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Duties of the Landlord

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If you are a tenant, your landlord has certain obligations. The rules and procedures vary depending on the type of tenancy you have, but certain basic rules are always the same.

If you have a licence rather than a tenancy, you may not have all of these rights. Get advice if you're not sure whether you're a tenant or a licensee.

Landlord's responsibilities include:

* Not disturbing their tenants

* Following the correct procedure if they want the tenant to leave

* Carrying out certain kinds of repairs

* Meeting safety standards

* Following the rules on rent

* Giving the tenant certain information


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Not disturbing their tenants

Landlords may need access to the accommodation to inspect it and do repairs, but they must let you live in your home without unnecessary interference. If you are a tenant then your landlord can't come in whenever they feel like it and should give proper notice and arrange a suitable time if they need to visit. The amount of notice they have to give might be set out in your agreement. If you have a licence, your right to restrict your landlord from coming in is more limited, so get advice before you do anything.

You can ask your landlord to stop entering your home without your permission. It may be classed as harassment if s/he persists.

You may even be able to change the locks if you want to. However, this doesn't apply to:

* excluded occupiers (eg. people lodging in the landlord's home, and most people living in hostels), or

* certain occupiers with basic protection (eg. students in halls of residence, and people who have to live in their home in order to do their job).

Following the correct procedure if they want the tenant to leave

Most landlords will have to give a written notice and get a court order to evict their tenants. However, this is not necessary if you are an excluded occupier. The specific legal procedure has to be followed depends on the type of tenancy and the reasons for the eviction.

If a landlord tries to force a tenant to leave without following the correct procedure they may be carrying out an illegal eviction. Similarly, landlords are not allowed to harass their tenants (for example by coming round too often or at unsuitable times). Both of these are serious criminal offences, which can lead to fines or imprisonment.

Carrying out certain kinds of repairs

Landlords are responsible for most repairs to the exterior or structure of a property. This means that problems with the roof, chimneys, walls, guttering and drains are the responsibility of the landlord. Landlords are also responsible for keeping the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity in safe working order.

Tenants often have responsibility for some minor repairs and maintenance. This usually relates to:

* internal decorations

* gardens

* furniture or equipment


Meeting safety standards

Landlords have legal obligations to ensure the safety of tenants. They must:

* get a gas safety certificate for every appliance in the property. These must be issued by a CORGI registered gas engineer and renewed every year

* ensure that any necessary work identified by gas engineers is carried out

* ensure furniture meet fire safety standards

* ensure electrical equipment provided is safe

Tenants can also ask landlords to fit and maintain carbon monoxide detectors. Although these are not legal requirements, it is in the landlord's best interest as well as the tenants'.

Landlords of certain buildings that are occupied by more than one household (eg. houses split into bedsits) have extra legal obligations to provide adequate:

* fire precautions

* means of escape from fire.

Following the rules on rent

Landlords have to inform tenants when the rent is to be paid, and they should tell you how they want it paid. They can't refuse to accept the rent from their tenants. If a landlord does so, the tenants should keep trying to pay it and keep the money separate (for example in a separate bank account) and get advice.

Rent can be increased, but only at certain times during the tenancy and only in certain circumstances. These depend on the type of tenancy you have and what your agreement says about when the rent can be increased.

If the rent is paid weekly, private landlords have to provide a rent book.



Giving the tenant certain information

All landlords have to give their tenants their name and a UK contact address. If the property is managed by a letting or property agent, they must also provide you with the landlord's full name and address.

Any requests should be made in writing, you should also keep a copy of the letter and send it by recorded delivery, if you want proof of postage. If you don't get a reply in writing within 21 days of them receiving your letter, the landlord is committing a criminal offence.

Your next step could be to report your landlord to your local council's tenancy relations officer (TRO). TROs can get involved in disputes between landlord and tenants and can even prosecute the person who does not provide this information. You should also be able to get your landlord's details from the Land Registry. You can do this online by filling in a form and paying a small fee.



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