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Renting a UK business property and tenant responsibilities

When renting a property for your business, you have some responsibilities by law – but most will depend on what it says in the lease.

Health and safety

You must carry out a health and safety risk assessment in the workplace and take action to remove any hazards.

You’ll normally be responsible for:

You’re also responsible for providing:

  • a reasonable temperature
  • enough space, ventilation and lighting
  • toilets and washing facilities
  • drinking water
  • safe equipment

The Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Workplace health, safety and welfare: a short guide’ has more details.

Your landlord is responsible for any aspects of health and safety written in the lease (eg in communal areas). You must take reasonable steps to make sure your landlord fulfils these responsibilities.

If you get into a dispute with your landlord, you need to keep paying rent – otherwise you may be evicted.

If you don’t follow health and safety rules

You can be prosecuted if you don’t follow health and safety rules.

The main law covering health and safety at work in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local councils are responsible for making sure you follow the law.

Repairs and maintenance

Your lease should say who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property.

Moving out

When you move out, you may have to pay for certain repairs, or return the property to the state it was in when you first rented it. The repairs you’ll need to make are called ‘dilapidations’ and should be written in the lease.

Any responsibility that isn’t mentioned in the lease will usually be yours as the tenant.

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Apply for Council housing and housing association

Apply for a home

Housing associations offer similar types of housing as local councils – often to people on a low income or who need extra support.

You can apply:

  • directly to a housing association
  • often through your local council

You can apply to more than one housing association at a time.

Waiting list

Once you apply, you’ll be put on a waiting list.

Housing associations normally offer housing to people most suited to that particular property. You may have to wait a long time for a suitable property to become available.

Housing associations are also known as Registered Social Landlords or Private Registered Providers of Social Housing.

 

Types of tenancy

Your rights and responsibilities depend on the type of tenancy you have.

Your tenancy agreement is a legal document that tells you all the rules about living in your property.

Starter tenancy

New housing association tenants may be offered a starter tenancy. These usually last 12 months and are like a ‘trial’ period.

You become an assured or fixed term tenant after 12 months, unless your housing association has either:

  • started action to evict you
  • extended your starter tenancy

Assured and fixed-term tenancies

At the end of your starter tenancy you’ll be offered either:

  • an assured tenancy – meaning you can normally live in your property for the rest of your life
  • a fixed-term tenancy – usually lasting for at least 5 years (your landlord will decide whether it’s renewed)

You rights may include:

  • buying your home
  • having your home repaired
  • swapping your home with another council or housing association tenant

Ending your tenancy

Your tenancy can be ended if:

  • you give the housing association 4 weeks’ notice in writing
  • the housing association evicts you
  • you transfer your tenancy to someone else or swap homes
  • the housing association needs to move you (eg to redevelop your property) – it should offer you a new property

Standard of your home

Your landlord has to make sure that your home meets certain standards. It must be:

  • safe and free from ‘category 1 hazards’ – these are things that can cause death or pose a serious danger to your health (eg by causing lung cancer, 80% burn injuries, loss of limbs, poisoning)
  • in a reasonable state of repair
  • equipped with reasonably modern facilities
  • warm enough

If you have concerns about the standard of your home you can make a complaint.

As a social housing tenant you can help run a maintenance service.

 

 

Complaints

Follow these steps if you have a problem with your housing association home:

  1. Complain to your landlord – they should have a complaints policy that you can follow.
  2. Make a complaint to a ‘designated person’ (your MP, a local councillor or a tenant panel) if you can’t resolve the problem with your landlord.
  3. Contact the Housing Ombudsman if you and your landlord still can’t resolve the problem.

Housing Ombudsman
info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Find out about call charges

Buying your home

As a housing association tenant, you might be able to buy your housing association home at a discount.