Landlord responsibilities

If you are a tenant, your landlord has certain obligations. The rules and procedures vary depending on the type of tenancy you have but certain basic rules are always the same.

Your landlord must protect your deposit

Your landlord needs to pay your deposit into a UK Government-approved deposit protection scheme, and return it to you at the end of your tenancy – unless there’s a dispute about damage you've caused to the property or rent or bills you haven't paid.

For more information, see the page on tenancy deposit deductions.  

Your landlord should not disturb tenants

Landlords may need access to the property to inspect it and do repairs but they must let you live in your home without unnecessary interference – your landlord can't come into your home whenever they feel like it, and they should give you reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time if they need to visit.

The amount of notice they have to give might be set out in your agreement. If you're worried about your landlord coming into your home without permission, get advice – use our directory to find a local advice centre. 

If you don't want your landlord visiting without your permission, you may even be able to change the locks. If you do decide to change the locks, keep the old ones and put them back in, undamaged, when you leave the tenancy.

Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check what type of tenancy you have

Your landlord should not harass you 

Your landlord, or anyone employed by them, should not harass you in your home, or make it difficult for you to stay there, for example, by entering your home without your permission or visiting at unsuitable times, or stopping you from using all the rooms or using the water or electricity.

If the landlord persists, it may be classed as harassment, and the landlord could be fined or imprisoned for this.

Your landlord should carry out certain kinds of repairs

Landlords are responsible for most repairs to the exterior or structure of a property. This means that problems with the roof, chimneys, walls, guttering and drains are the responsibility of the landlord. Landlords are also responsible for keeping the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity in safe working order.

Tenants often have responsibility for some minor repairs and maintenance. This usually relates to:

  • internal decorations
  • gardens
  • furniture or equipment
  • small DIY jobs such as changing plugs and lightbulbs and unblocking sinks, toilets and drains.

Check your agreement to see what it says about repairs, but remember that the landlord can't make you responsible for doing or paying for large-scale repair work, and they should do repairs when they are needed.

Read Shelter's fact sheet Reporting repairs for more information for how to report repairs in a private tenancy

Your landlord must meet safety standards

Landlords have legal obligations to ensure the safety of tenants.

They must:

  • get a gas safety certificate for every appliance in the property
  • ensure that any necessary work identified by gas engineers is carried out
  • ensure furniture meet fire safety standards
  • ensure electrical equipment provided is safe.

Tenants can also ask landlords to fit and maintain carbon monoxide detectors – although these are not legal requirements, it is in the landlord's best interest as well as the tenants'.

Landlords of certain buildings that are occupied by more than one household (known as HMOs) have extra legal obligations to provide adequate fire precautions and means of escape from fire.

Your landlord must follow the rules on rent

Landlords have to tell their tenants when the rent is to be paid and how it should paid, for example by cash or cheque, or into a bank account. They can't refuse to accept the rent from their tenants. If your landlord refuses to accept your rent, keep trying to pay it and keep the money separate (for example, in a separate bank account) and get advice – use our directory to find a local adviser.

Rent can be increased but only at certain times during the tenancy and only in certain circumstances. These depend on the type of tenancy you have and what your agreement says about when the rent can be increased.

If the rent is paid weekly, private landlords have to provide a rent book.

Landlords must give tenants certain information

Details of letting agents

All landlords have to give their tenants their name and a UK contact address. If the property is managed by a letting or property agent, they must also provide you with the landlord's full name and address. Your landlord should also tell you what fees are charged by agents.

If you haven't received this information, contact your landlord – do this in writing if you can, and send your letter by recorded delivery. Keep a copy of the letter. If you don't get a reply in writing within 21 days of them receiving your letter, the landlord is committing a criminal offence.

Your next step could be to report your landlord to your local council's tenancy relations office, who can get involved in disputes between landlord and tenants and can even prosecute the person who does not provide this information.

Energy performance certificates

Your landlord or letting agent should give you an Energy Performance Certificates before you move into a new property. This will show you how energy efficient a property is.

Your landlord must follow the correct procedure when they want you to leave

The specific legal procedure that has to be followed to evict a tenant depends on the type of tenancy and the reasons for the eviction, but most most landlords will have to give at least some written notice and get a court order to evict their tenants.

If a landlord tries to force a tenant to leave without following the correct procedure they may be carrying out an illegal eviction – this is a criminal offences, which can lead to fines or imprisonment. 

Last updated: 1 January 2014