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What to expect in a rented home

Everyone who lives in rented accommodation should expect their home to be in good repair, warm, secure and free from heath and safety hazards.

Landlords of rented accommodation are required by the law to ensure that all such accommodation meets the legal minimum requirements. We have the power to take action against landlords who let property which is below the standard. If you are unhappy with the standard of your accommodation, then you can contact the housing team for advice or to make a complaint. There is useful advice on how to get the best from your accommodation in the getting repairs done page.
When the Housing team receives a complaint you can expect to be visited and the premises checked for defects. Your landlord will be asked to do whatever work is needed to bring your home up to a decent standard. Sometimes we will take enforcement action against landlords who will not do the required repairs. If you are worried about your security of tenure or have concerns about being harassed or evicted then talking to the Housing Advice team will help you to understand your rights.

Rented accommodation standards

In general, any room, flat or house that is offered for letting should:

  • be clean and in good repair
  • be sufficiently spacious for the number of occupants
  • be provided with sufficient clean furniture and fixtures/fittings as described for the letting (furnished/unfurnished/part furnished)
  • be free from hazards to health and safety
  • shared facilities should be sufficient for the occupants who use them
  • have a written contract/tenancy agreement
  • have an inventory so you know what is provided (for your deposit return)
  • have a current Gas Safety Certificate
  • be provided with smoke alarms (see below)
  • be well managed

Our Good Practice Guide (PDF) contains useful and practical advice on complying with the standards required by law for rented accommodation. A copy of this guide can be obtained by contacting the Housing team on 01234 718099.

Fire safety standards in rented accommodation

All rented houses should be fitted with smoke alarms. We know that working smoke alarms are the most effective way of protecting people from the fatal consequences of fire. All new houses, for example, are constructed with a proper mains wired smoke detection system installed. There are special standards that are prescribed in law for higher risk premises, such as houses in multiple occupation.

Here is a brief summary of fire safety standards for rented property:

  • All HMOs of 3 storeys or more should have a panel controlled automatic fire alarm and detection system covering all parts of the premises, that is rooms, halls and stairs, kitchens etc.
  • All HMOs of  2 storeys should have a simpler system, but it should cover the same areas, all rooms, halls and stairs and kitchens. These systems do not have panel control but all the units are linked together so everyone is protected.
  • All self contained flats whether in a converted building or purpose built should have a fire alarm and detection system that covers each individual flat and may also be provided in the stairs and hallways. 
  • All rented houses should have at least 1 smoke alarm on each landing level of the stairs, so a 2 story house would have 2 alarms. 
  • Most houses that are converted into self contained flats will also require emergency lighting.
All fire alarm and detection systems require testing and maintenance. 

Contact the housing team on 01234 718099 or email