Advice for private landlords
By law, any property you let as a private landlord must meet certain standards. You should make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
Read the advice and information available covering:
- being a landlord and renting out a room (GOV.UK)
- guidance and addressing the health risks of damp and mound in the home (GOV.UK)
- information on the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
You may also find the information offered by the Eastern Landlords Association useful (please note Great Yarmouth Borough Council has no connection with the Eastern Landlords Association and therefore takes no responsibility for any of its website content).
We also have pages covering:
On 1 February 2016, as part of the Immigration Act 2014, the government made it a requirement for landlords to check the right to rent of prospective tenants.
What are my rights and responsibilities as a landlord?
Rights of the landlord
Your basic rights include:
- charging a market rent
- agreeing the terms of the tenancy
- receiving rent when it is due
- being advised of necessary repairs
- being given proper notice to quit by the tenant
More information can be found on the following:
- the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) website
- the Being a landlord and renting out a room information on GOV.UK
Responsibilities of the landlord
As a landlord you must:
- protect any tenancy deposits in a Deposit protection scheme
- repair and maintain gas pipe work, flues and appliances
- ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance is carried out and keep a record of the checks
- ensure furniture meets fire safety standards
- give adequate notice if you need to visit the property
- ensure repairs to the exterior or structure of the property (for example, roof, drains, chimneys) are carried out
- ensure the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity is in safe working order
- carry out annual gas safety checks, a requirement under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998
- have a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) that must be renewed every five years; this has been a requirement for all tenancies in England since 1 April 2021
What checks do I need to carry out before accepting a tenant?
As part of the Immigration Act 2014, the Government is making it a requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. This Law means that from 1 February 2016, landlords with property in England will have to carry out quick and simple checks, to ensure potential tenants have the right to rent property in the UK.
If a landlord rents to an illegal migrant and has not carried out a correct right to rent check, they could be liable to a civil penalty. This penalty is up to £3,000 per tenant.
- You must check the tenant's right to rent in the UK. This is for all people within the household if they are over the age of 18, regardless of whether they are on the tenancy agreement, there is no tenancy agreement or the tenancy agreement is not in writing.
- To find out how to do the checks, refer to the Immigration Right to Rent Check information on GOV.UK for further details.
- Failure to do relevant checks can result in an unlimited fine or being sent to prison.
How can I end a tenancy in a property?
Section 21 notice
You can issue a Section 21 notice of the Housing Act 1988:
- after a fixed term tenancy ends, if there is a written contract
- during a tenancy with no fixed end date, known as a periodic tenancy
In order for a Section 21 notice to be valid, a landlord needs to provide documentation to the tenant before the tenancy is commenced. The required documentation is:
- an Electric Performance Certificate (EPC) valid for 10 years
- a valid Gas Safety Certificate; this inspection needs to be done on a yearly basis with a copy issued to the tenant
- the current version of the How to rent: the checklist for renting in England (on GOV.UK)
The tenant should hold a copy of these. The documents can be given to the tenant at any point during the tenancy (if the landlord did not provide them at the start), however the Section 21 notice would be valid from the date the tenant receives the correct documentation.
For a Section 21 to be valid you need to provide two months' written notice by the appropriate method, i.e. written notice. The notice can only be issued after the fourth month of the assured shorthold tenancy. Any deposit not protected in a government-approved scheme, must be returned before serving the notice.
Section 8 notice
You can issue a Section 8 notice of the Housing Act 1988.
This allows you to seek possession using grounds 2, 8, 10 to 15, or 17 as listed in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act. This can be issued at any stage of the tenancy, however if you are seeking possession during the fixed term, you can only use Section 8 if the grounds under which you are seeking possession are mentioned in the original tenancy agreement.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK: Evicting Tenants - Section 21 and Section 8.
What funding is available to help with heating upgrades?
Within the Norfolk area, funding is available to help with heating upgrades. If you have a tenant who is on a low income and/or is vulnerable to the cold, we may be able to help. In most instances, a minimum 25% contribution is expected from the landlord.
Further information, including our ECO Flexible Eligibility Statement of Intent, can be found on the Warm Homes Fund page.
Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide regulations
It is a legal requirement for all private sector landlords to install a smoke alarm on every storey of their rented dwellings, and to ensure these alarms are checked between tenancies. Landlords with solid fuel appliances must now also install a carbon monoxide detector. Failure to comply with the requirements of the regulations may result in a fixed penalty charge of £5,000.
From 1 October 2022, if a landlord is notified by a tenant of a defective smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, the amended regulation requires landlords to investigate and repair or replace the item as soon as reasonably possible.
To assist landlords and managing agents in compliance, the government issued the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants. These should be read in conjunction with the Council's own guidance on Fire Precautions in Dwellings.
What do I need to set up a tenancy?
A tenancy agreement is a legal document that both you and the tenant signs, this outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.
A tenancy can either be:
- fixed term - running for a set period of time
- periodic - rolling tenancy
A tenancy agreement should include:
- names of all people responsible for the property
- how much the rent is and how often this is to be paid
- the deposit amount and how it is protected
- the property address
- the start date of the tenancy and when this finishes
- any tenant or landlord obligations
You will need to provide an up-to-date gas safety certificate, electricity performance certificate (EPC) and the How to Rent Checklist. These are essential documents that need to be provided. Failure to do this will result in any Section 21 notice being invalid.
What happens if the tenant has not vacated and the notice has expired?
Please read the Evicting Tenants - Section 21 and Section 8 information on GOV.UK.
After a Section 21 notice has expired, the landlord has to present to court to gain possession. As a landlord, you cannot change the locks of the property or move the tenant out if they still remain in the property after this date. This would be classed as an illegal eviction.
If the tenant moved into the property before October 2015, you can apply for possession of the property via the court at any time from the expiry of the Section 21 notice.
However, if the tenancy commenced after October 2015, the application for possession must be made within six months of the expiration of the Section 21 notice otherwise another Section 21 has to be issued.