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What are the landlord’s responsibilities?

by | Apr 17, 2023

Home $ Property Management for landlords $ Rent from Private Landlords Not Agents $ What are the landlord’s responsibilities?

Landlord responsibilities are often talked about but what exactly are they? In this article we go over the responsibilities you should take on as a landlord including the general responsibilities including entering a property and things like that.

Also, there are more important responsibilities that refer to a tenant’s safety too

Just like you expect a tenant to be a good tenant with a great landlord reference proving they will take care of your property, a tenant will want to know they are being taken care of in the same way and a landlord has taken responsibility for their safety.

What are the responsibilities landlords have around tenants?

There are many responsibilities that a landlord has during a tenancy. Some of which are widely related to safety whereas others are more because tenants want to live in a nice environment. For instance, they may ask a landlord to replace a kitchen but a landlord isn’t necessarily obliged to do this if they aren’t in breach of their tenancy agreement.

What information regarding the start of the tenancy?

If a landlord is doing their job correctly, they should give a tenant a copy of the energy performance certificate of the building as well as a copy of the gas safety certificates for applicants within the property.

In addition to this, a copy of the how to rent guide must be supplied at the start of the tenancy as it gives tenants useful information about their tenancy and ensures that those who do not have access to the internet or aren’t tech savvy are still able to get the right tenancy information.

On top of this, throughout the tenancy, it is a landlord’s job to make sure that a copy of the energy performance certificates, electrical installation condition reports or the gas safety certificates are given to a tenant within 30 days if the tenant asks for it.

Tenancy deposits

In a tenancy agreement, the landlord has the responsibility to deal with tenancy deposits too and they have the responsibility to tell tenants about the rules about deposits and also collect a deposit from a tenant too.

This is because the landlord must protect the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme rather than collecting the deposit themself (unless the landlord is in a lodging agreement with a tenant).

If a deposit was told to be protected by a landlord but it wasn’t then the tenant has the right to claim compensation from the landlord and you, as a landlord, may actually lose your right to evict a tenant.

The local authority may be able to step in and give a landlord a six month ban from evicting any tenants, even if they aren’t paying rent. So, it is in a landlord’s best interest to make sure they are taking responsibility.

A lanlord's sign showing their health and safety responsibility

What responsibility do landlords have around repairs?

A landlord is responsible for all, if not most of repairs in a home. This means things like repairing the floorboards in a house must be accounted for as well as things like repairing appliances in the home that are promised to be part of the tenancy agreement.

A landlord and a tenant should check their property inventory to make sure that they are both taking care of what they promised to be responsible for in terms of their tenancy agreement if you are unsure.

On top of this, it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that they give at least 24 hours notice before coming into a property to conduct repairs. Just because it is a landlord’s right to repair items does not mean they have the right to come into a property at any time with this excuse.

As well as this, if a tenant cannot allow a landlord into a property on a certain date, the landlord has to show a reasonable effort to work with the tenant to find a suitable time where they can conduct repairs.

We have some useful guides on repairs such as the cost of changing locks and how to reduce them if you’re struggling with keeping up with repairs as a landlord.

Health and safety

In terms of health and safety, there is a gas safety check that must occur in a property every year and this is the landlord’s responsibility to keep up to date no matter what. 

This responsibility can be passed down to someone operating on behalf of the landlord but ultimately, if they were to not adhere to the safety regulations of the property then it would still be the landlord’s fault.

It is also important to ensure that the electrics in a property are safe too by doing an EICR every five years as this is deemed a time when electrics could become faulty or there could be faults in the wiring.

Finally, in some types of property such as HMO you may have to take on the responsibility to install things like smoke alarms and make sure that all furniture is fire proof but you can find out more about HMO regulations here.

Gaining access to a property

In order for tenants to live peacefully in their home, they must be able to have quiet enjoyment. This is known as their right to be able to live in a property without disturbance from their landlord so it is the landlord’s responsibility to exercise this.

In addition, if the landlord does feel the need to access a property because there are of course legitimate reasons for this to colour, they must use the right amount of notice and be able to issue this notice to a tenant.

A landlord must give at least 24 hours notice and the notice has to be because of a situation like repairs being needed to be done on a property but a tenant can still attempt to rearrange a visit like this within reason.

Nonetheless, landlords must understand that in the case of emergencies, they can access a property that is theirs without the permission from a tenant as it is their responsibility to keep a tenant safe too. 

So, for things like there being crime in a property or for severe emergencies such as a gas leak or a fire, a landlord or someone working on behalf of the landlord has the right and responsibility to access a property right away.

Applying rent increases

Rent increases (or section 13) must be applied in the right way and is a responsibility landlords have to take if they want to raise the amount of rent they are charging a tenant.

It is not mandatory that a landlord does but over the duration of a longer tenancy, it is most likely that a landlord will end up increasing rent over time as the price of rents change and the demand fluctuates for property.

In terms of responsibility, a landlord cannot issue a rent increase more than once every year and they cannot make the rent increase more than what is deemed fair and reasonable according to other houses or flats of the same calibre in the same area.

For instance, if a tenant is given a rent increase that is way above other property that is in close vicinity to them with the same amount of amenities and bedrooms etc., then it is within their rights to contest this rent increase.

In a case like this, a landlord will not have been following their responsibility as it is against the law to issue a rent increase that is unfair in this manner.

However, it is worth noting that there is some level of subjectivity when it comes to determining if a rent increase is fair or not. 

So, landlord’s should consult with a solicitor or a property expert if they want to make sure they are being responsible with their section 13 notices. Not all cases of rent increases are that clear and there could be a legitimate case for a rent increase even if a tenant disagrees.

A house that a landlord is responsible for

The rules around eviction

Eviction is changing in the near future as no fault evictions are being abolished. For more information on this click here. This means it will become harder for landlords to evict tenants without a reason.

So, the only ways for a landlord to easily evict a tenant will be if they have broken the terms of their tenancy agreement like if they have rent arrears or they are damaging the property that belongs to the landlord.

Because of these tight restrictions, it can be unclear what kind of responsibilities landlords have to follow when it comes to eviction so you may have to refer to our guide on how to operate as a landlord without an estate agent.

Ultimately, there could be disputes or disagreements with a tenant, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the tenant isn’t complying with the tenancy agreement based on the agreement they had in place.

For example, not all landlords put in their tenancy agreement that it is the tenant’s responsibility to do professional cleaning and this is a disagreement that often arises at the end of a tenancy.

Also, it may be unclear if it is the landlord or the tenant who should pay service charges in cases where there is a leasehold property for instance.

So, landlord’s must take on the responsibility of correctly making sure there has in fact been a breach of a tenancy agreement before evicting a tenant and then they must make sure they give a tenant the right notice to leave.

The length of this notice can vary depending on the grounds of eviction (section 8 or section 21) and the severity of the breach of the tenancy agreement too. 

For example, a tenant having a pet in a property when they shouldn’t can be an offence that warrants an eviction under section 8 but a landlord will have to go to court to evict them as it is not a ground for a mandatory eviction.

Landlord certificate responsibilities

While there are a lot of rules around eviction, deposits and access to a property, there are some safety and maintenance requirements that must be done all the time around the clock in order to legally rent out a property.

Energy performance certificates

Energy performance is important because it shows how energy efficient a precept is and this information is crucial for tenants to understand what the energy bills will look like in the home they are renting and what amenities will be available to them.

It will tell a tenant if there are things like double glazing, underfloor heating or solar panels in a property and also list anything bad or that could be improved on in the property that a tenant may want to avoid.

Fortunately, landlords can use their allowable expenses to make sure they are meeting these requirements and they can also find a lot of information from landlord associations on how to reduce these costs.

A house that has it's responsibilities taken care of

Electrical safety certificates

Electrical Installation Condition Reports will be done on a property every five years and will give an electrical safety certificate that will either pass or fail. This is mandatory and the responsibility of a landlord to let out the report legally in the UK.

Gas safety certificates 

Gas cookers, boilers, any other gas appliances and the piping that goes with it will need to be assessed not every five years like electrical devices but every year. This goes to show how important something like gas safety is.

Without it, you could face things like gas explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning which means taking responsibility for doing this as a landlord not only will likely penalise you as a landlord in the eyes of the law but could also put the lives of your tenants at risk.

Wrapping things up

A landlord is responsible for all, if not most of repairs in a home. This means things like repairing the floorboards in a house must be accounted for as well as things like repairing appliances in the home that are promised to be part of the tenancy agreement.

A landlord and a tenant should check their property inventory to make sure that they are both taking care of what they promised to be responsible for in terms of their tenancy agreement if you are unsure.

On top of this, it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that they give at least 24 hours notice before coming into a property to conduct repairs. Just because it is a landlord’s right to repair items does not mean they have the right to come into a property at any time with this excuse.

As well as this, if a tenant cannot allow a landlord into a property on a certain date, the landlord has to show a reasonable effort to work with the tenant to find a suitable time where they can conduct repairs.

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andreas gerazis

Andreas Gerazis

Experienced landlord

Andreas is a certified landlord with extensive knowledge about the UK property market as he has been actively investing for half a decade. Founder of the first three-in-one property management software, Lofti Proptech, Andreas has a brilliant understanding of the details surrounding what it takes to grow and run a thriving property portfolio.