Help and advice for tenants

Health and safety issues in your property

Your home may become unsafe due to a ‘hazard’ – which is defined as a problem in a home. Hazards are rated according to how serious they are and how likely they are to affect someone’s health and safety.

There are two types of hazards – category 1, which are the most serious, and category 2.

Examples of category 1 hazards include:

  • exposed wiring
  • a dangerous or broken boiler
  • no heating (excess cold)
  • damp and mould on the walls or ceiling.

Health and safety risks in the home are assessed by the council using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

What can tenants do if these standards are not being met?

If you feel the property you are renting fails to meet these standards and the landlord fails to rectify any faults after you have reported the issues to them. You can contact the Private Sector Housing team (please complete one of the online complaint forms below).

They can investigate your concerns and advise you what action to take next.

Who is responsible for what?

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 the landlord is responsible for repairs to:

  • the structure and exterior of the dwelling
  • basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations in the dwelling
  • heating and hot water installations.

The landlord is generally not responsible for repairs arising from damage caused by the tenant or for the rebuilding of the property in the event of fire, flood or any other inevitable accident.

Harassment

It is an offence to harass a tenant by disrupting his peace or comfort, knowing this behaviour is likely to make the tenant leave, e.g. cutting electric, gas or water supplies persistently. 

In the event of harassment, it must be shown that the landlord, his agent, or other perpetrator, is likely to have known that their conduct would cause the tenant to leave.

Illegal eviction

Evicting a tenant of privately rented accommodation requires the landlord to serve notice and obtain a possession order from the county court.  The length of notice will depend on the type of tenancy.  In some cases, the notice will need to be served in a specific form, e.g. a written letter.  An act of illegal eviction occurs when a tenant is denied access to their home without the proper legal process being taken. It is illegal to evict a tenant by depriving him of a legal right to occupy a property or part of a property, e.g. by changing the locks while he is out.

If you are concerned with illegal eviction or harassment you can initially contact the Housing Needs Team on 01235 422452.  The Private Sector Housing team may assist where an eviction notice has been served after you have complained to your landlord about faults or disrepair in your rented property.

Private Rented online complaint report forms:

Last reviewed: 13 - 09 - 2019

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