Landlord rights and responsibilities
Whilst your tenant has obligations to pay their rent on time, pay the bills, take care of the inside of the property, be a good tenant and neighbour and report repairs, you - as a landlord - also have obligations.
A landlord’s obligations include protecting the deposit (see section below); not accessing the property unnecessarily or without prior permission and arrangement with the tenant; carrying out certain repairs, and making sure the property is safe to live in and free from hazards (see next sections).
It is usual for the tenancy agreement to set out the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.
Property condition and repairs
You are responsible for most repairs to the exterior or structure of the property including the roof, chimney, walls, guttering and drains. You also have responsibility for maintaining equipment that supplies water, gas and electricity.
Tenants have some responsibility for minor repairs and maintenance such as internal decorations, gardens, furniture and small DIY jobs such as changing plugs and lightbulbs.
You can't make your tenant responsible for doing or paying for large-scale repair work and you are responsible for carrying out repairs when they are needed.
Health and safety
You have legal obligations to ensure the safety of your tenants.
They include having a gas safety certificate for every appliance, ensuring any necessary work identified by gas engineers is carried out, any furniture meets fire safety standards and any electrical equipment provided is safe.
Your tenant can also ask you to fit and maintain a carbon monoxide detector. Although these are not legal requirements it is in your interest as well as the tenants.
GOV.UK website has more useful information on landlord responsibilities including health and safety.
For all assured shorthold tenancies that started after 6 April 2007 landlords must place any deposit paid into a tenancy deposit protection scheme. If you do not do this within 30 days of receiving the money and do not tell your tenant (or any relevant third party) which scheme it is protected with, you could be taken to court by your tenant and ordered to pay them compensation. It also means you can’t serve your tenant with a section 21 notice.
At the end of the tenancy you should return the tenant’s deposit to them if they have kept to the terms of the tenancy agreement, there is no damage to the property and their rent is up to date. Any undisputed monies must be returned within 10 days of the tenancy ending. For more information on deposit protection please contact the housing advice team or visit the GOV.UK website.