Private landlords or housing associations are responsible for repairs to homes rented to tenants.
Tenants are responsible for keeping their home in a good state of repair including:
- minor repairs such as changing fuses and light bulbs, keeping your home reasonably clean, not causing any damage, using fixtures and fittings properly
- informing your landlord of any repairs that are needed
- providing access to have any repair work done
- having a duty of care to your visitors.
- repairing and maintaining your own appliances or anything that you have had installed
Your tenancy agreement may outline other responsibilities, e.g. if you are responsible for decorating your home.
Your landlord cannot include a term in the tenancy agreement that passes responsibilities for repairs to the tenant.
Tenancy deposit protection
If a property is rented on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, landlords must place a tenant’s deposit, even when paid by someone else, in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.
Read more on Gov.UK - tenancy protection page
Landlords must return the deposit within 10 days of agreeing how much is to be returned.
Where there is a dispute between the landlord and tenant, the deposit will be protected in the tenancy deposit scheme until it is resolved.
If the landlord cannot be contacted, the tenant can raise a dispute with the tenancy deposit scheme who will investigate.
If landlords have not used a tenancy deposit scheme, tenants can apply to a local county court.
Where a court determines the deposit was not protected, they can order the person holding the deposit to either repay it to the tenant or pay it into a custodial tenancy deposit scheme bank account within 14 days.
The court may also order the landlord to pay the tenant three times the deposit amount within 14 days of making the order.
Find the right court or tribunal
Section 8 notice to quit
A Section 8 notice to quit or possession notice is served under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 on the tenant by a landlord wishing to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an assured shorthold tenancy.
A section 8 notice can only be issued to a tenant who has breached the terms laid out in the tenancy agreement, for example, has rent arrears. The landlord cannot evict the tenant without first obtaining an order for possession from a court.
Section 21 notice to quit
A Section 21 notice to quit is served under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 by a landlord wishing to regain possession of a property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy.
The landlord is able to issue the tenant with a section 21 notice without giving any reason for ending the tenancy agreement.
A landlord has the legal right to retain possession at the end of a tenancy but must follow the correct legal procedure, which includes serving a section 21 notice in writing.
Harassment or illegal eviction
The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 protects people living in residential property against harassment and illegal eviction, making it an offence to:
- act in a way likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of a tenant or anyone living with the tenant
- persistently withdraw or withhold services for which the tenant has a reasonable need to live in the premises as a home
Harassment may include the withdrawal of water, gas or electricity services, withholding keys, threats and physical violence.
If your landlord tells you that you must leave and the above eviction notices have not been served do not leave, you should immediately contact the council for advice.
You may also wish to contact a solicitor at the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter, providing full details of any incidents and people involved, including witnesses.
We will try first to resolve the problem by speaking to the person involved or will seek legal advice.
If this fails we will consider if there is enough evidence for a prosecution for unlawful eviction or harassment.
Any prosecution will be in the name of the council and the tenant and any other witnesses may be required to give evidence in court.