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Responsibilities for landlords

As a landlord, you must make sure your properties are safe and in good repair.


Covid-19 advice and guidance

The government has published advice and guidance to support landlords and agents with private rented properties during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As a landlord, you must follow:

  • Housing Acts
  • Environmental Protection Act
  • Landlord and Tenant Act

The law

As a landlord, you must follow all relevant legislation including:

  • planning and building control legislation
  • smoke and carbon monoxide regulations
  • Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act

If you’re not sure about your responsibilities as a landlord, we can give you advice on working with your tenants and the law, and meeting housing standards.

Working with your tenants

At the start of a tenancy, you should clearly explain what you and your tenants are responsible for. The government has published helpful information for landlords.

If your property needs major repairs, this is your responsibility.

You must provide your tenants with this checklist for renting, published by the government.

Inspecting properties

Our Private Sector Housing team uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) guidelines when inspecting properties.

The HHSRS is set out in Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004, and it assesses 29 housing hazards, the effect that each may have on the health and safety of current or future occupants, and the best way of dealing with them. Enforcement decisions are made using a three stage process:

  1. the hazard rating determined under HHSRS following government operating guidance and worked examples;
  2. whether the council has a duty or power to act, determined by the presence of a hazard above or below certain thresholds. If a hazard is a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety, it is a Category 1 hazard, and if it is less serious or urgent, it is a Category 2 hazard);
  3. the council’s judgement as to the most appropriate course of action to deal with the hazard, having regard to the options in statutory enforcement guidance.

We try to deal with problems informally at first, but if this is unsuccessful, we can require a landlord to carry out repairs and improvements to the property.

Where hazards are minor we can serve a hazard awareness notice to draw attention to a problem. Where an occupier is at immediate risk, we can take emergency action.

Damp and mould

We are placing a high degree of priority on damp and mould complaints following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak who died as a direct result of mould in his family home. We ask all landlords to treat complaints of damp and mould seriously and to investigate them immediately and carry out any remedial measures urgently. On our Advice for tenants page, we provide a link to the Shelter website and their advice on Damp and mould in rented homes.

This also provides useful advice for tenants as to what to expect from their landlord and the action they should be taking on receipt of a complaint.

Private sector housing enforcement policy

This policy sets out how we will respond to non-compliance, and it ensures consistency of approach so that landlords know what to expect from us. It provides clarity where we need to take enforcement action or legal proceedings. Our policy is currently being updated to reflect changes in legislation and will be available soon.

Civil penalty policy

A civil penalty is an alternative to prosecution under the Housing Act 2004. Our civil penalty policy is used in deciding when to impose a civil penalty notice and how we will determine the penalty amount.

Registering with a redress scheme

All lettings agents and property managers in England are required to join one of two government established and approved redress schemes, which are:

The government has published information about redress schemes for property agents.

If a tenant has a complaint about your service that you cannot resolve between yourselves, you can complain to the scheme.

Gas and electricity installations

All gas installations and appliances must be checked annually by an engineer registered with gas safe.

All electrical installations must be checked every five years and the work must be completed by an NICEIC-registered contractor or another recognised organisation.

Our Electrical Safety Standards Policy 2021 explains what landlords need to do to ensure that electrical installations in rented properties are safe and comply with legislation.

Energy Performance Certificates

You must get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property before you advertise it. You will also need to give this to your tenants. Since 1 April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties if they have an EPC rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place. The government has published minimum energy efficiency standard guidance for landlords.

Our policy setting out how we will enforce minimum energy efficiency standards can be found below.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Landlords must fit smoke detectors and where necessary carbon monoxide detectors on each storey in their homes. The government has published a booklet about the smoke and carbon monoxide regulations for landlords.

From October 2022, these requirements apply to registered providers of social housing.

Our statement of principles for financial penalties for landlords sets out the principles that we apply in exercising our powers to require a landlord to pay a financial penalty relating to the smoke and carbon monoxide regulations.

West Kent Landlords’ Forum

West Kent Landlords Forums are held twice a year to provide advice and support to local landlords and keep them up to date with developments in the private rented sector. The Forums are organised by the West Kent Landlords Partnership (Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Sevenoaks District Council and the National Residential Landlords Association).

Some documents on this page may not be in an accessible format. If you require any documents in an accessible format, please complete our online form to request them.