How did it start?
In 1954, Lord Denning ruled that there is an obligation on every residential Tenant to treat the Property in a “Tenant-like manner”. This means that the Tenant must take proper care of the Property; must, if going away for the winter, turn off all the taps and arrange for the tank to be drained; must clean chimneys when necessary; must unstop the sink when it is blocked; must mend electrical fuses and change electric light bulbs when necessary.
In short, the Tenant must do the little jobs about the Property that the reasonable Tenant would do. In addition, the Tenant must not damage the Property wilfully or negligently, and must see that family or guests do not damage it. If they do the Tenant must bear the cost.
The Tenant’s full responsibilities are set out in the Tenancy Agreement when they rent a property. It is advised to all tenants to read their agreement to understand their full responsibility against the property.
Tenant responsibilities in a HMO
Being a Tenant brings with it responsibilities to the Landlord and the Property the Tenant is renting. The Housing Act (2004) specifically states that:- “Every occupier must conduct himself in a way that will not hinder or frustrate the manager of the HMO.”
This means that:
- The Tenant must provide information about the relationships between each occupant in the Property to enable the Landlord to assess whether the Tenancy being created will result in an HMO (see “What is an HMO”)
- The Tenant must respect the number of occupants allowed by the Tenancy Agreement and not allow any others to occupy the Property
- The Tenant must co-operate with the Landlord and Local Authority inspectors when they are carrying out an HMO assessment
- The Tenant must co-operate and allow the Landlord at reasonable times to enter the Property to carry out the repairs following any improvement order, or any other HMO duty
- The Tenant must comply with all reasonable instructions regarding the prevention of fire and use of fire equipment
What if tenants breach the act?
Section 234 of the Act makes it a criminal offence for an occupier to frustrate the manager of an HMO in exercising his duties under these regulations. The offence carries a fine of up to £5,000.
If Tenants have concerns about health and safety in the Property they are renting they should initially contact the Landlord’s Managing Agent.
Correct at time of publication. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.