Renting in the private sector

Your rights as a private tenant

By law, your landlord must make sure your home is safe, free from hazards and in good repair.

This includes:

  • free of damp and mould
  • easy to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • fresh running hot and cold water
  • safe electrical and gas appliances and installation
  • working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • free of pests such as mice, rats, cockroaches and bed bugs
  • safe and secure from the risk of intruders
  • good levels of natural light and ventilation
  • adequate space and free from overcrowding
  • working toilets, kitchens, bathrooms and drainage.

Your landlord cannot enter your home without booking a time with you in advance. Landlords also cannot arrange for anyone else to visit your home without notice. This includes builders and other tradespeople. Visit Shelter's website for more information. 

Your landlord must have any council-issued licences that may be required. Check if your rented home should have a license.

If your property must have a licence but your landlord does not have one, they may not be able to evict you. You may also be able to claim a rent repayment order. Shelter's website has more information on rent repayment orders.

Your tenancy

Your rights are affected by the type of tenancy you have. Most private renters have an assured shorthold tenancy.

If you’re not sure which type of tenancy you have, use Shelter’s online checker.