Landlords main responsibilities can include:

  • Protection of the tenants deposit – Any deposit monies handed over by the tenant must be placed into one of the three government approved deposit protection schemes, by law.
  • Electrical safety – Any electrical appliances supplied by the landlord must be checked for safety annually (PATS Testing) and copies of safety certificates must be kept by the landlord and a copy must be supplied to the tenant.
  • It is a legal requirement to provide details of the energy rating of the rental property prior to the property being advertised for let. Copies of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must also be provided to the tenant.
  • All fixtures and fittings including all sanitary fittings must be in full working order throughout the period of the tenancy; this should also include the servicing and repair of heating and hot water systems.
  • If the rental property is furnished – All furniture provided for use by the tenant must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) regulations 1993. Including any sofas, chairs, mattresses, beds, throws, cushions and even garden furniture. Any upholstered furniture must be filled with fire resistant material and should clearly display a manufacturers label stating compliance.
  • Under UK law – Any and all gas all appliances, associated pipe work and flues must be inspected annually by a qualified registered Gas Safe gas engineer, Copies of the gas safety certificate (CP12) must be retained by the landlord (or their appointed agent) and also must be provided directly to the tenant.
  • The rental property has to be fit for human habitation.
  • The landlord has a legal obligation to ensure that the material fabric of the rental property is covered by suitable landlord or buy to let insurance.
  • The landlord is responsible for all common areas In Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s).
  • At the start of all tenancies, the tenant must be supplied with the landlord’s name and telephone number (Section 48 notice. Where the property is managed by an agent, details of the landlord’s full name and address must be supplied to the tenant.

Other statutory requirements that must be observed by landlords or their agents include compliance with:

  • The Race Relations Act
  • Sex Discrimination Act
  • Disability Discrimination

The landlord has a right to inspect the property periodically and has a legal obligation to grant access for repair purposes. Written notice must be given to the tenant at least 24 hours in advance and a mutual agreeable time should be organised with the tenant in order to observe the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property.

If the landlord requires the tenancy to be terminated they are able to serve the tenant with a section 21 notice giving 2 months notice to quit. If the tenant becomes more than 8 weeks in rent arrears the landlord can serve a section 8 notice for the eviction of the tenant.

Tenants also have obligations and responsibilities during the term of the tenancy and must also be made aware that they are responsible for any and all repairs caused directly by them for any damages which are not the responsibility of the landlord. It is recommended that all tenants purchase tenant contents insurance to cover their belongings as these are not covered by the landlords own insurance.

Tenant Responsibilities include:

  • Paying the rent in full on time as agreed at the start of the tenancy.
  • Keeping up with all energy and utility bills, e.g. gas, electricity, telephone, council tax water and sewerage charges unless otherwise specified as included in the rental price indicated by a sub clause in the tenancy agreement.
  • The rental property must be kept in a reasonable state fit for human habitation. This includes the cleanliness, decorative and sanitary condition of the property.
  • The tenant should provide an appropriate amount of notice should they wish to terminate the tenancy agreement and leave the property before the term of the agreed tenancy agreement. This is commonly adequate to accept a minimum of 4 weeks notice but it can vary and is usually outlined within the tenancy agreement.
  • The tenant should vacate the property and leave it in the same condition as it was on moving in. The landlord is legally allowed to deduct any monies from the deposit for damages caused by the tenant which have not been fixed.
  • The tenant, including any members of their household or visitors to the rental property must not cause any nuisance or harass neighbouring properties.

The tenancy agreement is an essential and legally binding document that provides details of the rights and responsibilities of all parties and as such any breach of the terms and conditions outlined in the document may be subject to legal proceedings.

If the landlord believes that the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement or they are not following the terms of the tenancy agreement accordingly, we recommend that you call us

0844 567 4001