In the UK, renting out a property is a common way to earn additional money, but it’s crucial to know your landlord’s duties. You should be aware of your legal rights and responsibilities, whether you’re a landlord or tenant.
The obligations of your landlord
They must comply with whatever is required of your landlord under your leasing agreement.
- The structure and exterior of your homes, such as the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering, external pipes, windows, and external doors,
- Basins, baths, sinks, and toilets, as well as their associated plumbing, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires, and fitted heaters
- Heating and hot water
- Any harm or damage they do by trying repairs.
Nothing in your leasing agreement can relieve you of these repair obligations. Additionally, your landlord is not permitted to charge you for any repairs that are their obligation. Common areas, such as stairwells in apartment buildings, are often the responsibility of your landlord. If you’re unsure, consult your lease.
Ensure you inform your landlord of any necessary repairs because they can only be made when they know of an issue.
If your house isn’t safe for you to live in
Your house may be deemed “unfit for human habitation” if it isn’t safe to live there; this includes common areas like stairwells and entry halls.
Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that your house is livable.
If your home, for instance,
- has a significant damp or mold problem,
- is too hot or cold,
- has too many occupants,
- is infested with pests like rats or cockroaches, or
- it lacks a safe water supply and may not be suited for human occupancy.
Whether the issue existed from the beginning of the tenancy or only developed later is irrelevant.
Any required repairs must be disclosed to your landlord. If a problem with a portion of the building that your landlord still controls, such as the roof or the lobby, they only have to fix it when they are aware of it.
If you caused the issue, your landlord is not required to ensure that your home is fit for human habitation. For example,
- if you neglected to use the extractor fan after taking a shower or
- engaged in unreasonable behavior, such as leaving candles burning while you are away.
Landlord’s obligations to you regarding safety
Your landlord is responsible for keeping the place you live in secure and free of threats to your health.
Your landlord must guarantee
- The installation and upkeep of the gas equipment are performed properly by a Gas Safe, licensed engineer.
- Every appliance and flue should undergo an annual gas safety inspection from a licensed engineer.
- Before you move into the house or within 28 days of the inspection, give you a copy of the gas safety check report.
- Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the electrical system, including the switches and light fixtures, is secure.
- They provide safe appliances, such as cookers and kettles.
Your landlord is required to:
- Abide by safety laws;
- Install smoke alarms on each floor and carbon monoxide detectors in any room that has solid fuel-burning equipment (for example, a coal fire or wood-burning stove)
- Verify that you always have access to escape routes.
- Ensure that the furnishings they provide are fireproof.
- If the home is a large residence with several occupants, provide fire alarms and extinguishers (HMO)
Health and safety inspections
Your council uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to ensure that the homes in its jurisdiction are secure for occupants. This entails checking your property for any potential dangers, such as uneven steps.
The council may opt to conduct an HHSRS inspection if you own a rental property if:
- your tenants have requested one;
- the council has conducted a study of nearby properties and believes your property might be hazardous.
The following taxes and national insurance premiums have to be paid by you:
- Tax on your rental income less your ongoing operating costs
- Class 2 National Insurance If managing real estate is considered operating a business,
- If the home you want to rent out is subject to a mortgage, your mortgage lender must approve.
Houses in multiple occupations (HMOs)
If you reside in an HMO, your landlord is legally required to take further measures to ensure your safety from fire and other hazards, the HMO’s general care, gas, and electricity use, water supply and drainage, and waste disposal.
Generally speaking, an HMO includes shared homes and flats, homes separated into bed-sitting rooms with common amenities, hostels, and bed and breakfast establishments that can house multiple households.
A tenant is responsible for:
- Paying the rent;
- Paying the gas, electric, and telephone bills if the landlord agreed;
- Maintaining the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and decoration;
- Make sure that neither they nor any members of their household or guests harass or bother the occupants of any adjacent or neighboring premises.
In general, it is your duty as a landlord to treat tenants fairly. Under the National Landlords Association’s Code of Practice (CoP), landlords must “always act in a fair, honest, and reasonable manner with all renters.” It entails keeping your property well-maintained and abiding by your legal duties as a landlord about deposits and paperwork. A letting agent on your behalf may accomplish some of these tasks. However, it is your duty as the landlord to see that your legal obligations are fulfilled.