A tenancy agreement gives tenants both right and responsibilities.
Everyone living in rented accommodation has the right to a warm and secure home which is in good repair and free from health and safety hazards. Landlords are required by law to ensure their property meets the legal standard, which is covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Equally, you have a responsibility as a tenant to take care of the property, ensure your rent and bills are paid on time and that its internal decoration, fixtures and fittings are looked after. You're also responsible for keeping the property properly heated and ventilated to prevent burst pipes in the winter, and to avoid condensation and dampness. Minor maintenance such as checking your fire alarms work and replacing light bulbs are also a tenant’s job.
As a tenant you should report any repairs or problems to your landlord or letting agent without delay, and allow them a reasonable opportunity to resolve them. Booklets How to Rent and How to Rent a Safe Home are available from the government.
We can potentially take action against landlords who are not fulfilling their responsibilities. However, we always ask that you attempt to resolve the issues yourself first. Unless you can prove that you've first attempted to resolve the issues by contacting your landlord first, we're unlikely to be able to take any further action.
New guidance has been released to enable tenants to understand their rights when it comes to renting a privately owned property.