A guide to landlord and tenant responsibilities

When it comes to private renting, there are measures in place to protect both landlord and tenant. Regardless of the type of tenancy, it’s important to know where the lines of responsibility are drawn. Here’s the lowdown.

Chris King From the Home team
5
minute read
posted

Information landlords must provide

At the beginning of a tenancy, you need to provide your tenant/s with the following information – either directly or through your letting agent, if you’re using one:

Split 1

Deposit protection

If you’re letting your property under an assured shorthold tenancy, you must ensure the deposit is held under a government-approved deposit protection scheme. If you don’t, you could face hefty penalties - such as having to pay the tenant between one and three times the deposit as a financial penalty. It can also affect your ability to end a tenancy too.

Health and safety

Your tenant has the right to live in a property that’s safe, free from hazards and in a good state of repair. From 20 March 2019, landlords must make sure their properties are ‘fit to live in’. That means you need to ensure: 

  • Gas equipment, such as a boiler, is installed by a Gas Safe-registered engineer and inspected annually. 

  • Electrical items supplied by you must be in good working order and safe to use, and that checks are carried out regularly – every 5 years is recommended. 

  • A working smoke alarm must be installed on each floor of the property.

  • If the property has a wood-burning stove, a carbon monoxide detector must be installed in the relevant room.

  • If the property is leased furnished, furnishings must comply with Fire and Furnishing regulations. Soft furnishings like pillows, mattresses and sofas must have a ‘Carelessness Causes Fire’ label.

  • Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), if there’s rising damp and mould, caused by structural damage such as a leaking pipe or rotten window frame, it’s your responsibility to fix the problem.  

  • Kitchens, bathrooms and toilets must be in a sanitary condition.  

  • The landlord is responsible for dealing with pest infestations and carrying out any repairs needed to prevent pests getting into the property.  

On the first day of a new tenancy, check that the smoke alarm and any carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.

Repairs and maintenance

Tenants have a duty to report any maintenance issues, as soon as they find them. But, as a landlord, you’re responsible for arranging any structural repairs, including:

  • roof
  • chimney
  • sanitary fittings
  • building exterior
  • heating and hot water
  • electrical wiring
  • boiler and gas pipes
  • repair or replacement of faulty appliances if supplied by the landlord
Split 2

Eviction

Landlords must follow a strict legal procedure if they want to evict their tenants. If they don’t, it’s considered an illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence. In most cases, a landlord will need to get a court order and give written notice (a Section 21) before an eviction can proceed. The exact process depends on the terms laid out in the tenancy agreement. 

Tenant responsibilities

Tenants have the right to be able to enjoy their home without any unnecessary disturbance. As such, a landlord needs to get permission (usually 24 hours’ notice) before entering a property during the tenancy. However, tenants do have certain responsibilities, including the following.

‘Right to Rent’ documents

Tenants have to provide any necessary legal documents, such as a passport, so their landlord can confirm they have a ‘right to rent’. Landlords can refuse a tenancy to anyone who doesn’t meet the legal criteria.

Split 3

Rent and other charges

If you’re renting your home, you’re responsible for paying rent, on time, as outlined in your tenancy agreement. You’re also responsible for any other charges agreed with the landlord, such as utility bills and Council Tax. All fees should be explicitly laid out in your tenancy agreement.  

Repairs 

If a tenant, their friends or family members, cause any damage to the property, it’s up to the tenant to arrange and cover the cost of repairs. 

Care of the property

Tenants need to make sure the property is kept in a ‘reasonable condition’ throughout the tenancy period. If you’ve just signed a rental agreement, you should be given a full itinerary of all furnishings, appliances and any damages when you move in. At the end of the tenancy, it’s your duty to leave the property exactly as you found it.

Split 4

Responsible behaviour

It goes without saying that tenants should avoid aggressive and antisocial behaviour toward neighbours. But they’re also responsible for the behaviour of any visitors to their home. 

Keep to the rules of the tenancy

Most tenancy agreements will have a set of rules that a tenant needs to stick to, such as:

  • no smoking
  • no pets
  • no subletting

If the tenant doesn’t meet their obligations, the landlord has the right to take legal action and evict them. 

Where can I compare insurance for landlords?

If you’re a landlord, you’ll want to be sure you have the right cover to protect you and your property. Compare the Market can help you find a range of specialised landlord insurance quotes, including rent protection insurance. And if you’re a tenant, we can help you too.

Compare home insurance

Get a quote in minutes and you could start saving

Get a quote