Advice to private tenants

Tenancy types

Shorthold tenancy - your landlord can regain possession of your property six months after the beginning of the tenancy, provided that they give you two months' notice. Your landlord may offer a shorthold tenancy if they think they may need to regain possession of your property at some time.

Assured tenancy - you have a right to remain in the property unless your landlord can prove to a court that they have grounds for possession. They do not have an automatic right to repossess the property when the tenancy comes to an end. Your landlord may offer an assured tenancy if they want to let the property indefinitely.

If you are already an existing assured tenant, your tenancy cannot be replaced with a shorthold tenancy.

Safety

If you rent your accommodation from a private landlord your landlord has a duty to keep it free from category 1 and category 2 hazards using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

The responsibility for other repairs depends on what agreement (if any) you have arranged with your landlord. The landlord is not responsible for repairing damage a tenant has caused. The rent the landlord charges can include a sum to cover the cost of repairs, but the landlord cannot pass this cost on to the tenant in the form of a separate service charge.

Gas and electrical appliances

Landlords are required by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure that all gas appliances are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out by a tradesman who is registered with Gas Safe Register.

The landlord must keep a record of the safety checks and issue it to the tenant within 28 days of each annual check. The landlord is not responsible for maintaining any gas appliances the tenant is entitled to take with them at the end of the letting.

Landlords should also ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances that they supply (such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heaters) are safe to use.

Fire safety of furniture and furnishings

Landlords must ensure that any furniture and furnishings they supply meet the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

The regulations set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture. All new and second hand furniture provided in accommodation that is let for the first time, or replacement furniture in existing let accommodation, must meet the fire resistance requirements unless it was made before 1950. Most furniture will have a manufacturer's label on it saying if it meets the requirements.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Prior to taking a new tenancy, you should ask to see a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). EPCs give information on the likely energy costs for the property and how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC.

Complaints

We can help tenants who rent from a private landlord or housing association and who are concerned about the health and safety of their home. In the first instance you should contact your landlord or letting agent so that they know what your problems are and have the opportunity to deal with your concerns. Where improvements are necessary and the landlord is unwilling to co-operate, the Council can use its enforcement powers where appropriate. Repairs that are a major concern are leaking roofs, dangerous wiring, dampness, inadequate kitchen and bathroom facilities and inadequate heating.

If you live in a bedsit/studio flat or other shared accommodation there are additional aspects of tenant safety with which your landlord must comply. These include fire precaution measures and the number of bathroom and kitchen facilities available.

House in multiple occupation (HMO)

If you are a tenant in a house that is three or more storeys high, can be lived in by five or more households or has shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, your landlord needs a licence for a house in multiple occupation. The licences have been brought in by the government to protect tenants.

If you are a tenant in a house of multiple occupation make sure your landlord has a licence. If they don't, contact us:

Email: pshousing@southnorthants.gov.uk

Telephone: 01327 322299

Contact details

Private Sector Housing
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01327 322299

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