Advice for private tenants

It’s useful to know the rights and responsibilities you and your landlord (or managing agent) have when you live in a privately rented home. Make sure you have a tenancy agreement and 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 responsibility to maintain the property and carry out repairs, and you should speak to them when you have a problem. It’s also their responsibility to make sure the property meets safety standards. You’re entitled to 24 hours’ notice from your landlord before they visit the property. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

The government has issued guidance to everyone to stay alert to protect against coronavirus. This means some changes to the way that services for tenants and landlords are provided.

If you're renting a property we'd recommend that you visit our webpage to read more about these changes and what they mean for private rented tenants.

Tenants’ rights and rights of occupation

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

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

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

Homes needing repairs

It's the landlord’s responsibility 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.

Keeping your home warm - know your rights

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.

From 1 April 2020, it became unlawful to let most properties if the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of the property is either F or G. The property must have been brought up to the minimum rating of E unless an exemption has been applied for.

For more information please visit the government’s energy efficiency website. You can also check the Energy Performance Certificate of your home

If you think your home does not meet these regulations, your home is excessively cold, or if your landlord is refusing to carry out heating repairs, you can make a complaint to your landlord or to us.

The heating in a property should be affordable; if not you can ask that effective energy efficiency measures are carried out. This includes providing heating that's cheaper to run as well as insulation measures to make your home warmer. For more information visit the GOV.UK guidance for tenants' energy efficiency improvements provisions.

To find out more about energy saving grants, you can visit our make your home warmer and cheaper to run page. 

How to get accommodation 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 information 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 of 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 information 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 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 resolve 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, and we 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

Find out more about what to do about damp, mould and condensation on Shelter’s website.