FAQs - Landlord responsibilities to tenants, 2023

What are your responsibilities and duties as a landlord today?

Understandably there's a lot of conversation regarding the government's 'fairer private rented sector' white paper. The proposal for renters reform provides new measures to ensure decent, well looked-after homes are available for rent. It is intended to provide greater protections and powers for tenants to challenge poor practice and unjustified rent increases and it forms part of a package of wider reforms. The white paper illustrates how the government plans to deliver its claims to "raise the bar on quality and making this new deal a reality for Renters".

We will report on these matters including the new 'Decent Homes standards' as and when they are confirmed. And as we are able to determine how both our landlords and tenants may be impacted. 

But let's confirm what the responsibilities of landlords are now in 2023.

Can I let my property to anyone?

No is the short answer. Landlords in England must check that all people aged 18 or over have the right to rent before the start date of the tenancy agreement. There are 2 types of right-to-rent checks that will ensure a statutory defense against prosecution - a check using Identity Verification Technology via the services of an identity service provider, or a check via the Home Office online checking service. You as a landlord can’t insist on which option a tenant chooses to prove the right to rent but not everyone can use the online service. It should be noted that a manual document-based check will not protect the landlord against potential prosecution.

click here for right to rent checks information

What deposits can I take?

Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, the amount of money you can request as a deposit from a tenant is capped at - 

  • No more than five weeks’ rent if the annual rent is less than £50,000

  • No more than six weeks’ rent if the annual rent exceeds £50,000

  • If you take a holding deposit from your tenant, this is capped at no more than one week’s rent.

What are the current Deposit Protections and fees?

When renting out your property, you have a duty of care to your tenant’s deposit and must protect it in a government-approved scheme. At the end of the tenancy, you should return your tenant’s deposit in full, or make a formal request to make any deductions for damage or unpaid rent. If your tenant disagrees with your proposed deductions, your deposit protection scheme will provide a mediation service. 

These are The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), or Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL).

beautiful new bathroom
What property maintenance is a Landlord responsible for?

Landlords are charged with keeping their let property in good repair. The includes the structure and exterior - the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors, basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework, water, and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters. The landlord is also responsible for some repairs in common parts of the building - for example, entrance halls and stairs.

These repair responsibilities can not be removed from the tenancy agreement. A landlord is not allowed to pass on the cost of any repair work to the tenant which is their responsibility.

The landlord also has a duty to ensure the tenant's safety, click here for all of the current rules and legislation including - 

  • Vital fire risk, smoke, and carbon monoxide regulations

  • Electrical equipment testing

  • Gas safety regulations

  • Minimum energy performance

  • Property inspections

Click here for full legislation details

What if your property isn’t safe to live in?

If the home isn’t safe to live in, it might be ‘unfit for human habitation’ - this includes shared parts of the building like entrance halls and stairs. As a landlord, you are required to make sure the property is fit for human habitation. Here are the common examples - 

  • A serious problem with damp or mould

  • The property gets much too hot or cold

  • There are too many people living in it

  • the property is infested with pests like rats or cockroaches

  • No safe water supply

  • Negligence - this is generally 'causing injury or damage as a result of careless or negligent behaviour' essentially not ensuring the above.

The above can be cited as a 'Statutory nuisance'. A landlord mustn't cause a statutory nuisance. A statutory nuisance happens when the tenant's home is in such a state as to be harmful to health or is a nuisance. Local authorities generally take action against landlords where there's a statutory nuisance.

What is a 'Private nuisance'?

A private nuisance happens when something in another property or in a common part of a building owned by a landlord, affects the use and enjoyment of the tenant's home. For example, if the landlord hasn't maintained pipes in the roof space of a block of flats, and water leaks into a tenant's home causing damage. In this instance, the tenant could take action against the landlord based on a private nuisance.

HMO properties
Do I need an HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) license? 

In Bristol yes, you will need a mandatory HMO license if you're renting out a property that has five or more people from two or more households. Shared toilets, bathrooms, or cooking facilities. Click here for details.

As a landlord of an HMO, you will have extra legal responsibilities on fire and general safety, water supply and drainage, gas and electricity, waste disposal, and general upkeep of the HMO.


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