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Advice for private tenants and landlords

Landlords are legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building: the roof, windows, doors, drains, gutters, baths, sinks, toilets, heating, hot water, damp and general building repairs. Damage caused by someone with no connection to the tenant must also be covered by the landlord - for example during a break-in or vandalism.

Tenants are responsible for minor jobs such as replacing fuses, or clearing a blocked sink. Tenants are also responsible for any damage caused by the tenant or their visitors.

Landlords are required to maintain a property to a reasonable stand and at least meet the minimum housing standard.

Reporting repairs

Tenants should let the landlord know as soon as possible when a repair is needed. Landlords should endeavour to address the repair as soon as possible and in a reasonable amount of time. There are no hard and fast rules about how long work should take - it depends on the urgency of the job. A blocked toilet should be repaired much more quickly than a sticking window for example. If the repair isn't done in a reasonable time, the tenant can complain to us, and we will investigate the matter.

Gas safety

Carbon monoxide poisoning in the home accounts for approximately 50 recorded deaths each year within the UK. These incidents are normally caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed.

The law states that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants must be properly installed and maintained to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Landlords must ensure that gas appliances including central heating systems, heaters, fires, cookers and gas pipework and flues are checked at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Tenants must be provided with a record of this.  

Electrical safety

It is an offence for a landlord to supply unsafe electrical equipment. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the electrical installation within the property is in a safe and satisfactory condition.

The landlord is legally obliged to arrange for a competent electrician to check the electrical installation every 5 years.

Fire safety

Landlords are required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a fixed combustion appliance other than a gas cooker. Landlords must check that alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy.

Further guidance for landlords

Enforcement of the regulations is the responsibility of the local housing authority, which can require landlords to fit alarms. If the landlord fails to meet their legal obligations with the installation of alarms, the local housing authority has the power to arrange for them to be fitted. There is a power to levy a penalty charge on the landlord to a maximum of £5000. The new regulations will apply to all 'specified tenancies' - residential premises where a person or persons have a right to occupy the premises and rent is payable. The regulations specifically exclude registered social landlords from these obligations. Certain types of properties and arrangements are also excluded such as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), lodgers, long leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices.

Please refer to the renting out a property page on (opens new window) for further guidance.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Properties occupied by more than one household, known as a 'house in multiple occupation' or a 'HMO', must have adequate, and well-maintained fire alarms, extinguishers fire blankets, fire doors, fire escapes, escape routes and smoke or heat alarms. HMOs occupied by 5 or more people, from 2 or more households, need a licence to operate and are inspected by the council for safety standard checks.

Further information

Contact us

Private Sector Housing
Civic Centre

0191 433 2350