Advice for private tenants

It’s useful to know the rights and duties you and your landlord (or managing agent) have when you live in a privately rented home. Make sure you have a tenancy agreement and that you understand the terms. For example, your landlord has a legal obligation to put your deposit into a protection scheme. Find out more about landlord obligations.

It’s the landlord’s duty to maintain the property and carry out repairs. You should speak to them when you have a problem. It’s also their duty to make sure the property meets safety standards. You’re entitled to 24 hours’ notice from your landlord before they visit the property.

Tenants’ rights and rights of occupation

It's good to know when you rent a home what your rights and duties are and also what's expected of your landlord. 

You can find out more details and advice about being a private tenant on the GOV.UK - Private renting and Shelter websites.

If you need any more help, you can contact us online or call us.

Homes needing repairs

It's the landlord’s duty to maintain the property, carry out repairs and make sure the property meets safety standards. Your landlord should give you 24 hours’ notice before visiting the property.

If your landlord has refused to carry out a repair, or they take too long to carry out repairs, you can report this to us using our online form. We can inspect the property and contact the landlord to talk about the repairs.

Find out more information about electrical safety standards your home needs to meet.

Energy efficiency and keeping your home warm

As a tenant you have a right to live in a home that’s adequately heated. All rooms (including kitchens and bathrooms) should have fixed heating which are capable of achieving an internal temperature of 18C when it’s freezing outside.

It's a legal requirement for all dwellings in the private rented sector to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 established a minimum level of energy efficiency for houses in the private rented sector. This is known as MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard).

If the property has an EPC rating of F or G it would be unlawful to let them in the private rented sector. This came into effect from 1 April 2020.

This means the property must be brought up to the minimum rating of E. From 2030 this will change to C.

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property on a scale of A to G.   A legal requirement since 2007 for a property to be sold, let or constructed. They're valid for 10 years. The most efficient homes are in band A, resulting in lower fuel bills. The average EPC rating for properties in Barnsley is D. You can find an EPC by postcode on the Government website.

Properties with an EPC rating of F or G must be improved so at least a rating of E is achieved. If not, the landlord must apply for an exemption that can last for up to five years. Please note exemptions remain with the landlord and not the property. If your landlord changes during your tenancy and you live in an F or G rated property they will need to apply for a temporary ‘New Landlord’ exemption. This will last for six months. You can find search for an exemption on the Government website.

There are several ways your landlord can improve the energy efficiency of the property. This includes measures such as external or cavity wall insulation, underfloor insulation, loft or room in roof insulation and heat pumps. Depending on your personal circumstances your landlord may be eligible for financial support to help.  This money is to make the property more energy efficient and warmer and cheaper for you to run. For further details, please contact our dedicated team.

In September 2021, we were awarded funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This is to raise awareness and improve property standards within the Private Rented Sector among landlords and letting agents. We also aim to educate tenants on energy efficiency and how it affects you. We've also started to investigate around 436 properties within the Private Rented Sector which we believe have an EPC rating of F or G. This is included in the funding. All tenants are asked to email: if you believe you don't have a valid EPC or  an EPC with a rating of F or G.

How to get housing in the private rented sector

The private rented sector can offer lots of different types and sizes of homes in Barnsley. It can be quicker to get a home that is rented privately as there are no waiting lists.

You can find a private rented property by looking on the internet and searching for 'private landlords' or 'letting agents' in Barnsley. You could also visit a local letting agent for more details as well as some dedicated property websites:

Tenancy deposit

In a private rented property you'll usually have to pay a tenancy deposit, also known as a bond. This can by used by a landlord to cover rent arrears or damage to the property. Your landlord must protect your deposit with an approved scheme:

From 1 June 2019 the maximum deposit is equal to five weeks rent. You can calculate your maximum deposit with the following equation:

your monthly rent x 12 ÷ 52 x 5 = your maximum deposit

If you’re homeless or threatened with homelessness we may be able to help you with a deposit. This can be done by giving you a low interest loan. You can ask about this by filling in our online form.

Private letting agents must be registered with an approved redress scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to deal with complaints made by tenants or landlords about agents. There are two government approved schemes:

Find out more about letting agent redress schemes.

Problems paying your rent

Read our advice if you're having problems paying your rent.

You might qualify for benefits to help you pay your rent. Find out about applying for Housing Benefit.

There's more about managing your money, debt and other finance matters on our money and debt advice page.

Landlord harassment and threats of illegal eviction

Harassment is anything your landlord does to deliberately disrupt your home life or make you leave your home. Harassment can also be done by someone else, such as a family member or friend of your landlord. 

Examples of harassment include:

  • cutting off your gas, electricity or water supply
  • violence or the threat of violence
  • opening your mail or taking things from your home
  • harassment because of your gender, race or sexuality
  • coming into your home without your permission or without notice, or at unsocial hours

Harassment is a criminal offence and you should report this. If you think you are being harassed, write down what happened and when. You can report this to us by filling in our online form. You can find more details about private renting evictions on GOV.UK.

Harassment can sometimes lead to your landlord making you leave your home illegally. Your landlord should always give you correct notice and follow the legal process to end your tenancy. You can find out more about landlord's making you leave your home illegally.  Check on Shelter's illegal eviction website, and about what we can do to deal with rogue landlords.

Dealing with issues

If you want to make a complaint about a landlord or agent, get in touch with them directly first.

If your landlord refuses to do a repair for you, get in touch with us by using our online enquiry form above. If informal action doesn’t fix the issue we can escalate the complaint by using enforcement procedures.

If your landlord is bothering you at home or harassing you check the Shelter complaints website for guidance or consider contacting the police.

If you’re being threatened with eviction you may also want to have a look at Shelter’s eviction advice. They also have advice for people who have complained about the condition of their home and are subsequently being threatened with eviction.

If you live with people who aren't related you might live in a house in multiple occupation. In this case may be able to help with safety and maintenance issues.

Rent repayment orders

Rent repayment orders cover situations where the landlord has failed to obtain a license. 

Rent repayment requires repayment of rent or Housing Benefit to either the tenant or the local housing authority. 

A tenant can apply for a rent repayment order providing:

  • the offence relates to the housing occupied by the tenant at the time
  • the application for a rent repayment order is made within 12 months of the date the offence has been committed

A rent repayment can be made by submitting a claim to the First-tier Tribunal which outlines the reasons for your claim.

Find out more about rent repayment orders.

Damp and condensation

For information about damp and condensation, take a look at our damp and mould webpage.

Waste and recycling

Our goals for the recycling, refuse and street cleansing services are to:

  • reduce the amount of waste produced, fly-tipping and waste in gardens
  • recycle more
  • ensure our streets are clean

We're committed to making sure that appropriate enforcement action is taken against those involved with environmental crimes. We've a dedicated environmental task force working to reduce environmental blight in Barnsley.

As a tenant, you play a critical role in helping us meet our goals. Please make sure:

Leaving a property

As a tenant you're in charge of leaving a property secure and free from waste. If you need rubbish removing when leaving you can use our bulky collection service.

More information

Gas safety

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide(CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly and without warning, as you cannot see it, taste it or smell it. By taking care of your gas appliances properly you're taking care of your home, your loved ones and even looking out for your local community.

Follow these few simple checks to keep you and others safe:

  • Check your Landlord’s gas safety record. By law, your landlord must arrange a gas safety check of the appliances and flues. This must happen every year and they must give you a record of the check.
  • Look out for any warning signs from your gas appliances. If you’ve spotted any dark staining, sooty marks around your appliance. Excessive condensation indoors or pilot lights that frequently go out, your appliance may be unsafe. Contact your landlord as a matter of urgency.
  • Know the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. From 1 October 2022, all landlords must install carbon monoxide alarms.  These should be in any rooms with a fixed combustion appliance such as gas heaters/fires and boilers excluding gas cookers.
  • Get your own gas appliances checked annually. Your landlord isn't responsible for gas appliances that you own. You should arrange for these to be safety-checked once a year and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Check the engineer is qualified for the type of gas they are checking. This includes natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find these details on the back of their Gas Safe ID card and the Gas Safe Register website.

For gas safety advice and to find or check an engineer visit the Gas Safe Register website.