Help with private renting
Your rights and responsibilities
You have certain rights and responsibilities if you're a tenant in privately rented property.
As a tenant, you have the right to:
- live in a property that's safe and in a good state of repair
- have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends - and in some cases have it protected by Tenancy Deposit Protection
- challenge high charges
- know who your landlord is
- live in the property undisturbed
- see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
- have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and follow the law.
If you do not know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined if they don't give you this information within 21 days.
You should give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours' notice. They must visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it's an emergency and they need immediate access.
You must also:
- take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you're away in cold weather
- pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you're in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
Coronavirus has not changed your responsibilities. You must continue to pay rent. Speak to your landlord straight away if you can't pay.
Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you do not meet your responsibilities.
Finding a home
Many people choose to rent privately because of the high costs of buying a property and the limited supply of council housing. You can find private rentals by:
- searching online
- visiting local estate agents
- looking in local newspapers
- checking notice boards at local newsagents
- visiting Citizens Advice Guildford
Problems with disrepair
Landlords must ensure your home:
- is kept in reasonable repair
- is in a safe condition
- complies with housing legislation
We may be able to help you if you live in a private rented or housing association property, and:
- it is in disrepair, and
- you are struggling with your landlord or letting agent to get the repairs done
How to get repairs in a rented home
You can check your rights by searching the Government's new toolkit.
Use this checker to find out:
- how to get something fixed by your landlord or letting agent
- what to do if your landlord or letting agent are not responding to your requests
You'll get ideas about what to do next and links to more information.
Making a complaint
Put your disrepair issues in writing to your landlord or letting agent. Allow a minimum of 14 days unless it's urgent.
If you don't receive a response, or the response is unsatisfactory, you can make a complaint to the council.
To complain contact us on 01483 505050.
Help with the cost of private renting
Private renting can be expensive in Guildford. If you are on a low income or benefits, you may be able to get Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to help you pay your rent.
The amount of help you get will depend on the number of bedrooms you need and the amount of income and capital you have.
Find out more about Discretionary Housing Payment.
Tenancy deposit schemes
Landlords can only take a deposit from a tenant if that deposit is protected by one of the following three schemes:
What landlords need to do
Landlords have to choose one of the schemes if they are taking a deposit from you. They must provide you with information on this within 30 days of taking your deposit.
If landlords fail to do this they may have difficulties if they want to end the tenancy. They would not be allowed to serve a Section 21 notice to end the tenancy. They would not have an automatic right of possession if the tenant does not leave. They would have to seek an eviction order from the court.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
If the property has five or more people who are not related, the landlord must get a licence from us. If your landlord does not have a licence you can report it.
You can also make an application for a Rent Repayment Order if your landlord has failed to comply with legal notices or they are renting a House in Multiple Occupation without a licence from the Council.