Frequently asked questions for tenants renting from a private landlord

Questions that a tenant may ask about his rights and responsibilities when renting privately.

Does my landlord have to give me a written tenancy agreement?

It is good practice and in the interest of both parties for the landlord to provide a written tenancy agreement. By law if the tenant requests one the landlord must provide at the minimum a written statement showing some basic details such as the start date of the tenancy and the rent.

Note that housing benefit will not process a claim without a written agreement. Remember a tenancy agreement is a legally binding agreement and by signing it a tenant is agreeing to the terms set out (so long as the terms are not deemed to be unfair).

Does my landlord have to give me a rent book?

Yes, if you pay your rent on a weekly basis. No, if you pay monthly. However, it is always a good idea to get a receipt each time you pay your rent and keep these in a safe place.

Can my landlord evict me if I make a complaint?

There is no law to stop a landlord seeking to repossess in response to a complaint, but he/she would still have to give you two months written notice or have legal grounds for evicting you such as non payment of rent. These rules would apply whether you make a complaint against your landlord or not.

My landlord is not doing repairs. Can I stop paying my rent?

We would never recommend that you stop paying your rent. This is because your landlord could use this as a reason to evict you from the property.

If your landlord will not do repairs then write to your landlord advising him of the repairs needed. If this does not resolve the problems or the repairs are of an urgent nature and arrangements are not made to carry out the works, contact us. We can enforce that your landlord carries out any necessary works to bring the property up to a good standard.

What is a gas safety certificate and should I have one?

Your landlord is legally required to have all gas appliances in the property (including gas boilers, gas wall heaters, gas fires, gas cookers etc) checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered contractor once every 12 months. Your landlord should give you a copy of the certificate either when you move into the rented property or within 28 days of a new check being carried out.

If your landlord has not provided you with a copy then request one from him. If your landlord does not provide you with a copy on request then you can contact us.

My landlord has kept a key. Is he/she allowed to enter my home?

No. Your landlord should only enter your home with prior permission from you. Some landlords like to keep a key in case the tenant loses their key or the property is abandoned but he/she should not use it to enter when you are living there.

Under certain circumstances, such as fire or flood, or if you have left the property unlocked, then the landlord is allowed to enter without permission in the interests of protecting their property.

My landlord says I am responsible for the repairs

Landlords have a legal obligation to repair and maintain the property while it is being rented and ensure that it is fit to live in. Generally your landlord will be responsible for maintaining and repairing the structure and exterior of the property, making sure that hot water installations and the water supply are working and that the installations to provide gas and electricity to the property are safe and working.

Tenants usually have responsibility for minor repairs, decoration and furnishings and maintaining the garden areas.

My landlord promised to give me new carpets and decorate

We cannot insist that a landlord provides these things. It is usually the tenant's responsibility to decorate internally and provide their own carpets and furnishings.

I want a council house. How do I get one?

Council houses are now managed by St Leger Homes of Doncaster. If you are interested in one of their houses you should contact their Home Choice Lettings section directly on 01302 862628.

I'm in rent arrears. What can I do?

The most important thing is not to ignore this. Speak to your landlord or letting agency and ask to meet with them in person. See if you can come to some arrangement about paying back the arrears based on what you can afford. The Citizens Advice Bureau will also provide further information and advice on managing debts.

Doncaster Housing Advice Centre also provide information and debt advice.

I have nowhere to stay/live. What can I do?

St Leger Homes' Housing Options section give advice on this matter.

My landlord is evicting me. What can I do?

Your landlord must follow the correct legal procedures should he wish to evict you from the property.

My landlord is threatening or harassing me. What can I do?

It is against the law for your landlord to threaten or harass you. You have the right to 'peaceful enjoyment' of your home.

I have no smoke alarms in my property

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service offer a free fire safety check. They provide advice on what to do in the event of fire in your home and on how to make a fire escape plan for you and your family. They may also provide and install free smoke alarms.

To receive a free home safety check call 0114 253 2314 or text the word FREE to 87023, but get approval from your landlord first.

I am thinking of renting a property but the landlord/managing agent has not shown me an energy performance certificate (EPC)

Landlords must make available an energy performance certificate free of charge to tenants either when they view the property or before they enter into a written tenancy agreement.

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Last updated: 11 May 2018 14:02:21