The Private Sector Housing Team offers advice, assistance and support to all tenants. This includes tenants of private landlords and Housing Associations.
If your home has items of disrepair you should contact your landlord to let them know that you have a problem. Your landlord may need to visit to have a look and they may also send a tradesperson to give them an estimate to put things right.
If your problem doesn’t get fixed in a reasonable amount of time you should contact your landlord again. If your landlord continues not to do the work then you should contact the Private Sector Housing Team.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that your home is a safe and healthy place to live.
Damp and mould
If you are experiencing damp and mould problems, you may find the following information on the Shelter website useful.
As a renter, your responsibility is to ventilate correctly and to heat your home appropriately so that mould can't build up over time. In turn, your landlord shouldn't make unreasonable demands of you.
Advice on dealing with condensation and mould can also be found in the leaflet on the following link. Dealing with Condensation and Mould
Tenants in rental accommodation who think they have a problem with damp and mould in their home should report this to their landlords.
Whose responsibility it is to resolve damp problems isn't always a clear cut matter, as it can be difficult to determine the cause. Citizen's Advice has more guidance regarding renters' rights in damp accommodation.
If your problems persist then you can seek advice from the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.
If you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy, that started after 6 April 2007, and have paid a deposit, your landlord must put it into a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.
If your home has gas appliances your landlord will need to get a new Landlords Gas Test Certificate every year. These can only be provided by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
Further advice on gas safety for tenants can be found on the HSE website.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 make it compulsory for landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified electrician at least once every five years (or sooner if recommended by the electrician) and to keep a copy of the inspection report.
This report must be provided to a tenant before occupancy, to any current tenant within 28 days of the test, and to the Council if requested.
Where further investigation or remedial works are required by the report this must be carried out within 28 days of obtaining the report (or a lesser period if specified in the report). Landlords must provide written confirmation, from the electrician, that the work has been completed, along with the original inspection report, to each tenant and to the Council within 28 days.
Information on electrical safety around the home can be found on the following link: Electrical Safety First
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 are now law. The regulations come into force on 1 October 2022 and landlords must be compliant with the requirements set out in the Regulations from that date.
These new regulations mean that:
- All landlords must ensure at least one smoke alarm is provided on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
- All landlords must ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is provided in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
- All landlords will be legally obligated to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once they are informed and the alarms are found to be faulty.
These regulations are in place to ensure private and social tenants are safe in their homes. Any landlord found to be in breach could be fined up to £5,000.
More information can be found on the Government website Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
When an agent or owner advertises a property to let, they are required to have an EPC. This gives a property a score based on how energy efficient it is. No property with an EPC rating of F or G may be offered for rent unless the property is registered as exempt under the PRS Exemptions Register
You may consider your accommodation is too small for your household and that you may be living in overcrowded conditions. The Housing Act 1985 states the room sizes that are considered acceptable for the number of occupants within a household. For further information visit Shelter.
As a tenant, you have the right to:
- Live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair.
- Have your deposit returned at the end of the tenancy - provided you have met the terms of your tenancy agreement, haven’t damaged the property and have paid all your rent and bills.
- Know who is the landlord of your rental property.
- Live in the property with quiet enjoyment.
- Be provided with the energy performance certificate for the property.
- If applicable, be provided with a gas safety certificate.
For more information about your rights, please visit the Government Private Renting Website
It is your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy and pay all the bills on time. If you do not look after the property your Landlord may use this as a reason to evict you.
Your landlord must give you at least 24 hours notice that they want to come and visit your home. This can be by text, in writing or via a phone call. If the proposed time is not convenient you should suggest another more convenient time.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities, please visit the Government Private Renting Website
Your landlord must follow strict procedures if they want you to leave their property, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have and the terms of it. If they do not, they may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing you.
For more information on evictions, please visit the Government Private Renting Eviction website.
If you are facing eviction advice and support is available from our Housing Options team on the following link: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/homeless-or-threatened-homelessness
The Government has produced a series of 'how to' guides that include checklists for new and existing tenants, landlords and letting agents can be found here. You may also find the following sources of advice useful:
Letting Agents Redress Scheme
It is a legal requirement for all letting agents and property managers in England to belong to one of two Government approved redress schemes.
This requirement means that tenants and landlords with agents in the private rented sector and leaseholders and freeholders dealing with property managers in the residential sector will be able to complain to an independent person about the service they have received.
Further information visit Shelter
Registering domestic appliances
Occasionally, faults are identified that require a product recall or a modification to ensure that the appliance does not present a fire risk. However, it can be very difficult for manufacturers to trace affected products and alert users to the risks posed if their contact details were not recorded at the time of purchase, or soon afterwards by the owner registering the product. This is a particular problem if appliances are purchased second-hand or go through multiple users in their lifetime.
By taking some simple measures, owners of such appliances can be sure that they will be notified of any product recalls, providing peace of mind for their safety. Further information and advice has can be found at: www.registermyappliance.org.uk