• Services
  • Sectors
  • Our Team
  • About us
  • Insights & Legal
  • Legal Q&As
  • Useful information
  • Contact us
  • Careers
  • 18 Jan 2023

    What are a landlord's legal responsibilities?

    Awaab Ishak was a two-year old boy who died in December 2020 due to a respiratory condition caused by the mould that was present in his families one-bedroom housing association flat. His tragic death sparked discussions around what landlord’s legal responsibilities are to their tenants and whether there are enough punishments in place for ‘bad’ landlords. 

    What are a landlord's legal responsibilities?

    landlord's legal responsibilities

    Ensuring tenants are safe

    Landlords must take measures to meet the following safety standards:

    • A smoke alarm on each floor of the property
    • A carbon monoxide detector in rooms with a coal fire or wood burning stove
    • Every gas appliance must have a gas safety certificate
    • Furniture must be safe and display appropriate labels
    • All electrical devices must be safe to use – an installation survey can be completed, or the items can be PAT tested
    • Water must be fully working and protected against diseases like Legionnaires

    Read more about the requirements under the Housing Act 2004 for the health and safety of tenants here.

    Carrying out repairs

    As the landlord of the property, the responsibility of property repairs falls on you. This includes repairs to:

    • Electrical wiring
    • Gas pipes and boilers
    • Heating and hot water
    • Chimneys and ventilation
    • Sinks, baths, toilets, pipes, and drains
    • Common areas including entrance halls and stairs
    • The structure and exterior of the building e.g., walls, stairs, bannisters, roof, external doors, windows.

    You may also be required to redecorate, if necessary, after the work is complete.

    Energy Performance

    The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a vital part of a landlord’s obligations and needs to be made available to prospective tenants as soon as the property goes up for rent. 

    Landlords in England must also ensure that an electrical inspection is arranged and carried out every five years under the regulations.

    Protecting the deposit

    The tenants deposit must be put in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme by the landlord if the property is rented on an assured shorthold tenancy. 

    Deposits are required to be returned in full at the end of the tenancy unless there is a dispute about damage caused to the property or unpaid rent due.

    Assessing the right to rent

    As a landlord, it is your responsibility to check that your tenant has a right to live in the UK, as if you fail to do this you could face a big fine or even in some cases be imprisoned. 

    You need to:

    • Check which adults will use your property as their main home
    • Ask them for original documents that prove they can live in the UK
    • Check the documents to see if they have a right to live in your property
    • Check that each tenants’ documents are genuine and belong to them
    • Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date that you checked

    Click here if the tenant does not have the right documents to assess whether they can rent.

    Information for the tenant

    Your tenant’s must have your, as the landlord, full name and address or details of the letting agent you work with. 

    New tenants should also receive a copy of the Government’s How to Rent guide that gives advice about what to do before, during and at the end of their tenancy.  

    Changes to rent

    You must specify to tenants when and how their rent should be paid and if this a weekly payment, a rent book should be provided to them. 

    If you, the landlord, are thinking of changing the rent amount, you must do so in accordance with the rules on rent as they vary depending on the type of tenancy you have.

    Read more about rent rules here.

    Accessing the property

    As a landlord you will likely need to access the property from time to time for reasons such as repairs, inspections etc. However, it is important that you let your tenants enjoy their home without too much interference from yourself. 

    You should also give reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time with the tenants to access the property.

    Rules of Eviction

    Eviction can be a complicated legal matter that takes time to carry out, but to simplify it, there are usually three stages for most private landlords:

    1. Notice
    2. Court action
    3. Eviction by bailiffs

    Read more about eviction notices here.


    If you are looking for help and advice about the duties you have as a landlord, call our offices or make an online enquiry today to speak to one of our experienced solicitors.

    Contact our team

    Contact Permission

    We would like to stay in touch with offers, news and event invitations. We will always treat your personal details with respect and we will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes. You can find details of our full privacy policy here.

    You can stop receiving updates at any time by clicking 'unsubscribe' at the bottom of our emails or by emailing enquiries@hegarty.co.uk

    Please let us know if you would like to hear from us:

    Stay up-to-date with Hegarty