Information on Private Renting
Have you been asked to leave?
The Government introduced emergency laws to help protect tenants and help out landlords during the pandemic. Your landlord must serve the correct notice and the amount of time you are given depends on when it was served. For notices issued between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, the required notice period was 3 months; between 29 August 2020 and until 31 May 2021 the notice period was 6 months; from 1 June 2021 the notice period is 4 months; from 1 August the notice period is 2 months.
In some circumstances your landlord can evict you sooner, for example if you have very high rent arrears or if you are involved in anti-social behaviour.
We understand that this can be very confusing. Please contact the council as soon as you are given notice to leave your property. As well as having to serve the correct amount of time, the notice must be on the right form (Form 6a) and it must have all the correct information on it. If this is wrong then your landlord cannot legally evict you. Do not wait until your notice ends before you contact the council. The sooner you contact us, the more help we can give you.
You must be given a legal and correct notice to leave your property. Even if you are at the end of your fixed-term contract (for example a 12 month tenancy) then the landlord still has to give you notice to leave. You do not have to leave on the last day of the tenancy.
If you are a landlord and you are unsure what notice to give or if you are having problems with your tenant or your own housing costs then you can also contact the council for advice. There is some information for landlords here.
Remember: Even if your landlord has given you notice, you still have to pay the rent. Even if you abandon the property, you are still liable for the rent. Even if you cannot afford the rent, you can get help towards the cost but you must pay your rent.
You must prioritise paying your rent and essentials like food and utilities. You may not get any help with money if you have spent your income on non-priorities.
Looking for Private Rented properties:
You can look for private rented properties in the Harborough District on websites such as these:
Help with Paying for a Private Rent:
You may be entitled to some help from the council to get a private rented property. If you are claiming benefits you may be entitled to a loan or an advance on your Universal Credit.
If you are on benefits you may be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment, this is extra help to top-up your rent if you genuinely cannot afford it.
If you are working with Harborough District Council because you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, then we may be able to assist you with our Homeless Prevention Fund. This may help you pay for a deposit or rent-in-advance if you cannot afford it yourself.
You may need to apply for benefits to afford your rent or for help towards your mortgage. You can apply for Universal Credit online or contact your local Job Centre Plus. You can apply for benefits even if you are already working as you may be entitled to something. You can check if you are entitled to any benefits or if you can get extra help by using calculators on websites such as Entitledto or Turn2Us.
Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities:
As a tenant, you have the right to:
- live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- have your deposit protected
- challenge excessively high charges
- know who your landlord is
- live in the property undisturbed
- see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.
You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it is an emergency and they need immediate access.
You must also:
- take good care of the property
- pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you are in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you do not meet your responsibilities.
Landlord's Rights and Responsibilities:
You are a landlord if you rent out your property (even to family or friends). As a landlord you must:
- keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
- provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- check your tenant has the right to rent your property
- give your tenant a copy of the How to rent checklist when they start renting from you (you can email it to them)
- fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
- follow fire safety regulations for property in a purpose-built block of flats or for houses and property adapted into flats
You have to pay:
- Income Tax on your rental income, minus your day-to-day running expenses
- Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do renting out property counts as running a business
If you own a property and rent it out, the council may decide to do a Housing Heath and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection because:
- your tenants have asked for an inspection
- the council has done a survey of local properties and thinks your property might be hazardous
What to do if you are having a problem in your private rented property:
If you are a tenant and you are having problems with disrepair in your property which you landlord is not able to resolve you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , please include photographs of the disrepair where you can and provide as much information such as how long the issue has been going on for and what action the landlord has taken.
If you are having any problems paying your rent you may be able to get benefits to help towards the cost of your housing or you may find some other support available here.
If you are being asked to leave your home by your landlord you can contact the Housing Team as you may be at risk of homelessness.
Landlords can also get advice from the Housing Team on any of their responsibilities mentioned above.