Advice for tenants
Many people across the county are living in privately rented homes. We work with private landlords, tenants and home owners to help ensure those properties are safe and healthy and that they meet minimum housing standards.
Whether you are renting for the first time or moving to a new rented property it can be helpful to have a checklist of the points to consider before you sign the contract on your new place.
Your rights as a tenant
As well as knowing that the property meets your needs, you'll need to be aware of the legal responsibilities you have as a tenant. Both landlords and tenants have specific rights under current law that regulates tenancy contracts.
A tenant has a right to:
- Know the conditions of tenancy (start date and length of tenancy, amount of rent and dates on which it should be paid)
- Know the name and address of the landlord or managing agent
- Have a rent book (if they pay weekly) or receipt for rent payment
- Have a decent standard of safety and repair
- Be given notice in writing that the landlord wishes to inspect the property
- Be served with a court order if being asked to leave against their will
You can find more about rights and responsibilities for both tenants and landlords on the government's private renting webpages.
Help finding an accredited landlord
The Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme (MLAS) is managed by Homestamp on behalf of Herefordshire Council and other partners. It provides recognition for professional and reputable landlords and agents across the Midlands.
As a tenant, renting from an accredited landlord can give you assurance that the landlord is competent and is providing accommodation and a service to the standards set out by the MLAS.
Harassment and illegal eviction
Harassment is anything done by a landlord or someone linked with them that stops a tenant living safely and quietly in their home. Illegal eviction is when a tenant is forced out of their home without the landlord or landlady following proper procedures. Such actions are likely to constitute criminal offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the private sector housing team has powers to prosecute.
Repairs and maintenance to a property you are renting
It is the owner's responsibility to maintain the property and to carry out repairs. When repairs or maintenance are required, tenants should always contact the landlord in the first instance.
If a landlord ignores a tenant's request or refuses to carry out necessary repairs, we may be able to offer help and advice. An officer will discuss the details or arrange to visit. Where unacceptable hazards exist in the premises, we will contact the landlord to discuss the condition and the options available. Enforcement procedures are available where informal action is unsuccessful or inappropriate.
If you have any concerns over safety at a rented home and are a landlord or tenant, you can email email@example.com or call 01432 261761 (we aim to respond to your enquiry within five working days.)
Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which the landlord and tenant cannot agree, however reasonable both parties think they are being. Both parties should seek advice before relationships deteriorate and before vast amounts of time and energy are wasted on trivial problems. There is no reason why a landlord should not approach an advice agency for assistance. You can read about your legal rights above. It will also help to be aware of the landlord's legal rights.
Tenancy agreements and ending a tenancy
It is advisable to use written tenancy agreements, as verbal contracts can be misunderstood. It will also make it easier to sort out any disagreements that may arise later, and enable the landlord to get possession of the property by formal means if necessary. When ending a tenancy, the action a landlord needs to take depends on the type of tenancy.
Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, if you have a problem with a tenancy which might lead to people becoming homeless, contact the housing solutions team immediately for advice and, if necessary, investigation.