This guide is for landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:
Landlords must provide a copy of the How to Rent guide either via a link or as a printed copy, before the tenancy agreement is signed.
- What to look out for before renting
- Living in a rented home
- What happens at the end of a tenancy
- What to do if things go wrong
Private Sector Housing Standards
If you rent a property you must ensure that property is safe, free from hazards and in a good state of repair. Major repairs are generally the responsibility of the landlord. This includes repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and hot water installations, basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations. For further information please read our Private Sector Housing Standards guide.
If you supply a gas appliance to your property, for example a cooker, fire or gas boiler, you are required by law to ensure that it is safely installed and to carry out an annual gas safety check and provide your tenant with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate.
Under the Deregulation Act 2015 you will not be able to serve a section 21 notice if you cannot prove that you have given you tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate.
Further information about gas safety is available from the Health and Safety Executive.
It is recommended that if a property is rented, an electrical safety check is carried out every five years. By identifying potential risks and subsequently reducing the hazard to an acceptable level you are meeting your legal duty, ensuring your tenants are safe and also protecting your property.
Further guidance for landlords is available from Electrical Safety First.
Any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier, or visitor. A dwelling should therefore be designed, constructed and maintained with non-hazardous materials and should be free from unnecessary and avoidable hazards.
For further advice and to download the fire safety regulations for landlords visit the Fire Safety section of GOV.UK
If the landlord supplies furniture and furnishings in a property they must meet the levels of fire resistance set out within the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998.
The Fire Safety Advice Centre has further information about furniture and furnishings fire regulations.
Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide regulations
These regulations cover all forms of rented housing and came into force on 1 October 2015. The regulations place a duty on landlords to install a fire alarm on each storey of their rented property and to maintain them in working order. They also require landlords to provide and maintain carbon monoxide alarms in rooms containing solid fuel heating appliances.
Failure to comply with the regulations could result in a penalty of up to £5,000. Further information is available from the links below:
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms explanatory booklet for landlords
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
It is a legal requirement for landlords to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when required in respect of all rental properties. EPC’s are valid for 10-years, the fine for not providing an EPC when required is £200.
In addition key changes under the Deregulation Act 2015 make Section 21 Notices invalid if the landlord cannot prove that they have shown their tenants the Energy Performance Certificate at the start of the tenancy.
Please note: by 2018 it will be illegal for private landlords to rent their property with an EPC rating below an 'E' standard.
Further information about EPC's can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Landlords of domestic rental properties should be aware of their duty to assess the risk of exposure to Legionella, to ensure safety of their tenants and implement control measures necessary.
Information about Legionella and landlords' responsibilities
House in Multiple Occupation Licensing
If you rent out a building with three or more storey's, including basements and loft conversions, which is occupied by five or more tenants, forming two or more households who share facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens you may need to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence. Link to HMO page here
Tenancy deposit schemes
All deposits for rents up to £25,000 per annum taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Under the Deregulation Act 2015 if landlords fail to protect the deposit they will be unable to serve a section 21 notice until the deposit is returned or the deposit protected.
Right to rent
Landlords must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent their residential property in England if their tenancy started on or after 1 February 2016. There is a fine up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England.
You can find out how to check your tenant's right to rent from GOV.UK.