What your landlord is responsible for
This content applies to England only.
Housing laws vary between England and Scotland. Get advice relating to Scotland
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.
It's important to remember that if you have a licence rather than a tenancy, you may not have all of these rights. Use our tenancy checker to check this and use our advice services directory to find an adviser in your area if you're still not sure.
Landlord has a responsibility not to disturb tenants
Landlords may need access to the accommodation to inspect it and do repairs but they must let you live in your home without unnecessary interference. If you are a tenant then your landlord can't come in whenever they feel like it, and should give proper 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 have a licence, your right to restrict your landlord from coming in is more limited, so get advice before you do anything.
You can ask your landlord to stop entering your home without your permission. It may be classed as harassment if the landlord persists.
You may even be able to change the locks if you want to. However, this doesn't apply to:
- excluded occupiers (eg people lodging in the landlord's home and most people living in hostels), or
- certain occupiers with basic protection (eg students in halls of residence and people who have to live in their home in order to do their job).
Protecting your deposit
Your landlord needs to pay your deposit into a Government approved deposit protection scheme, and return it to you at the end of your tenancy – unless there’s a dispute about your tenancy.
Following the correct procedure if they want the tenant to leave
Most landlords will have to give a written notice and get a court order to evict their tenants. However, this is not necessary if you are an excluded occupier. The specific legal procedure has to be followed depends on the type of tenancy and the reasons for the eviction.
If a landlord tries to force a tenant to leave without following the correct procedure they may be carrying out an illegal eviction. Similarly, landlords are not allowed to harass their tenants (for example, by coming round too often or at unsuitable times). Both of these are serious criminal offences, which can lead to fines or imprisonment.
Carrying 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
- furniture or equipment.
Check your agreement to see what it says.
Meeting safety standards
Landlords have legal obligations to ensure the safety of tenants.
- 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 (eg houses split into bedsits) have extra legal obligations to provide adequate fire precautions and means of escape from fire.
Following the rules on rent
Landlords have to inform tenants when the rent is to be paid and they should tell you how they want it paid. They can't refuse to accept the rent from their tenants. If a landlord does so, the tenants should 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.
Giving the tenant certain information
Details of property 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.
Any requests should be made in writing, you should also keep a copy of the letter and send it by recorded delivery, if you want proof of postage. 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.
You should also be able to get your landlord's details from the Land Registry. You can do this online by filling in a form and paying a small fee.
Energy performance certificates
Energy Performance Certificates should be given to you by your landlord or agent before you move into a new property. This will show you how energy efficient a property is.