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Landlord responsibilities

There are a number of legal requirements placed on landlords of private rented accommodation. This page explains the main requirements.


Gas safety


Landlords must ensure that gas fittings (including any appliance, pipework, and flue) are maintained in a safe condition, to prevent the risk of injury to anyone living in the property.

Gas fittings must be checked for safety at least every 12 months. These checks can only be carried out by Gas Safe-registered engineers.

The landlord must keep a record of these safety checks for 2 years. They must also give tenants a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of the date of the safety check.

Visit the HSE website to find out more about landlord responsibilities in relation to gas safety.

Relevant legislation - Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Electrical safety


Landlords must have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least every 5 years. The testing must be done by someone who is qualified and competent.

Landlords must provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants. They must also provide a copy to the council within 7 days, if requested.

Visit GOV.UK to find out more about electrical safety standards in the private rented sector.

Relevant legislation - Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms


Landlords must fit a smoke alarm on each floor of their property where there is a room used as living accommodation.

They must also fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).

All alarms must be in place and in working order at the start of any new tenancy. The landlord must repair or replace any faulty alarms once their tenants tell them about a fault.

Visit GOV.UK to find out more about landlord responsibilities in relation to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Relevant legislation - Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 (as amended).

View Middlesbrough Council's statement of principles on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)


Landlords must comply with minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) in most privately-rented properties.

This includes not renting out properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating below E, unless there is a lawful exemption.

Visit GOV.UK to find out more about the minimum energy efficiency standard and exemptions to the minimum energy efficiency standard.

Relevant legislation - Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (as amended).



All upholstered furniture in a property must comply with the law.

All furnishings provided as part of the tenancy must have passed cigarette and match ignition tests, and the filling materials must have passed flammability tests.

If the furniture complies, it should have a label attached with the lining which gives details of the testing.

Relevant legislation - Fire and Furnishings (Fire Safety/Amendment) Regulations 1993.

Houses in multiple occupation


Landlords who let a house in multiple occupation (HMO) have extra responsibilities relating to fire safety.

Visit the HMO page to find out more about HMOs and related fire safety and management guidance.

Fit for human habitation


All landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of, and during, the tenancy. This means that the property must be free of any serious hazards which would make the property unsuitable for living in.

If a landlord does not meet their legal obligations, their tenants can take them to court for breaching the tenancy contract, on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation.

If the court rules in favour of the tenants, the landlord may have to:

  • take action to reduce or remove any hazards
  • pay damages to the tenants to compensate them for having to live in a property which was not fit for human habitation

Visit GOV.UK to find out more about guidance for landlords on homes fit for human habitation.

Relevant legislation - Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

Taking possession of a property


Once a tenancy agreement is in place, all of the tenant's rights must be protected. This includes their right to privacy, protection from prohibited fees and charges, and protection from unlawful eviction and harassment.

Tenanted properties cannot be taken back into the possession of the landlord unless the correct legal process has been followed. This means an Order of Possession is granted by a court, or the tenants voluntary surrender the property and return the keys to the landlord.

Many landlords are unsuccessful in their application for an Order of Possession as they have not complied with their legal duties and have not followed the lawful process to seek possession. Landlords wishing to regain possession of their property should always get professional legal advice.

Selective licensing


A selective landlord licensing scheme is in place in North Ormesby and parts of Newport ward. Landlords who rent out properties in those areas must comply with the scheme.

Visit the selective landlord licensing page to find out more about the selective licensing scheme and what it means for landlords.