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Private renting

Whether you are looking for or already living in a private rented home or are a landlord renting property or an agent looking after property on behalf of a landlord, we can help you with our services covering the Somerset West and Taunton area.

Guides have been produced for tenants and landlords in the private renting to help understand their rights and responsibilities and what to do if there are any issues.

If you are a tenant, you are generally responsible for looking after the home whilst you are living in it. This includes:

  • keeping it clean and disposing of any rubbish properly
  • keeping gardens and outside areas in a reasonable state
  • carrying out minor repairs, such as replacing light bulbs, clearing a blocked sink or checking any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • keeping it free from damp and mould growth caused by condensation
  • repairing any damage caused by you or your visitors and checking any of your own electrical items are safe
  • where 24 hours’ notice is given to you and a reasonable time arranged, enable access for the landlord to check if repairs are needed and to carry out works.

You must also pay your rent on time to your landlord and not withhold rent if repairs are not carried out as this can put you at risk of eviction.

If you are a landlord, you are generally responsible for maintenance and repairs to:

  • the structure of the building including gutters, pipes, drains, roof, walls, stairs and bannisters, floors, windows and chimneys
  • plumbing, baths, showers, toilets and sinks
  • heating and hot water
  • electrical and gas installations, including wiring, pipework, radiators and boilers
  • the common areas in your home, including entrance halls and stairways.

The tenancy agreement or contract will include any extra responsibilities the landlord may have.

At the start of any new tenancy a landlord or letting agent should provide a tenant with:

  • a copy of the "How to rent: the checklist for renting in England" guide
  • a valid annual Gas Safety Certificate (GSC)
    Tenancy deposit paperwork
  • a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • a record of any electrical inspections (if available)
  • evidence that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (where there is a coal fire or wood burning stove) are in working order at the start of the tenancy

From 20 March 2020, landlords must make sure a property is fit to live in from the start of the tenancy until a tenant leaves. This applies to most tenancies except fixed term ones. If the home is unreasonable for a tenant to live there whilst it’s in that condition then a tenant can take court action. The court can order the landlord to carry out repairs and pay compensation. More information can be found on the Shelter website.