Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities and being clear about them is important. Keep to your obligations and you won’t go far wrong. There are a couple of areas where there is the possibility of confusion, and legislation is always changing. This quick guide should help to clarify the current situation.
A lot of this is common sense, but some of it may surprise you. It’s worth knowing that a landlord can take action to evict a tenant who doesn’t comply.
As a tenant you must:
- Give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or to make repairs. Your landlord must give you 24 hours’ notice and arrange to call at a reasonable time of day. If it’s an emergency, you should allow immediate access
- Take good care of the property. For example, if you’re going away during cold weather, take precautions like shutting off the water supply. Or if you spot something like a broken gutter, let the landlord know so that he or she can carry out any repairs
- Pay for, or repair, any damage, other than normal wear and tear, caused by yourself, your family or your friends
- Pay the agreed rent – even if you’re in dispute with your landlord
- Pay other charges detailed in your tenancy agreement, such as utility and council tax bills.
You must not sublet a property unless the tenancy agreement allows it.
Finally, there are special circumstances when the landlord lives outside the UK. There is more information on this on the Government’s website at GOV.UK
Not surprisingly, the list here is longer. And as legislation never stays the same, it might well become longer still. At present a landlord must:
- Ensure that the property is safe and in good condition
- Gas appliances must be installed and inspected annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer
- Electrical equipment must be properly installed and maintained.
- Follow fire safety regulations
- Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be installed and tested
- There must be accessible escape routes in case of fire
- Use fire-safe furnishings wherever furnishings are supplied by the landlord.
- Protect any deposit in a government-approved scheme
- Check that the tenant has a right to rent
- Give the tenant the following information:
- An Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- Their full name and address or those of the letting agent
- A copy of the How to rent checklist.
Landlords are normally responsible for repairs to:
- The structure of the property
- Sanitary ware, drains, interior and exterior pipes
- Heating and hot water systems
- Any of the tenant’s property damaged when carrying out repairs to the landlord’s property.
Tenants have a right to ask for repairs to be carried out, and where there are hazards, can ask the council to take action.
Sometimes it’s not too clear who is responsible.
- In a house divided into several flats, one tenant’s flat may be damaged by another tenant
- An infestation of pests that could be the result of a long-standing problem or due to a tenant’s poor hygiene standards.
In cases like these, a bit of advice might be helpful. Talk to our legal team who should be able to assist.
With responsibilities, it’s better to know what you’re meant to be doing at the outset, rather than trying to put things right later. If you’re just starting your journey as a landlord or tenant and would like our advice, call us on 0333 577 9050.