Private tenants and landlords

 

If you are a private tenant or landlord, it is important to know what rights and responsibilities both parties have. Our guide below contains useful information about what to consider when renting privately and advice about what to do if things go wrong. 

Types of tenancy

Always research which type of tenancy you will be agreeing to before signing any contracts with a landlord. Tenants should be aware that at any time, in the periodical phase of their tenancy, they can be evicted by landlords - tenants should bear this in mind when standing up for their rights.

Essential steps before you move in

What to look out for before you move in when dealing with letting agents. If you are looking to rent a property, it is important to make an informed decision and not get pushed into a bad deal.

Essential steps for when you move in

Including deposits, bills, licensing, utilities. Under the law in England and Wales, if you've an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common type of private tenancy agreement) that started on or after 6 April 2007, your landlord must put your deposit in a Government-backed protection scheme within 30 days of getting it. 

Vetting tenants and landlords/rights

Including repairs, rent increases, as well as home improvements

Harassment, illegal eviction and disputes

Privately renting tenants can't be evicted from their homes without a court order. Landlords must follow strict procedures if they want tenants to leave their property. What to do when tenants feel harassed or being threatened with illegal eviction?

Housing advice and homelessness

Our housing advice and options service is the first stop for tenants with a housing problem. Because of the shortage of housing in Hackney, we cannot offer a home to everyone, but we can explore solutions with you. If you think you will become homeless, we will try everything to help to stop this happening.

Who to contact if things go wrong

Who to contact at the Council for pest control, trading standards, noise, housing advice, benefits, homelessness and housing standards. Also, which local and national organisations to contact for help and advice.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

If you rent a bedsit, we will make sure that your landlord keeps it in a reasonable condition, provides sufficient cooking, washing and toilet facilities and makes sure it is safe from the risk of fire.

If you are experiencing problems such as rubbish, infestations of rodents and insects or drainage defects, we can also make sure your landlord deals with this.

If you are the owner of a large HMO, you may now require a licence for the property. Contact us to discuss this and find out how to apply for a licence. 

Private improvements and repairs

Private landlords, property owners and private tenants may be eligible for a home improvements grant. Find out what help is available and the relevant criteria.

Landlords

Landlord Accreditation Scheme

If you let or manage property in Hackney, give tenants confidence that you are a good landlord or agent by joining the  London Landlord Accreditation Scheme (LLAS). It aims to recognise good practice and improve conditions in the private rented sector.

Private renters and landlords survey results 

In October, 2014, Housing Quality Network (HQN) undertook an engagement and listening exercise focusing on the nature and future of the borough's private rented sector.  

HQN was asked to look at two issues: 

  • the potential introduction of discretionary additional licensing for smaller houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and/or selective licensing for all private rented sector stock
  • the development of a wider set of services for Hackney's private rented sector

Survey report

HQN's conclusion

At present, although there are many decent landlords and lettings agents who operate to high professional standards, there are also those who are either unaware or headless of their responsibilities. We were told about the very poor conditions that some renters have to tolerate and of the insecurity many feel.

What happens next

The findings of the survey will now be considered, which will form an important part of the Council's plans to develop new ways of working and to better understand the private rented sector in Hackney.

10 steps to better private renting

In addition to this survey, the Council has launched a campaign asking that the Government introduce 10 steps to better private renting petition both for tenants and for landlords, and is writing to Ministers; Members of Parliament; civil servants; the Mayor of London; London Assembly members; the Greater London Authority; other councils; charities; and trades unions for their support.

Private property compulsory acquisition

What are compulsory purchase and statutory rights?

This is when the government, local council or utility company has the legal right to buy or take rights over your private property if it falls within a public or private construction project such as:

  • airport expansions
  • housing developments
  • electricity pylons and cables
  • flood defence works
  • sewer, water or gas pipe schemes
  • rail or road building projects

Different compulsory purchase or statutory powers are needed to implement the above schemes. For example, water pipes are laid under statutory rights under the Water Industry Act 1991 and a road bypass will have its own compulsory purchase order through the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

In all cases, the owners and occupiers of the properties to be acquired or affected by the scheme will be served Notices, with differing expiry times. All the schemes provide compensation to owners and occupiers directly affected by the scheme.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

If you're a landlord, you have a legal duty to ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on every one of your property's floors that is used for living space. You must also ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room that contains a solid fuel burner like a coal fire or wood burning stove.

It's your responsibility to ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, and you have a legal duty to keep your property safe from fire. People living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire than people in private accommodation.

You can get free fire alarms along with information on how to carry out a fire safety risk assessment of your property from the London Fire Brigade.

Page updated: 29/09/2016 12:13:13

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