Rights and responsibilities
Once you have set up a tenancy, or if you already have a tenant in your property, you will be under an obligation to keep it maintained properly.
Your tenant also has responsibilities, normally found in the tenancy agreement.
Both parties therefore have responsibilities as well as rights.
Your tenant will have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property. That is, once they move in it is their home and they will have the right not be disturbed without good reason or without prior notice.
They are also under the obligation to use the property in a tenant-like manner. In other words they must not wilfully damage anything and keep the property in the same condition it was given to them (with allowances made for reasonable wear and tear, as parts of a building will always become slightly worn with day to day use).
They are also generally expected to carry out small maintenance jobs themselves, such as changing light bulbs or screwing a hinge back onto a kitchen unit that has become loose.
The next section has more details on what you will need to do to keep the property maintained under the landlord’s responsibilities.
Maintaining your property
We believe that landlords should be proactive in keeping their properties to a good standard.
This means that you should arrange property inspections at regular intervals; possibly three times a year for a family house and more frequently for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), which will have a number of unrelated people living in them. These timescales are suggested but you will need to decide how often you should visit to inspect.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require landlords to have property electrics checked at least every 5 years by a properly qualified person. The electrics must meet standards and landlords must give their tenants proof of this.
More frequent checks for HMOs
HMOs will almost always need more frequent checks than single household properties as you cannot be sure how different people will interact in your property (for example who will be responsible for keeping shared areas clean, or cleaning kitchens and bathrooms).
Generally single households will have their own rules within the family for cleaning and there will be high levels of interaction between occupants.
As HMO occupants generally won’t have that same level of interaction, Government has made an extra-legal requirement to ensure HMOs are being managed properly, known as HMO Management Regulations (PDF) which place a continuing duty on HMO managers to keep the property well managed.
Inspections and your tenants
You should give adequate notice to your tenants when carrying out these management or property inspection visits, and you will almost always need to give prior notice if you want to go into someone’s room or a single-family house.
A minimum of 24 hours' notice will always be required, and it is strongly suggested that this be done in writing so that you can prove you are trying to gain access the correct way.
The only exception will be for genuine emergency situations (for example to deal with a flood), in which case no prior notice is required.
We have prepared an inspection form that you can use when carrying out these periodic checks.
We also have Accommodation Standards which we expect landlords to adhere to and you can use these to identify when some part(s) of your property needs maintenance or renewing.
Documents and guidance
Additionally, you should refer to the following documents for specific areas of your property.