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
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.
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:
- the hazard rating determined under HHSRS following government operating guidance and worked examples;
- 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);
- 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.
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 200. 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.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Landlords must fit smoke detectors and, where necessary, carbon monoxide detectors on each level in their properties. The government has published a booklet about the smoke and carbon monoxide regulations for landlords.
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.
Private accredited letting scheme
To encourage and support the many good landlords who already operate in the borough we have a private accredited letting (PAL) Scheme in place.
PAL is our free, property-based scheme enabling landlords and letting agents to apply for some or all of their properties to be accredited via a simple online registration form, once they have accepted the scheme code and requirements.
Registered properties will then be visited by a Housing Officer, and after the inspection landlords will receive a certificate of full accreditation which is valid for a three-year period.
Other benefits include a reduction in HMO licensing and re-licensing fees.
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).
For further information please contact us.
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.