Landlords have a legal and ethical duty to provide safe, habitable housing for their tenants. The landlord-tenant relationship is a contractual one, which means that landlords must meet certain responsibilities in order for the tenant to perform their obligations under the lease agreement.
The general requirements of a landlord's responsibilities are laid out in local law or in the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant. The following is a list of general requirements in a landlord’s responsibilities:
1. Make sure your rental property is safe and secure
2. Make sure you give your tenants the right amount of notice before entering the property
3. Ensure that your tenants are paying their rent on time. If they don’t pay their rent, you can take legal action against them or evict them from the premises
Protection of the deposit
A landlord's responsibilities include protection of the deposit.
Landlords must protect tenants' deposits using a government-approved scheme. They must also refund deposits within 30 days of tenants leaving the property, unless there is a valid reason why they cannot do so. For example, if the landlord owes money to utility companies or local authorities, then they may be unable to return deposits until these debts have been paid off. In this case, landlords should write to tenants explaining why they can't return deposits at this time and give them an estimate of when they will be able to do so.
The condition of the property
The responsibilities of a landlord will mainly consist of maintaining and repairing the unit in a good state of repair. The landlord must obey all laws regarding building maintenance, safety, health and fire prevention.
The landlord must also maintain all electrical, plumbing and heating systems according to manufacturer's specifications with no damage or excessive wear due to negligence on their part (for example, if they don't provide adequate heat). If a tenant reports a problem with any of these systems that could affect their health or safety (for example, mould), then it is up to the landlord to fix it within 24 hours or give them an alternate place to stay while it is being fixed (at no additional cost). This will vary depending on what specific clauses in the rental agreement and contract may state.
The responsibility of ensuring tenant safety also involves providing working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, locks on doors and deadbolts on windows.
As a landlord, you are responsible for making sure that the property is safe and habitable. This means your rental unit must be free of health and safety hazards. You have to promptly fix anything that breaks or needs repair, and you can't shut off utilities or make other changes to the unit without permission from the tenant. You also must maintain the grounds surrounding the property.
A landlord's obligations and legal duty to provide habitable housing don't end just because a tenant moves out. Landlords have a continuing responsibility to keep their properties in good repair even after they've been rented out. For example, if a unit's roof springs a leak while someone is living in it, the landlord is required to fix it before another tenant moves in or else risk being sued by the new tenant if there's damage due to poor maintenance of the property.
These are some general things a landlord should be aware of, and although the specifics can vary by region and contract, the general rules apply everywhere. If you're a tenant hoping to rent, these tips will give you a better idea of what you can expect from your landlord. And if you're a landlord trying to better understand your own obligations, this article will make it easier to ensure you are aware of your landlord responsibilities, and make sure you're acting in accordance with the law. That way, you'll be able to offer your tenants a cleaner, safer living environment - and still keep your rental property profitable.
If you’re still not sure on what landlords are responsible for, get in touch or view our letting guide for more information and letting advice by Palmer & Partners.