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Landlord Responsibilities

On this page you will find a brief overview of some of the common responsibilities placed on private sector landlords with links to more detailed information where appropriate. The information is provided as guidance only. Should you require more detailed legal advice, you will need to instruct a solicitor or appropriate housing professional.

Right to rent checks - you must check that every person aged 18 or over who lives in (or is due to live in) one of your properties has the 'right to rent' in the UK. The checks need to be undertaken every time you let a property regardless of your tenants' nationality and/or background (for example, checks still need to be carried out if you are renting to a British Citizen who has lived in the UK their entire life). The 'right to rent' checks must be carried out whether you are renting a whole property, a property with shared facilities or a room in your home. You will need to obtain and verify relevant documentation and keep a record of the checks that you have undertaken. The process is relatively straight-forward and the government have published guidance for landlords which is available here.

Pre-tenancy Documents - you will need to provide tenants with certain information regarding the property that you let to them. Failure to provide the information may make it more difficult for you to evict your tenant using the S21 possession procedure (i.e. the 2-month, no fault ground for possession) and you may be liable to a fine. The information that must be provided is as follows:

· A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - you will need to make a copy of the certificate available to all prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity. The latest date on which the certificate should be provided is the date on which you give any written information about the property to a prospective tenant or on the date the prospective tenant views the property. You can click here to access the register of EPCs to see whether or not your property has an EPC. Landlords who fail to provide prospective tenants with a copy of the EPC may liable to a fine of up to £200;

· Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) - landlords are required to provide a copy of the existing GSC to a new tenant before they move in to the property. The certificate must be renewed at least every 12 months (with a copy of the new certificate being given to the tenant within 28 days). Landlords should keep a copy of each GSC for at least 2 years. Landlords who fail to adhere to the rules on GSCs may be committing a criminal offence resulting in imprisonment and/or a fine (which, in serious cases, can be unlimited). Click here for more detailed information on the requirements imposed on landlords;

· The booklet entitled 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England' - a copy of the most up to date version of this booklet must be provided to any new assured shorthold tenant. If the tenancy is subsequently renewed you will need to check to see if the booklet has been updated - if it has, you must provide your tenant with a copy of the new version of the booklet. Further guidance in respect of this matter can be found here.

Deposit Protection - if you take a damage deposit from (or on behalf of) your tenant, you must place the deposit in a deposit protection scheme and provide your tenant with certain information about this. If you fail to comply with the rules, your tenant may take action which could result in the deposit being returned to them. Additionally, you could be liable to pay the tenant up to three times the value of the damage deposit. Click here for more information about a landlord's obligations in connection with damage deposit payments.

Repairs - the vast majority of private sector landlords are responsible for some (but not all) repairs in their tenants' homes. As a minimum, landlords will be responsible for:

· The structure and exterior of the property;

· The equipment for supplying gas, water and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences); and

· Space and water heating

A landlord will be responsible for the above matters even if this is not stated in the tenancy agreement (for example, if a tenancy agreement states that the tenant is responsible for all repairs, landlords will still be responsible for the matters listed above). Some tenancy agreements make landlords responsible for more than the matters listed above - if this is the case, then you will be bound by what the tenancy agreement says. Click here for a more detailed guide on repairs.