Landlords (and their letting agents should they employ one) have a general duty of care to ensure that the accommodation they offer for rent does not have a detrimental effect on the health, safety and welfare of their tenants. All dwellings should also provide a safe and healthy environment for occupants and visitors. The aim of this series of articles is to help landlords to understand what they need to do to meet these obligations, and to provide a guide in plain English to the minimum standards considered acceptable in the private rented sector as set out in the Housing Act 2004.
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The Government has set targets for both social housing providers and private sector landlords to improve their properties so that there are increased numbers of 'Decent Homes' in the UK housing stock. The target focuses on vulnerable households, including families with children, and deprived areas. Although this guide incorporates the Decent Homes standard as a baseline for good practice, there is currently no statutory requirement for private sector landlords to meet the standard. However, by meeting the HHSRS statutory requirement landlords will be achieving one element of the Decent Homes standard.
You might hear a lot of unfamiliar words when selling or buying a property, especially if it's for the first time. Thanks to our handy glossary you can brush up on the jargon and hold your own the next time a solicitor or estate agent lays on the gobbledygook, instead of staring like a rabbit in the headlights.
Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) enforcement guidance: housing inspections and assessment of hazards
What happens if a rented property fails to meet the Decent Homes Standard?
Rented properties are considered to be single family houses where the occupants are all members of one family (as defined in housing benefit legislation). Unrelated sharers come under the HMO standard discussed in a separate article.