Landlords and tenants each have their own specific set of responsibilities, and it’s important to make sure that you know who is expected to do what. Read our guide to learn about some of the obligations for each party, but please take professional advice before you make any important decisions.
What are landlords’ and tenants’ responsibilities?
Landlords have a series of important responsibilities to their tenants. It is vital that you fulfill them.
Landlords must ensure that their properties are safe. Gas equipment must be installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and must be inspected annually. Electrical systems and appliances must be safe.
There are also important fire safety obligations, including: smoke alarms on every storey; carbon monoxide alarms in at-risk rooms; accessible escape routes; and fire-safe furnishings and fittings where they are supplied by the landlord.
Landlords must provide information at the beginning of a tenancy, including: their full name and address, or those of the letting agent; the property’s Energy Performance Certificate; the How To Rent guide, which is available on the government’s website.
In the case of assured shorthold tenancies (by far the most prevalent kind), landlords must protect the deposit with one of the protection schemes approved by the government. Disputes at the end of the tenancy regarding deposits can be handled through the scheme.
Structural or exterior repairs, along with sanitary items, pipes, and drains, are the responsibility of the landlord. They must also look after wiring, heating and hot water, and ventilation. The chimney is also their responsibility if there is one present. Appliances supplied by the landlord must also be repaired by the landlord if they become faulty.
New rules instituted in October 2015 make it significantly more difficult for landlords to conduct so-called ‘revenge evictions’ in response to requests for repairs.
It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to deal with infestations of pests such as mice, rats, and bedbugs, in cases in which the infestation is caused by conditions in the home. If the infestation was present at the start of the tenancy, it is the landlord’s responsibility.
Landlords will usually require a court order if they want to evict a tenant. The rules regarding evictions are complex, but more information (designed for tenants but also suitable for landlords) is available from Shelter.
Tenants are obliged to pay their rent on time, even in the event of a dispute with the landlord. Rent may be due weekly or monthly, depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Tenants must also pay any other charges specified in the tenancy agreement. This most commonly includes Council Tax and utility bills.
Repairs are the responsibility of the tenant in the event that they are necessary because of the tenant’s own actions or those of their family or friends. Note that this applies only to damage beyond ‘fair wear and tear’. Landlords’ repair responsibilities are explained in the previous section.
Tenants must take reasonable care of the property, for example by turning off the water in the event that they leave the property vacant for a period of cold weather.
Subletting is generally not permitted, unless expressly allowed for in the tenancy agreement.
Landlords outside the UK
If a tenant’s landlord lives outside the UK, they may be required to deduct tax from their rent. Further details of this requirement are available here.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy - this will generally be specified in the tenancy agreement. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord may be entitled to deduct money from the tenant’s deposit if it is not as clean as it was when they moved in. Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to take photographs at the beginning and end of the tenancy in order to avoid potential disputes.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to deal with a pest infestation only in cases in which it is caused by the tenant’s actions, for example failing to take out rubbish.