Landlords must make sure that any property is habitable and free from serious damage. If a problem does arise, it should be dealt with quickly with minimal disruption to the tenants.
The Housing Act introduced a new system for assessing property damage, which is based on risk assessments carried out on any hazards. We can offer advice for Category Two Hazards, and have a responsibility to take action for any Category One Hazards. An Enforcement Officer will assess the best course of action from advice to a legal notice where repairs must be carried out within a specified time. If a landlord doesn't carry out the requirements of a legal notice, they could face a £5,000 fine.
For more information, check the housing health and safety rating system.
Any gas installation and appliances supplied by the landlord require an annual gas safety check. This should be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer and a copy of the gas safety certificate should be given to the tenant. From 1 October 2015, Carbon monoxide detectors are also legally required in the premises.
Landlords and agents must make sure:
Landlords are usually not responsible for electrical appliances supplied by the tenant.
All furniture supplied by a landlord should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. This doesn’t apply to furniture made before 1950, bedding (including mattress covers and pillow cases), curtains and carpets. For further information:
London Fire Brigade renting and sharing landlords should always be aware of the serious consequences of having a fire in one of their properties. You should always ensure that adequate fire detection and protection is in place.
Overcrowding can cause physical and mental health issues, and contribute to accidents within the property. We will investigate any issues with overcrowding and can limit the number of people allowed to occupy one room or home.
Landlords must provide tenants with either their own bins or communal bins to store their rubbish and recycling. They must also give tenants details about their responsibilities for the correct storage, separation and collection of their rubbish and recycling, including bulky items. For more information, visit rubbish and recycling.
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The tenancy agreement sets out the terms and conditions of the letting agreement and is the basis for renting accommodation. The agreement should include the amount of rent and the frequency of payments. The terms should be clearly explained to tenants, particularly if English is not their first language.
For all rented properties, it is a legal requirement that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is given to prospective tenants before a tenancy agreement is signed.
An EPC shows the energy efficiency of a property. Only an accredited energy assessor can carry out the survey and give a certificate. Once given, it is valid for ten years, but the tenancy must begin within 12 months of the EPC start date.
For more information, visit the Energy Performance Certificate Register.
This should be drawn up at the beginning of the tenancy and cover the property, furniture, fixtures and fittings. It should state the condition of each item and a copy should be kept by the tenant and the landlord.
As a landlord you are entitled to inspect the rental property at any reasonable time of the day after giving 24 hours written notice. We advise that you have an agreement for dealing with damage and emergency repairs. Repairs should be carried out quickly and with minimal disruption to the tenant.
On tenancies under seven years, the landlord is responsible for:
The tenant is responsible for internal decorations and any goods they have provided for themselves.
Part of the tenancy agreement should remind tenants that they and their visitors should not be a nuisance to others. If a tenant or their visitor is acting antisocially, landlords should enforce this part of their agreement as soon as possible.
For advice, contact our Antisocial Behaviour team on 020 8379 4612.
It’s important that any outstanding rent is discussed with the tenant as soon as possible. If you take possession action against the tenant because they refuse to keep to the tenancy agreement, you should let us know. This is because if the tenant approaches us for rehousing, we can warn them that their actions could make them ‘intentionally homeless’.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is available for people on a low income or who are unemployed and can’t cover the cost of their accommodation. There is a rate for each property size, depending on the number of bedrooms. This may not cover the full cost of the rent.
If you want to request a tenant’s benefit claims information, you will need their permission. Tenants can withdraw permission at any time.
LHA payments are normally made to the tenant and not the landlord, but if a tenant is more than eight weeks behind in rent, payments can be made directly to the landlord. For this to be done, the relevant documents will need to be provided. Payments will be made to you at our discretion after we have reviewed the circumstances.
For more information, contact our Housing Benefit department on 020 8379 1000.
Most tenancies and licences are protected by the Protection from Eviction Act. The only exceptions are if they are holiday lets, or the landlord lives in the building and shares facilities with the tenant. It’s a criminal offence for a landlord or anyone acting on their behalf to evict or harass a tenant covered by the Protection from Eviction Act. If you’re not sure about the correct legal process to evict, then you should contact our Housing Advice team, or a solicitor.
Most tenancies are let under the terms of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This gives the landlord the right to get their property back at the end of the tenancy. An AST is now the default form for most private tenancies and can be for any length of. However, a possession order can’t be given before the end of the first six months of the tenancy.
With ASTs the landlord and tenant can freely agree the rent, though the tenant does have the right to refer the rent to the Rent Assessment Committee in certain circumstances. The below properties can’t be let on ASTs, and are known as 'common law' or 'contractual' tenancies:
The Equality Act 2010 prevents discrimination of:
Landlords must make sure that when granting tenancies or taking action against a tenant, they are not indirectly discriminating against them. Landlords need to keep documents explaining why an action has been taken. For more information, visit the Government Equalities Office.