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Condition and repair of private rented properties

Landlords have a responsibility for keeping rental property safe and free from health hazards. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord is responsible for the upkeep and repair of:

  • the structure and exterior of the property
  • Water, electricity and sanitation (such as baths or sinks and any pipes and drains)
  • Gas and gas appliances (including pipes, flues and ventilation)
  • Space heating and water heating
  • any damage caused by their repairs

The landlord may also be responsible for any communal areas such as shared staircases or hallways.

This responsibility cannot be avoided by putting clauses in a tenancy agreement saying that repairs are the tenant's responsibility. More information is available at Renting out a property.


Responsibility for gas and electrical safety

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that any electrical equipment provided is safe throughout the duration of a tenancy and a Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out an annual safety check on all gas appliances and certify these are safe.  Unsafe appliances must be removed/replaced.  

Further information and guidance is provided at the links below. 


Requirement for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Private landlords are required by law to install working smoke  alarms in their properties.  Landlords must install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.  Landlords also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms, such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

For more information visit the National Landlords Association.


Fire safety

The LACORS guidance contains information for landlords on how to ensure adequate fire safety in certain types of residential accommodation.

Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS)

In order to protect the health and safety of tenants, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) helps Local Authorities to identify dwellings that do not meet health and safety standards.

The HHSRS handle 29 hazards relating to:

  • Dampness, excess cold/heat
  • Pollutants e.g. asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead
  • Lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
  • Poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
  • Accidents - falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds
  • Collisions, explosions, structural collapse

See the leaflet below for useful information on the causes of damp and mould growth and how you can prevent it from occurring. 

Enforcement action: Where a statutory notice is served under the provisions of Part 1 the Housing Act 2004, the property owner will be charged in accordance with S.49 of the Act. Costs are based on an officer hourly rate including on costs, but will typically be around £400.

A Local Land Charge will also be placed on the property when this charge becomes effective. Furthermore, if the remedial works specified on the schedule of works associated with the notice are not carried out, this may lead to prosecution, or works being carried out in default, which will be rechargeable and include a 15% administration charge.

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