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 safe to live in and free from health and safety hazards.

Hazards can include:

  • 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

If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), your landlord must follow extra rules around health and safety.

Gas safety

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

Your landlord must:

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

Electrical safety

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

Fire safety

Most landlords must comply with fire safety requirements. This includes providing smoke detectors, and in some homes, carbon monoxide alarms.

Landlords of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) have to comply with extra fire safety laws.

Safety of furniture and appliances

Your landlord must make sure furniture and appliances supplied are safe and fit to use.

Report repairs in private rented homes

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

Landlords are responsible for carrying out most repairs after you have reported the problem. Allow your landlord a reasonable amount of time to do the repairs.

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

Complain to the council about housing standards

If your landlord refuses to deal with conditions that put your health and safety at risk, you can complain to your local council's environmental health team.

The environmental health team can use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System to assess your home for hazards.

The council can take enforcement action against your landlord if necessary. In some cases, the council can do the work and recover the cost from your landlord.

Eviction if you ask for repairs

Some landlords may prefer to evict tenants rather than do repairs. This is known as a 'revenge eviction'.

If you are an assured shorthold tenant, you may have some protection against a revenge eviction.

Rented housing standards for homeless people

If you apply to the council as homeless and you qualify for long-term housing, 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.

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.

Last updated 15 Mar 2018 | © Shelter

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