Legal responsibilities of landlords

Landlords are required to fulfil a number of legal responsibilities:

Meeting Safety Standards

Landlords must ensure tenants are safe as follows:

  • a smoke alarm must be installed on each floor of the property.
  • carbon monoxide detectors must be placed in rooms with a coal fire or wood burning stove.
  • a gas safety certificate for each gas appliance must be available inside the property.
  • to reduce risk of fire, all furniture must meet safety standards and display the appropriate labels.
  • any electrical devices must be safe for use, and we recommend an Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
  • the water supply must be working properly to protect tenants form Legionella.

A Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) allows local authorities to assess the condition of a property and any potential hazards. The aim is to maintain good standards in the private rented section. Your Move can help you understand how this legislation may apply to your property.

Energy Performance Certificate

As a Landlord you will need to purchase an EPC for a property before you let it. From 1st April 2018, the property must have a minimum rating of E on its EPC as it will be unlawful to rent any property which breaches this requirement with a penalty of up to £4,000.

Right to Rent

Landlords have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector and so must check that a tenant is legally allowed to reside in the UK. If a landlord does rent out a property to a tenant who does not have the right to rent, the penalty is an unlimited fine and up to 5 years in prison. (There are some tenants who you don't have to check but this depends on types of accommodation). 

Information for your tenant

Your tenant must be provided with the landlord’s full name and address, or details of their letting agent. Your tenant must also receive a copy of the Government’s How to Rent guide which gives practical advice about what to do before and during a let.

Protecting a tenant's deposit

Most tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies (AST) and as a landlord you must protect the tenancy deposit with a UK government-approved deposit protection scheme.

A landlord of an AST who doesn’t protect the deposit can be fined and it can make it much more difficult to end the tenancy.

Deposits must be returned in full at the end of the tenancy, unless there is a dispute about damage caused to the property or unpaid rent.


Landlords are responsible for most repairs to the exterior or structure of a property. This means that any problems with the roof, chimneys, walls, guttering and drains are the responsibility of the landlord. These could include a cracked window, a faulty boiler, leak in the kitchen or a leaky seal in the window. Landlords are also responsible for keeping the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity in safe working order.

When you choose Your Move’s Fully Managed package our Lettings Hub take care of all maintenance issues on your behalf.

Accessing the property

As a landlord it is inevitable that you will need to access the property from time to time to carry out repairs and inspections. However access should not cause unnecessary interference to your tenant.

Give reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time with yourself and the tenant, the notice period is usually set out in your tenancy agreement. - find out more about your access rights

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Watch Mel tell her story of becoming a landlord unexpectedly, addressing some of the challenges she faced with letting for the first time.