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Private Tenants

Privately rented homes

At Private Sector Housing we work hard with tenants and landlords to help improve housing conditions and to make sure houses remain in a good condition for the person or family who lives there. The type of tenants we deal with are mainly people who rent their homes from a private landlord and this can include -

  • family homes,
  • bedsits (also known as Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMO's)
  • flats,
  • shared houses and
  • hostels.

There is a legal 'minimum standard' houses must reach to ensure the tenant and his/her family stay safe and warm. The Housing Act 2004 gives housing officers certain powers to help us make sure a landlord complies with his legal duties.

My house has problems - what can I do?

If you suddenly have an emergency such as a leaking water pipe then call your landlord immediately; if its a gas leak call NATIONAL GRID 0800 111 999

However if you become aware of general disrepair issues in your house then you should follow the steps below: -

  • Send your landlord a letter listing all the repairs or faults you believe exist
  • Give your landlord/managing agent access details e.g. a time when they can get into your property to inspect the faults and carry out the repairs - the most serious should be repaired first 
  • Keep in regular contact with your landlord/managing agent

A landlord is allowed to have a ‘reasonable time’ to do repairs, but the 'time' allowed will depend on the type of repair needed.

A landlords legal duties

A landlord must make sure the house they rent out is safe to live in and it does not affect the tenants health, safety or well-being. A landlord is legally responsible for all repairs to: - 

  • The main structure of the house (roof, walls, floors, doors and windows).
  • The outside gutters, pipes and drains.
  • The plumbing system, such as baths, toilets and basins.
  • Electrical wiring and gas pipes.
  • Heating systems such as boiler, radiators, fixed heaters and wall heaters.

The landlord must give you their contact details or their managing agents contact details which includes: -

  • their name,
  • address 
  • phone number

You should be aware though that the landlord retains the right to do regular checks on your home but they must give you at least 24 hours notice, and they must come at a time convenient to you. 

If you have any complaints regarding your landlord especially if you believe work has not been successfully completed despite you talking to him/her about the issues, then you can report these problems to the private sector housing team by,

Telephoning: 01744 676789  

Emailing: contactcentre@sthelens.gov.uk 

Writing to:  Peoples Services, Private Sector Housing, Town Hall,

                 Victoria Square, St Helens WA10 1HP

 

 

What standard can I expect?

If you live in rented accommodation you can expect your home to be in good repair, warm, secure and free from heath and safety hazards. Laws apply to landlords of rented property to ensure these standards are provided. The Housing Act 2004 states that any landlord who provides rented accommodation has a legal duty to ensure the accommodation provides a healthy and safe environment for the tenant to enjoy.

 

What are the minimum standards?

Generally the minimum standard for any room, flat or house that is offered for letting is:

  • that it is provided in good repair and in a clean condition
  • that it has sufficient space for the number of occupants
  • that it has sufficient clean furniture and fixtures/fittings as described for the letting (if let as part/fully furnished)
  • that it is free from hazards that may harm the health, safety or well-being of any person
  • that there is sufficient shared facilities for the occupants who use them
  • the tenant is provided with a written contract/tenancy agreement
  • the tenant is provided with a pre-tenancy inventory so they know exactly what is provided (for deposit return purposes)
  • there is a current Gas Safety Certificate
  • there is a smoke alarm on every floor
  • there is a carbon monoxide if solid fuel heating is provided e.g. coal/wood burner
  • that the property is well managed
     

The Councils aim is to encourage landlords to supply property that provides a high standard of accommodation that complies with the standards stated above. However, if you are experiencing problems that are affecting conditions in your property and you believe a good standard is not being achieved then the pages related to the Private Sector Housing site should provide information on the type of help we may be able to offer you. 

Contact can be made with Private Sector Housing by one of the following methods:

E-mail: contactcentre@sthelens.gov.uk

Telephone:  (01744) 676789

Write to:  Private Housing Initiatives, St Helens Council,               
                Town Hall,                
                Victoria Square
                St Helens,                
                WA10 1HP

Sharing a house (houses in multiple occupation)

If you live in a house in multiple occupations (HMO), for example a bedsit with shared bathroom or kitchen, then the landlord is responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of these areas, known as 'common parts'.

A tenant will only have exclusive use of their own room, so if you are unhappy with the condition of the common parts, main structures of the building, or any of the facilities provided you are justified in complaining to your landlord about this.

As stated above even in a HMO the landlord must display:

  • his/her name
  • contact address
  • contact phone number
  • annual gas safety certificates
  • electrical safety certificate (conducted every 5 years)
  • annual fire safety maintenance certificate

However, occasionally you may feel your landlord is not listening to your concerns and if this is the case then you may feel you would like to talk to a member of the housing enforcement team. When a landlord refuses to do repairs then we will try and work with him/her to get the repairs done. If this still fails then we have formal powers to take action.