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Help and advice for tenants

What are your landlord’s legal obligations?

Gas and electrical appliances

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 landlords have a duty to ensure that all gas appliances are well maintained and receive an annual service from a registered CORGI professional. The landlord must keep a record of all safety checks. The landlord is also required to ensure that all electrical appliances and electrical installations such as wiring are safe to use. For more information please see “A guide to landlords’ duties – gas safety” leaflet (downloads section of this page).

Fire safety of furniture and furnishings

The landlord must ensure that any furniture and furnishings supplied meets the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations 1988 .

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.

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, you can contact the Private sector housing team (see contacts section of this page). They can investigate your concerns and advise you what action to take next.

For more information

For more information about private renting see the Communities and Local Government website .

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.


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.

Contact us - Private Sector Housing

01235 422436
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

Vale of White Horse District Council
Private Sector Housing Team
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE