1. Tenant advice and duties
Oldham Tenancy Relations Service
We advise landlords and tenants within the Oldham Borough about their tenancy rights and obligations.
The service is for private tenants and not people who rent their homes from the Council or housing associations.
For help dealing with landlord harassment, illegal eviction, homelessness, rent increases, contact the Oldham Housing and Advice Service.
Or contact one of the following agencies:
- Valuation Office Agency - What is a fair rent?
- Tenancy deposit scheme - Your rights and responsibilities
- Private renting - GMCA website
Where there are hazards or repair issues, you can request an inspection by contacting the Housing Team.
Tenants may take a civil prosecution against the landlord through the County Court of small claims if the cost of repairs/compensation is below £1000.
- Making a claim – Courts Service website
You can also write to your landlord to try to resolve issues.
Overall property duties
Unless it is stated differently in your tenancy, you are responsible for ensuring that the property is:
- Kept clean
- Not damaged by you or anyone else
- Smoke free
- Looked after, and general maintenance is carried out such as changing fuses, light bulbs and unblocking sinks
- Heated responsibly, ensuring that no vents are blocked
You must also make sure that your behaviour is acceptable and that you don’t cause problems with your neighbours.
Rubbish and litter must be properly disposed of.
You mustn’t frustrate or hinder your landlord when they’re trying to undertake their responsibilities.
Communal areas and gardens
Maintenance of communal areas (such as the entrance to a block of flats) is normally the landlord’s responsibility.
You may be responsible for looking after the garden (e.g. if stated in the tenancy agreement). If it isn't mentioned in the agreement then it is not your responsibility.
If the dampness in the property is as a result of condensation through you not drying clothes properly or improper use of heating and windows then the landlord would not normally be responsible to re-decorate as a result of the dampness.
Dampness caused by issues like rising damp, or leaking roofs are the landlord's responsibility.
If you want to redecorate the property that you live in, you should always get your landlord's permission.
If you damage any of the decoration, you may have to redecorate, or your landlord may keep some of the deposit to pay for redecoration.
If the property is in need of decoration as a result of normal wear and tear, then the landlord is responsible and shouldn't keep any of your deposit.
The tenancy agreement may state that the landlord is only responsible for certain electrical appliances, so it is important that you are familiar with the terms.
You are always responsible for repairing any electrical items which you own and have brought with you to the property.
Equipment e.g. central heating
If you decide to renovate or change the existing equipment in the property without the landlord’s permission (such as the central heating) and problems to the structure or interior of the property occur, it would not be the landlord’s responsibility to repair any damage caused.
If you damage a piece of furniture or equipment through improper use or carelessness then the landlord is allowed to charge you for the damage or withhold all or part of the deposit.
Normally a landlord will carry out or organise for repairs to be done.
Sometimes a landlord may refuse to carry out or organise repairs because you are responsible for the damage. If you are responsible for the damage you need to get your landlord’s permission to carry out repair work.
Sometimes a landlord may accept responsibility for the repair work but you arrange for it to be carried out. If you are organising the repairs, get an agreement to pay from the landlord before repairs begin. Your landlord may ask you to get several cost estimates.
Any repair work carried out or organised by you must be done properly and to a reasonable standard. If work isn't carried out to a reasonable standard, you will be held responsible.
Disruption during repairs
If repair work causes you serious disruption, you may be able to claim a reduction in the rent for that period of time (known as rent abatement). You can claim this after the work is completed, and the amount depends on how much of the property you couldn't use when the work was being done.
Moving during repairs
If a lot of repair work is needed, you may be asked to move to an alternative home. If you refuse to leave the property for repair work to take place, then the landlord can only ensure that you leave the accommodation by evicting you, or seeking a court order.
If the tenancy has not ended it may be possible for you to claim back the alternative accommodation costs from the landlord.
If you feel that your landlord isn't looking after or managing the property correctly, do not stop paying rent.
If you stop paying rent your landlord may serve a notice and you could be made homeless.
Under Housing Law, you would be classed as ‘intentionally homeless’ and may not qualify for help in the same way as you would if you were ‘un-intentionally homeless’.