FAQs about tenants' rights
These frequently asked questions set out to guide tenants through their rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector, and offer information on where to seek more expert advice.
Which privately rented properties in Brent need a licence?
- All Houses in Multiple Occupation (properties in which unrelated people share a bathroom, toilet and kitchen).
- All private-rented properties (including those let to single families or two people) in the following areas:
- Dudden Hill
- Kensal Green
- Queen’s Park
- Wembley Central
- Willesden Green
From 1 October 2018, any property rented out to five or more people who are unrelated will require a Mandatory HMO licence.
Who needs to apply for a licence?
Landlords, agents and tenants who sublet must apply online for a licence: www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing
Anyone, including tenants, can report a suspected unlicensed property anonymously to us and we will investigate: www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
- Paying your rent on time
- Looking after your home and reporting repairs
- Allowing your landlord reasonable access
- Behaving responsibly
- Ending your tenancy properly
Your landlord can take action to evict you if you don’t pay your rent.
As a tenant, what can I do to get a disrepair fixed?
Landlords have a responsibility to repair problems with:
- The structure of the property, such as walls, roof
windows and doors
- Sinks, baths, toilets
- Pipes and wiring
- Heating and hot water, such as the boiler
- The safety of gas and electrical appliances
Tenants should report repairs to their landlord (preferably in writing). If the landlord does not fix it, you can report the disrepair to the council: www.brent.gov.uk/reportarepair
Tenants are responsible for minor repairs, for example, changing fuses and light bulbs.
For more information, visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/during-your-tenancy/dealing-with-repairs
What can I do if my landlord tries to bully me into leaving?
A revenge or retaliatory eviction is when a landlord tries to evict you after you report repairs or complain about conditions in your home.
This usually affects private tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy as it’s easier for landlords to take steps to evict them.
Examples of unlawful eviction include:
- Depriving tenants of hot water or electricity
- Harassment e.g. frequent phone calls or visits to the property
- Changing the locks
- Removing possessions from property
Rent Repayment Orders RROs
Tenants are able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) to reclaim up to 12 months of rent from the rogue landlord who exploited them.
RRO applications can be made for:
- Landlords illegally evicting or harassing people living in the property
- Landlords using violence to secure entry
- Failure to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order
If you are a tenant and you would like to speak to an officer for advice on RROs or retaliatory evictions, you can contact us on 020 8937 2384/5, or email the team firstname.lastname@example.org
Further advice about tenants’ rights:
- Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act - Understanding your rights if you live in a rented house or flat.
- Shelter: Revenge evictions
- Brent Advice Matters: Harassment if you are a tenant or email email@example.com or phone: 020 7624 4327
- Advice4Renters: www.advice4renters.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7624 4327
- UK Government: Evicting tenants
- Harlesden Hub: www.harlesdencommunityhub.com (information and advice from council officers and partners). You can drop in Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10am-4pm, Harlesden Library, Craven Park Road, Harlesden, NW10 8SW.