Advice for landlords

Sherwood Forest Area Private Landlord Forum

Ashfield, Mansfield and Newark & Sherwood District Councils work collaboratively to provide a landlord forum to benefit private landlords in all of the three districts.

The forums are generally held twice a year and the next event will be advertised shortly.

If you would like to be added to our forum invite list please send your name and preferred email address to adminpsh@mansfield.gov.uk. In the event that you do not have access to email, please contact us.

What is the Housing Health and Safety Rating System?

Local councils in England use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess housing under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004.

HHSRS allows a local council's inspecting officer to identify defects in a property, by assessing against 29 hazards.

A guide for landlords can be found at the following link Housing health and safety rating system (opens in a new window).

General advice on housing standards

It's important for landlords to meet required standards and make sure those standards are maintained. Regular, good-quality maintenance of the property reduces the costs that will arise from long-term neglect and deterioration, and will help to attract and keep tenants.

The accommodation should be safe and suitable for use at the start of a tenancy and the landlord should continue to keep those standards.

Good management of the property by the landlord includes making sure that the behaviour of the tenants does not have a harmful impact on the immediate neighbours or the wider area. For example, noise and accumulations of rubbish can be big causes of concern for local residents.

Where properties fail to meet the required standards, the local council will liaise with landlords or managing agents to carry out necessary works. Where landlords or managing agents fail to cooperate with the local council, then the council may take enforcement action. Further information can be found at the Dash Services website (opens in a new window).

Retaliatory Evictions

Tenants should always report any disrepair or poor conditions that may arise to the landlord as soon as possible. They should put their complaint in writing. In order to rely on the protection against retaliatory eviction that the Deregulation Act 2015 provides, a tenant must approach the landlord in the first instance.

If, after 14 days from the tenant making a complaint, the landlord does not reply, that reply is inadequate, or they respond by issuing a section 21 eviction notice, the tenant should approach their local authority and ask them to step in and carry out an inspection to verify the need for a repair.

An Environmental Health Officer of the council will arrange to inspect the property. They will conduct a thorough check. There is a detailed assessment method (known as the Housing Health and Safety Rating System) that has been developed to help local authorities verify whether a property contains serious health or safety hazards. If the inspection verifies the tenant's complaint, the inspector will take appropriate action. There are a number of enforcement options open to local authorities, including Improvement Notices and Notices of Emergency Remedial Action, but they will almost always engage with the landlord first, in order to try and resolve the problem informally.

If the local authority serves an Improvement Notice or Notice of Emergency Remedial Action, the landlord cannot evict the tenant for six months using the no-fault eviction procedure. Read the Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015: guidance note (opens in a new window).

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

New legislation came into force on 1 October 2015 for private landlords in England regarding smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms. Landlords must fit a smoke alarm on every storey and fit a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance, although the regulations do not stipulate the type of alarm to be installed.

Alarms must be tested and working on the start of each tenancy.

How to rent

The Government have a How to Rent guide (opens in a new window), which should be given to all new tenancies starting after the 1st October 2015. Section 21 notices are likely to be invalid if signed without giving a copy of the guide to the tenant.

Right to rent

The landlord must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent residential property in England.

Before the start of a new tenancy, they must make checks for tenants aged 18 and over even if:

  • They're not named on the tenancy agreement.
  • There's no tenancy agreement.
  • The tenancy agreement isn't in writing.

If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, they need to do the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy. 

More information on renting in the private sector can be found at the GOV UK website (opens in a new window).

Decent and Safe Home East Midlands (DASH)

DASH Services is a joint-working initiative with Local Authorities, property owners, landlords and tenants. DASH aims to improve housing conditions in the private sector, with particular emphasis on the private rented sector.

See the DASH Services website (opens in a new window) for lots of advice for Tenants and Landlords.

Landlord accreditation

DASH operate a Landlord Accreditation Scheme (opens in a new window) which we support.