Your rights and responsibilities

www.gov.uk website has a useful guide to your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.

Tenancy Relations

Our Tenancy Relations Service provides free and confidential advice and assistance to both tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. They aim to promote good relations between landlords and tenants, and to encourage good practice. They’re role is to;

  • Develop mutually agreeable solutions to disputes between private tenants and their landlords or agents, via mediation.
  • Intervene in allegations of illegal eviction and harassment.
  • Prevent homelessness.

Harassment and illegal eviction are serious criminal offences. Oldham Borough Council has the legal power contained within Section 6 of the Protection From Eviction Act 1977, to investigate allegations of harassment and unlawful eviction. The Tenancy Relations Service exercises this power on behalf of Oldham Borough Council. They have a clear mandate to instigate criminal prosecution against any landlords, or their agents, who subject their tenants to a campaign of criminal harassment, or evict them without following the law.

For more information, please contact Tenancy Relations; 0161 393 5407 or tenancyrelations@fcho.co.uk

Warm Homes Oldham

The Warm Homes Oldham Service has been set up to help local people who struggle to afford to heat their home. The Warm Homes Oldham team can arrange to visit your property to see if any of the following 4 steps to affordable warmth are right for your tenant:

  • Insulate the home and upgrade the heating system for free*
  • Advice on how to reduce energy use
  • Advice on maximising income, claiming benefit entitlements and helping with fuel debt
  • Help from other local support services in Oldham

Your tenant may be eligible for free* energy saving home improvements if you live in an area that is eligible or if you are in receipt of qualifying benefits.

The level of grant funding you can access will depend on where you live, the type of house you live in and what potential energy efficiency improvements can be made.

You tenants don’t need to be on benefits to get these grants but if they are then they may be eligible for heating improvements.

Even if your home doesn't need any energy efficient improvements the Warm Homes Oldham team may still be able to reduce your tenant’s fuel bills. If any of the following apply to you we can arrange a home visit and try to help:

  • They’re on a payment meter and want to get of it
  • They’re in debt to your fuel supplier and need help to try and clear it
  • They need help understanding your fuel bills or help switching tariffs
  • They need advice on how to use your boiler or heating controls
  • They need a benefits check to make sure your claiming everything you are entitled to
  • They just need some general energy efficiency advice

*Eco funding levels depend on the current energy efficiency of your home and the possible insulation and upgrade works.

Right to Rent and Unlawful Discrimination

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a prohibition on renting premises to adults who do not have a right to stay here for use as their only or main home. This is to deter illegal immigration and prevent illegal immigrants from accessing our finite housing stock and displacing lawful residents. It will also help ensure that those people who do not have the right to be in the UK are prevented from establishing a settled life here. Landlords who breach this prohibition may be subject to a civil penalty.

Redress Scheme

The Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014

From 1st October 2014 it became a legal requirement for all lettings agents and property managers in England to join one of three Government-approved redress schemes.

‘Lettings agency work’ is defined in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 as things done by an agent, in the course of a business, in response to instructions from:

  • a private rented sector landlord who wants to find a tenant: or
  • a tenant who wants to find a property in the private rented sector.

It applies where the tenancy is an assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 except where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing or the tenancy is a long lease.

‘Property management work’ is defined in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, as things done by a person in the course of a business in response to instructions from another person who wants to arrange services, repairs, maintenance, improvement, or insurance or to deal with any other aspect of the management of residential premises.

For there to be property management work, the premises must consist of, or contain:

a) a dwelling-house let under a long lease - “long lease” includes leases granted for more than 21 years, leases granted under the right to buy, and shared ownership leases;

b) an assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988; or

c) a protected tenancy under the Rent Act 1977.

Property management work would arise where a landlord instructed an agent to manage a house let to a tenant in the private rented sector. It would also arise where one person instructs another to manage a block of flats (often with responsibility for the common areas, corridors, stairwells etc.) that contains flats let under a long lease or let to assured or protected tenants.

The requirement to belong to a redress scheme does not apply to Managers of common hold land, student accommodation and refuge homes; receivers and insolvency practitioners; authorities where Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974 applies; right to manage companies; legal professionals and property managers instructed by local authorities and social landlords.

The three government approved redress schemes are:

The penalty for a breach of requirement to belong to a redress scheme is a fine of up to £5,000 where it is satisfied, on the balance of probability that someone is engaged in letting or management work and is required to be a member of a redress scheme, but has not joined.

Full guidance on the Order can be found at:

If your business is required to be a member of a Government-approved redress scheme and has not yet joined, please make the necessary arrangements with one of the three schemes detailed above.

Report benefit fraud

If you suspect someone is claiming benefits to which they may not be entitled, please tell the Counter Fraud Team about it.

You can report someone in a number of ways, and you do not have to give your name.

Please give as much detail as possible, no matter how trivial you think it may be. The more information you give, the better the chance of a successful investigation.

Outside the Oldham area

Report benefit fraud outside the Oldham area:

P.O. Box 647
Preston, PR1 1WA
Phone: 0800 328 6340

Gas Safety

As a landlord you should be aware that you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Your legal duties apply to a wide range of accommodation occupied under a lease or licence, including (but not limited to):

  • Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, co-operatives, hostels.
  • Rooms, let in bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels.
  • Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords to ensure gas appliances, fittings and chimneys/flues provided for tenants are safe.

You can find more information about your responsibilities and find registered gas safe engineers on the Gas Safe Register site:

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You can search to see if your property has an EPC or find a domestic energy assessor on the EPC register:

Choosing a Contractor

As a landlord, choosing a reliable tradesman to carry out works on your property can be a difficult task. That’s why we recommend that you employ members of the Buy With Confidence Scheme, who have undergone stringent checks.

Buy With Confidence

In response to concerns about ‘rogue traders’ which are often highlighted in the media, a partnership of Local Authority Trading Standards Services have put together the Buy With Confidence Scheme. The scheme provides consumers with a list of local businesses which have given their commitment to trading fairly. Every business listed has undergone a series of detailed checks before being approved as a member of the scheme.

Entry Vetting

In order to become a Buy With Confidence member, a business must first apply or be recommended to join the scheme and must then pass a set of tailored background checks. Membership of the scheme is not given lightly, and not everyone gets in – amongst other checks, each applicant will have their complaints history reviewed and will receive a visit from Trading Standards. Good references are required from previous customers and applicants must agree to abide by the scheme’s code of conduct, which requires them to follow the letter and spirit of the law. Criminal records disclosure may also be required in some circumstances, there is a cost of approximately £25 per check which is not included in the cost of joining BWC.

Businesses must have been trading for at least six months before they can apply and must demonstrate to the auditing officer that they are trading in a fair, honest and legal manner with a customer-friendly service, do not cold call and have appropriate insurance. All applicants are required to acknowledge that they are willing to be bound by the terms and conditions of the scheme; breaches of the terms and conditions may lead to removal from Buy With Confidence.

Only if all the scheme requirements are met, will a business be granted membership, and their conduct will continue to be monitored thereafter. Whilst the scheme cannot promise that Buy With Confidence members’ work will be perfect every time, there is an expectation that any problems to be dealt with fairly, and you can turn to Trading Standards for advice in the event of an unresolved issue.

Are you a Tradesman?

If you, as a landlord, have other trades such as builder, electrician, plumber etc. and would like to join the scheme, you must meet all of the entry vetting criteria. The cost of membership is between £50 and £250 dependent on the number of employees you have.

Please Note: If you carry out work in or around domestic premises, or for other high risk groups, you will be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check in respect of every employee and unsupervised subcontractor who does such work on your behalf. There is a cost of £25.00 per person for this. Further guidance on these checks can be found at https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/contact-disclosure-and-barring-service.

Contact Details

 

Legionella

Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (ie suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some 'food' for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure. It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks to be managed effectively.

Deposit Protection

You must put your tenants deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:

Further information can be found here.

Furniture and Furnishing Regulations

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 SI 1988 No. 1324 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010) set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery.

The Regulations apply to furniture and furnishings included in holiday homes and residential furnished accommodation (such as houses, flats and bed-sits) which are let in the course of business. They therefore affect persons (including estate agents and letting agents) who let such accommodation as a business activity.

From the 1st March 1993, furniture (whether new or second-hand) which is additional to or in replacement of existing furniture in accommodation let prior to this date must comply with all the fire resistance requirements.

Also, from the 1st March 1993, all furniture (except furniture made before 1950) included in accommodation which is made available for let for the first time from this date must meet all the fire resistance requirements.

HMO Licensing

Types of Tenancy

Although aimed at tenants Shelter has a useful guide to tenancy’s here.

Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Direct Payment

If your tenant is in more than 8 weeks rent arrears and in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may apply for the monies to be paid directly to you.