Housing Standards for private tenants
If you rent your home from a private landlord and you are not satisfied with the conditions you are living in - perhaps there is disrepair or some health and safety issues - then the Council's Housing Standards Team can help to ensure that improvements are made to bring your home up to certain minimum legal standards.
What are these standards?
All rented accommodation must provide:
- a safe and healthy environment for the occupants and any visitors
- adequate cooking, toilet and personal washing facilities with hot and cold running water
- safe gas and electrical installations, and appliances (when supplied by the landlord)
- safe furniture and furnishings (when supplied by the landlord)
Special requirements, in addition to those mentioned above, apply to properties known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
What to do if standards are not being met
The Council has statutory duties and powers to deal with properties that do not comply with the minimum standard for housing - the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
You should tell your landlord about any problem first, but if they do not carry out the necessary works you can contact the Housing Standards Team or fill out the online complaint form to discuss the matter in confidence. An officer can then arrange to visit and carry out an inspection if required.
Landlords are required to ensure that all gas appliances (that they provide) are maintained in good working order and that an annual safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered tradesperson and a gas safety certificate provided. A copy of the certificate must be given to tenants of properties which contain gas appliances at the start of any tenancy and then every year after each safety check. Tenants are required to report any defect they become aware of to their landlord and must not use any appliance that is not safe.
The Health and Safety Executive runs a free Gas Safety Advice Line offering information on gas safety and is open between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Fridays, excluding bank holidays. To contact the advice line freephone 0800 300 363.
Landlords are required to ensure that the fixed electrical installation (wiring) and any electrical appliances supplied by the landlord, are safe from the beginning of and throughout the life of a tenancy. In most properties, however, there is no statutory requirement to have a regular safety check.
Safety of Furniture
Landlords must ensure that any furniture and furnishings supplied to tenants meet the legal requirements on fire safety. Regulations apply to all domestic furniture and furnishings such as sofas and chairs, beds, headboards, divans, cushions and pillows, etc. Curtains and carpets do not come under the regulations.
For further information on Health & Safety in rented accommodation can be found on the Direct Gov website or contact West Sussex Trading Standards on 01903 839700.
Energy Performance Certificates
Under the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, the requirements for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) will be extended to all domestic rented sector properties on 1st October 2008. Under these new regulations, landlords will be required to obtain an EPC prior to the start of each tenancy and will need to give a copy to the tenant. However, this requirement will only apply to new tenancies commenced on or after 1st October 2008 and will not apply to existing tenancies. Each EPC for the domestic rental sector will have a life expectancy of 10 years although landlords would be encouraged to update them more often if they have refurbished a property and upgraded its thermal efficiency. Higher ratings could give landlords a marketing advantage due to the benefit of lower fuel bills. For further information can be found on the EPC A Landlords Guide website.
Housing Standards Team
Tel: (01444) 477292