Private Rented Team
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Information provided here is mainly for tenants and others renting in the private rented sector. However tenants in social housing may find some of the information helpful. You can find advice about what your landlord should do for you and your obligations to them. There is also information about what to do if problems arise with poor housing conditions and the help the Council may be able to give you. Where there are problems with your accommodation we will try to work with your landlord to improve matters both for you and for future tenants.
The documents at the bottom of the page provide more information about renting, deposits and problems including dampness. The following leaflets are helpful if you are looking for private rented housing:
Although the document below is aimed at landlords, it will also help tenants
Please note that we do not have any housing stock of our own. We work with a number of partner social landlords (known as registered providers). For more information please visit our apply for a home page.
Before, or at the start of the tenancy, the landlord must provide you with:
- a copy of the gas safety certificate (where there are gas fittings)
- in most cases, a copy of the energy performance certificate; this will help you decide whether your can afford to live in the property and
- Information on the deposit protection scheme (where a deposit is taken on an assured shorthold tenancy)
- A copy of “How to Rent; the checklist for renting in England” (for assured shorthold tenancies beginning after 1 October 2015)
On the date the tenancy begins the landlord must test the smoke alarms (and where there is a solid fuel appliance the carbon monoxide alarm). This applies to most private tenancies starting on or after 1 October 2015.
Your landlord should provide you with accommodation that is in reasonable repair, safe and healthy to live in. It should be clean at the start of the tenancy. The tenancy should be managed properly, ensuring that you have the 'right of quiet enjoyment' and privacy of your own home. If your landlord wants you to leave, you should be given proper notice. When you leave, your landlord should return any deposit owed, unless there are reasonable grounds for keeping this back - such as damage to the letting.
Where your home is a flat in a converted building, a bedsit or part of a shared house your landlord should ensure that the building, especially the common parts, is properly managed. This is because such buildings are (generally) Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Some HMOs require a licence; generally these are where five or more people occupy in a building of three or more storeys (other than when the building is converted into self-contained flats). You can check whether the house has (or needs) a licence by contacting us.
In return, you should pay the rent, treat the accommodation with respect, report any problems that occur and give the landlord reasonable access for inspection and to carry out works. You should be considerate to your neighbours and comply with the conditions of tenancy.
Tenancy agreements are legally binding contracts; you should fully understand what yours means before signing it. Failure to comply with the agreement, in particular failure to pay the rent, may result in your eviction. It may also harm your chances of finding other housing in both the private and social sectors.
Private tenants usually have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with their landlord. This means that the landlord can legally evict their tenants by serving a “Section 21 notice” requiring that you leave the property. There is no need for the landlord to give a reason. Section 21 notice can take affect after the initial tenancy period has ended. It is the usual (but not the only) lawful eviction procedure.
There are limitations on when a landlord can use a Section 21 notice. These safeguards are greater when the tenancy started on or after 1 October 2015 .
Landlords can only evict tenants by following the proper procedures. Only a court appointed bailiff may remove a tenant from their home at the end of this procedure. Any other eviction is likely to be “illegal eviction” or “harassment”, both of which are criminal offences.
Please see our Tenancy Issues page or visit the Shelter pages for more information on eviction and harassment.
Problems with housing
You should tell your landlord (or agent) of any problems with housing conditions. It is best to do this in writing as this may reduce the risk of retaliatory eviction. Link to Tenancy Issues page. We may be able to help you if the landlord does not properly respond.
We may be able to help/advise you with the following problems:
- The condition of the property, such as damp, mould, poor heating, disrepair or any other matter which may cause health or safety problems to occupiers. The document “A guide to a Healthy Home” helps to explain this. Please contact the Private Rented Team on 01752 307075 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice. Please note that, in general, the Private Rented Team cannot help you with re-housing; our role is to improve housing for your benefit and that of future occupiers.
- Tenancy issues, for example the landlord entering without your consent, deposit problems, landlord not following the procedure for legally ending the tenancy. Please visit our New George Street Office, telephone 01752 305496 or email email@example.com
- Unsafe furniture and equipment safety. Contact the Public Protection Service on 01752 304147 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For noise nuisance, visit the noise page
- For pests visit the pest control page
- For waste collection and bulky refuse collection visit the rubbish and recycling page
- For housing benefit issues visit the housing benefit page
- For council tax issues visit the council tax page
Problems that can arise with the tenancy
We may be able to help/advise you with the following -
- If the landlord, agent or their workmen let themselves into your home without your consent
- If you leave, but the landlord unreasonably retains some or all of the deposit
- If the landlord wants you to leave, but may not have properly followed the legal procedures to end the tenancy
- If you have problems paying the rent
- If there are unfair terms in your Tenancy Agreement
Please contact the Housing Options Team by telephone 01752 305496, or by emailing us.
Further reading and advice
The Shelter website gives information on tenants’ rights and general housing issues. The local Shelter office can also offer you advise on disrepair, homelessness and tenancy issues. You can also discuss housing problems with the Citizens Advice Bureau.