Housing standards in private rented homes

Conditions in a private rented home should meet minimum legal standards for health and safety as well as gas, fire and electrical safety.

Standards in your private rented home

Your home should be free from hazards which could cause you harm or make you ill.

It may be unsafe if it has:

  • a leaking roof or broken windows
  • damp, condensation or mould growth
  • no hot water or an inadequate water supply
  • blocked or leaking gutters, drainpipes and sewers
  • pests or vermin
  • faulty electrics
  • gas appliances that have not been recently serviced or maintained  

Find out more about health and safety standards in rented homes.

Extra rules apply to houses in multiple occupation, a type of shared housing.

Gas safety

Landlords have must make sure all the gas appliances they provide are safe to use.  

Your landlord must:

  • arrange a yearly check of all gas appliances by a qualified Gas Safe engineer
  • give you a copy of a gas safety record before you move in and within 28 days of each annual inspection

Find out about landlords' legal responsibilities for gas safety in rented homes.

Electrical safety

Your landlord must make sure that the wiring and any appliances they provide are safe to use when you move in and throughout the tenancy.

Find out about landlords' legal responsibilities for electrical safety in rented homes.

Fire safety

All furniture provided by the landlord must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

Landlords must also provide smoke detectors, and in some homes, carbon monoxide alarms.

Find out more about fire safety in the home.

Safety of furniture and appliances

Furniture and appliances supplied by your landlord must be safe and fit to use.

Find out more about the safety of furniture and appliances in your home.

How to check standards

When looking for a home to rent, visit properties in person and check their general condition. Check the safety features and furniture and fittings.

Always make an inventory to record details of the home you want to rent.

Report repairs in private rented homes

Landlords are legally responsible for carrying out repairs to rented properties. Most landlords are happy to fix repairs and other defects in their tenants' homes.

Contact your landlord to report problems if you are worried about the safety or state of repair of your rented home.

Allow your landlord a reasonable amount of time to start repairs.

Your landlord has the right to enter your home to carry out repairs as long as reasonable notice has been given.

It may be a condition of your tenancy that you have to report repair problems to your landlord as quickly as possible.

Find out more about who has responsibility for repairs.

How to complain about housing standards

If your landlord refuses to deal with repairs or hazards, you can complain to your local council's environmental health officer or private rented sector team.

The council can take action against landlords whose properties are unsafe or unhealthy to live in.

Environmental health can assess your home and take enforcement action against your landlord if necessary.

Find out more about complaining to your local council's environmental health officer.

Eviction if you ask for repairs

Some landlords may prefer to evict tenants rather than do repairs.

Get advice if you are worried this might happen.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Rented housing standards for homeless people

If you apply to the council as homeless and the council agrees to provide you with settled accommodation, it can make you an offer of a private rented tenancy.

The private rented tenancy must:

The landlord must take reasonable precautions to ensure fire safety and avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in the property.

This tenancy must also be available for at least one year and be suitable for you and the people you live with.

Get advice if you think your settled accommodation is unsuitable. An adviser may be able to help you ask the council to review its decision.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Last updated 25 Nov 2015 | © Shelter

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