Your landlord is responsible for:

  • To allow tenants to reside in the property without disturbance
  • To make repairs and undertake maintenance to the property if required
  • To maintain the structure and exterior of the property, hot water installations and water supply, electrical wiring, basins, baths, sinks and toilets, etc.
  • To ensure the building complies with building regulations
  • To ensure that all gas appliances are safely maintained by Gas Safe-registered engineers
  • To make sure all electrical equipment is safe to use
  • To provide furniture (if the property is furnished) that meets the necessary fire-resistant regulations
  • To provide and maintain fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire escapes and smoke or heat alarms.

Unless you have caused damage through maltreatment then it is the legal obligation of the landlord to ensure the property has heating and hot water at all times. The lack of these utilities is considered a hazard, especially in the cold seasons and if no alternative source is provided by the landlord.

Your responsibilities

You should only carry out repairs if the tenancy agreement says you can and you cannot be forced to do repairs that are your landlord’s responsibility.

If you damage another tenant’s flat, e.g. if water leaks into another flat from an overflowing bath, you are responsible for paying for the repairs. You are also responsible for paying to put right any damage caused by your family and friends.

If your property needs repairs

Contact your landlord if you think repairs are needed. Do this straight away for faults that could damage health, for example faulty electrical wiring or gas safety.

Your landlord should tell you when you can expect the repairs to be done. You should carry on paying rent while you are waiting.

If repairs are not done

If your landlord won't do repairs and this affects your health and safety in your home, you can contact Private Sector Housing at Portsmouth City Council to visit and inspect the condition of your home.

The action we take will be based on three factors:

  • the severity of the hazard score
  • whether the Council has a duty or a power to act
  • judgement about the best means of dealing with the hazard, including an assessment of the vulnerability of the actual occupant of the dwelling

The courses of action available to us will be to:

  • serve an improvement notice requiring remedial work make a prohibition order, that closes the whole or part of a dwelling or restricts
  • the number of permitted occupants
  • suspend the action and review the matter at a later date
  • take emergency action
  • serve a hazard awareness notice (give advice)
  • make a demolition order
  • declare a clearance area

You can tell your landlord you are going to ask the council to inspect your home. It may encourage your landlord to do the work.

The landlords right of entry

Landlords may need access to the property to inspect it and do repairs but they must let you live in your home without unnecessary interference.

Your landlord should always give you reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time if they need to visit, unless there is an emergency. The amount of notice they have to give might be set out in your tenancy agreement.

You might be able to change the locks if you don't want your landlord to visit without your permission. If you do decide to change the locks, keep the old ones and put them back in, undamaged, when you leave the tenancy.

Your landlord, or anyone employed by them, should not harass you in your home or make it difficult for you to stay there.


All furniture or furnishings that are supplied within a furnished house for rent, have to be clearly marked with a label showing that they meet all of the necessary standards. All new furniture that is subject to the law should come with a label already attached, but over time, safety labels can be lost, removed or damaged.

The laws governing fire and furniture safety were brought in to make sure that any furniture and furnishings supplied in a property that is rented out are fire resistant and that they won’t produce fume-filled smoke if there is a fire in the property.

This includes:

  • sofas
  • armchairs
  • sofa beds
  • nursery furniture
  • mattresses
  • pillows and cushions

Landlords can be prosecuted if the furniture they supply doesn't meet legal standards.

Damage or loss of contents/furniture

Contact your landlord if you accidentally damage any of the furniture or fittings in your rented home. If the landlord agrees that you can make or arrange the repair or replacement, get receipts for any work done and for any items you buy. Use your inventory to record details of any damage you repair with the landlord's agreement.

If you leave your tenancy without trying to replace or repair the damaged contents or furniture, your landlord could deduct money from your deposit or take legal action against you to cover the cost of the damage.

Private landlords may decide to take steps to evict you but have to follow legal procedures to do this.

Wear and tear

Your landlord should not charge you or take money from your tenancy deposit because of normal wear and tear.

Wear and tear is caused by day-to-day living, for example:

  • a brand new carpet would show signs of use
  • a carpet that was threadbare at the start of your tenancy might now have worn through
  • window frames might have peeling paint due to wind and rain

There could also be cracks in plaster or faded wallpaper or paint.

You must look after a rented home, but your landlord can't expect it to be returned in exactly the same state as it was when you moved in.


As a tenant, you will need to arrange this yourself for all your personal belongings inside the property.

Getting a deposit back at the end of a tenancy

Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you will get back. Contact a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you’re not sure whether your deposit has been protected.

The three tenancy deposit schemes are:

  • Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Custodial and Insured)

If you are in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit will be protected in the deposit scheme until the issue is sorted out.

If you think that your landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have, you can apply to your local county court.

If the court finds your landlord hasn’t protected your deposit, it can order the person holding the deposit to either:

  • repay it to you
  • pay it into a custodial TDP scheme’s bank account within 14 days

The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.