Renting a home privately

Before you rent housing from a private landlord, you should know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. It's also important to know what the landlord is responsible for. They must register as a landlord and protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme.

Landlord's responsibilities

The landlord is responsible for:

  • repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and hot water systems, basins, sinks, baths and other sanitaryware
  • safety of gas and electrical appliances
  • fire safety of furniture and furnishings provided under the tenancy
  • ensuring that the property is fit for habitation
  • repairing and keeping in working order the room and water heating equipment
  • the common areas in multi-occupancy dwellings

Landlord Registration Scheme

All private landlords must register before letting a new tenancy. To check if your landlord or their property is registered, go to:

Protecting a tenant's deposit

The landlord must protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme and give you information about the scheme.

Living in a house in multiple occupation

If you rent your home from a private landlord and it's a house in multiple occupation (HMO), the landlord must license the property as a HMO with the local council.

You can ask the council if your home is licensed as a HMO:

Tenant's responsibilities

The tenant is responsible for:

  • paying the rent and taking  care of the property
  • bills such as gas, electricity and telephone if this was agreed with your landlord

Renting a room in the owner's home

If you rent a room in a property and the landlord also lives there, you're a licensee, not a tenant. You don't have the same rights as a tenant. The landlord can ask you to leave  but doesn't need to give you written notice to quit.

Deciding to rent privately

Before you start looking for accommodation, you should know:

  • size
  • type
  • location

of accommodation you need.

 You need to decide how much you can afford as rent. When deciding the area, think about how close this is to:

  • where you work
  • bus and train stops
  • schools and shops
  • your friends and family
  • medical care
  • where you socialise

As some owners don't advertise property to rent, tell friends or colleagues you want to rent accommodation.

Finding a home to rent

You can find private rented accommodation:

  • in local newspapers under 'property to let' columns
  • on property websites
  • on classified advertising websites
  • in shop window or notice board advertisements
  • through estate agents or letting agents
  • if properties have 'to let' signs outside

Letting agent's fees

If you use a letting agent to find you a property to rent, they might charge you certain fees. Where the fees are for work the letting agent did for your landlord, you might get these fees refunded to you by the letting agent.

Fees paid to a letting agent 

If you paid fees to a letting agent in the last six years and kept evidence of:

  • how much you paid
  • what you paid for

you can ask the letting agent to refund what you paid.

For more information about getting fees back from letting agents, go to:

Finding student accommodation

To read more about student accommodation, go to:

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