Tenant responsibilities and safety
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.
You can find more information about your landlord’s responsibilities from our landlord responsibilities page, and the Shelter and Gov.uk websites.
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.
If you want to end your tenancy you should first check your tenancy agreement, which will say how much notice you need to give your landlord. If your landlord has informed you that they are ending your tenancy then you can find more out on the process that they need to follow at:
- Gov.uk - Private renting for tenants: tenancy agreements
- Citizen's advice - Ending your tenancy
- Shelter England - How to end your tenancy
- Shelter England - Possession and eviction
If you are worried about losing your home and being homeless, please contact our housing options team.