Private Rented Housing Problems and Advice
Private renting advice and support
These pages are here to help you understand the legal requirement that surround private rented properties.
There are separate sections for each type of privately rented accommodation.
They are designed to be useful to everyone involved in renting a property so that everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities.
They have also been designed to enable and support landlords by highlighting the legislation that applies and of Nottingham City Council expectations or landlords, whilst being transparent with our enforcement policy.
Legal duties of landlords
Landlords that provide private rented accommodation must make sure that they comply with the relevant laws. Very generally, they must make sure that the property is safe and provides a healthy environment.
These responsibilities may fall to the manager, depending on the management arrangements for the property.
Responsibilities of the landlord and or manager:
- Provide a property which is a safe and a healthy environment
- Protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme (If you started renting after 6 April 2007)
- Provide their name and contact details
- Should not harass or illegally evict tenants
- Should give reasonable notice and arrange a time to come into the property
- Ensure that a yearly gas safety check is completed and provide you with a copy before you move in (or within 28 days of the check being completed)
- Ensure that the electrics are in a safe condition
- In a HMOs the fixed electrical installation be inspected and tested at a minimum of five year intervals
- Ensure that any furniture of furnishings they supply are fire resistant
- Ensure that it has an appropriate fire alarm system, fire doors and escape route out of the property
- Ensure that it is appropriately licensed
They will also be responsible for repairs within the property relating to:
- The property's structure and exterior
- Water using appliances such as basins, sinks, baths, pipes and drains
- Heating and hot water
- Gas appliances and flues
- Fixed electrical installation
The specific details of what these responsibilities should be detailed in tenancy agreements.
A landlord or manager should inform tenants of when any repairs will be completed. We would advise tenants to get this in writing.
The following links provide the specific legislation for the separate types of properties.
HMO’s Licensable AND non-licensable Management
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 applies to all HMO’s.
Landlords and managers must comply with these regulations. If these are not complied with then the appropriate enforcement action will be taken and can include, but is not limited to;
- The serving of an improvement notice (for which there is an immediate £350 cost incurred)
- Where there is a licence in place it may be revoked or varied. This could affect your fit and proper persons’ status and could prevent further licenses being issued to you
- The prohibition of a property or part of a property. This can mean that the property or part pf the property can have restrictions on it. For example, a whole house, or flat could be prohibited and may not be lived in or a bedroom could be prohibited from being used as sleeping accommodation
- Prosecution can be sought for which there are unlimited fines
For licensed properties we carry out pro-active compliance visits and as part of these we will check that the above regulations are not being breached, as well as the licence conditions and to make sure that there are no hazards to health that are an imminent risk under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Where Nottingham City Council find a ‘Category 1’ or Category 2’ hazard we will always work to reduce or remove this.
More information on this can be found under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004. This relates to Improvement Notices, Prohibition orders and Hazard Awareness Notices.
The Regulations also includes responsibilities of the occupiers of an HMO to make sure that the manager can comply with the Regulations. For example, the occupiers must comply with reasonable instructions about fire safety etc.
Flats Section 257 HMO’s Licensable and non-licensable Management
HMO'S that fall under under Section 257 of the Housing Act 2004 have to comply with The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007
Again; these Regulations also include responsibilities of the occupiers to make sure that the manager can comply with them.
All HMO’s should have the following certificates to make sure that the gas and electrics in the property are well managed and maintained.
- Gas certificate: yearly
Where there are gas appliances in the property a Gas certificate should be completed every year by a competent gas engineer. Any concerns that are raised should be dealt with accordingly.
- Electrical Certificate: at least every 5 years
An Installation Condition Report should be issued at least every 5 years by a competent electrician. If there are any C1 or C2 codes highlighted within the certificate then these electrical hazards should be reduced or removed immediately.
Where there is emergency lighting and a zoned fire alarm within the property then there should be a valid certificate for these at all times too; again completed by a competent engineer.
- Fire risk assessment
All properties are required to have some form of fire risk assessment. This does not have to be in a written format, but the fire hazards and escape routes for all occupants should be considered with the appropriate fire precautions in place.
More information can be found in the LACORS Fire Safety guidance document at the bottom of the page.
The above certificates, where applicable, should be available to produce to the occupants or local authority at all times and are expected to be in date, issued by a competent person and have had any hazards rectified.
The Council can, at any time, request a copy of these certificates in order to check compliance.
A Section 235 notice may also be served under the Housing Act 2004. This requires documents to be produced that are ‘in your custody or under your control’.
When served with this notice; the recipient is given a deadline to provide the documents and this is usually 7 to 14 days.
An offence is committed when if there is nor reasonable excuse not to produce these or to purposely alter, suppress or destroy a document that is required to be produced.
Nottingham City Council is likely to take the appropriate enforcement action, including prosecution for which can include a fine of up to can £20,000.
A licence is issued for a maximum number of occupants and households. If the occupants and households are at any time, exceed these numbers then enforcement action will be taken.
It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence in place.
A breach of either of the above will incur the appropriate enforcement action and can include prosecution with up to a £20,000 fine.
A licence will be issued for up to 5 years.
Where the property is still licensable, an application to renew the licence should be submitted before the previous licence has expired.
All properties that have a licence will have a set of conditions attached to it.
There are a set of standard conditions that apply to all licenses that cover the general day to day management of the property and are covered in Part A of the conditions. These can be found at the bottom of the page in document format
As well as the standard conditions, a licence may have additional conditions added to it; Part B of the licence conditions.
These additional conditions may be added to the licence and there will be a deadline for when these need to be completed by. Examples of when these may be added is when the property does not meet the amenity standards so will need additions or amendments, or it may be that we do not have full confidence in the running of the property and training might need to be attended.
If any of the above conditions are not complied with the appropriate enforcement action will be taken. These include, but are not limited to:
- The licence could be revoked or varied- this can affect the fit and proper persons status of the licence holder and or manager and prevent further licenses being issued to them
- The serving of an improvement notice (for which there is an immediate £350 cost incurred)
- A simple caution may be issued
- Prosecution can be sought for which there are unlimited fines for each breach
Before issuing the full licence we issue a draft licence. This gives you the opportunity to study the document and then make representations to us. Once the full licence has been issued, you have 28 days to appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT). Please visit the RPT pages for details of how to appeal.
Enforcement and compliance
Where there is no compliance, Nottingham City Council will take a graduated approach to enforcement following Nottingham's 5 stage enforcement model.
The enforcement options that are available, having considered all relevant information and evidence are:
- No action
- Informal action (advice, education etc)
- Issue of a statutory notice
- Issue of a caution
Nottingham City Council may decide, however, that immediate intervention and enforcement action is necessary; this will differ depending on the circumstances of each case.
Where there is continued non-compliance or a flagrant disregard for the legislation a prosecution will be sought. The main offences in which prosecutions have been sought are:
- Failure to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO) under section 61 and 72 of the Housing Act 2004
- Failure to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007
- Failure to comply with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 section 16
Selective licensing and tenants
What will it mean for me, if I rent a property in the area enforced by the licence?
- Selective licensing will improve the management of privately rented properties and contribute positively to improving neighbourhoods
- Properties may be inspected at some point during the five year scheme. The Council will notify tenants in writing before it does this The landlord may be required to make improvements to the property after this inspection
- Homes should be kept safe, secure and in a good state of repair Tenants may see economic benefits, for example reduced heating bills as house maintenance and conditions improve
- The scheme will also help protect vulnerable groups of tenants, who often live in private rented homes, which are poorly managed and maintained
Will the scheme mean landlords will increase rents?
The licence fee will cost landlords £480 if they have Nottingham Standard accreditation and £780 if they haven’t got accreditation. Licences last up to 5 years.
The Council believes that the fee should not lead to landlords increasing rent. The Council recognises however that some landlords may choose to do this. The Council has worked hard to offer lower fees to accredited landlords, with savings of £300 on the licence applications fee.
If landlords do increase rents, this should be following the correct, legal procedures and should not exploit this opportunity.
Income from the licence fees goes towards the cost of setting up, operating and delivering the schemes. The Council is not permitted to make a profit from the scheme.
Where does the money from the licence fee go?
Income from licence fees goes towards the cost of setting up, operating and enforcing the scheme. The Council is not permitted to make a profit from the scheme.
How can I check if a property is included in the licensing scheme?
The scheme covers 90% of rented properties in the city. To find out more and check if a property falls within the licence scheme area, please visit: geoserver.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/myproperty/
If you rent a property, which is within the area covered, ask your landlord if they know about the scheme.
It is a legal requirement for landlords to apply for a licence. Failure to do so can lead to financial penalties of up to £30,000 or unlimited fines if prosecuted through the courts.
Where to go for further help and advice
If you have concerns about how a landlord or agent is managing a rented property, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing this information
If you need help to understand this information or if you require any of this information in an alternative format e.g. large print, please contact us at email@example.com.