Housing advice for landlords in the Hambleton area

Advice for landlords on how we can help with tenants, safety standards and benefits.

We would like to help you avoid or work out any difficulties between you and your tenants before a bad situation gets worse. We can help you by:

  • being a go-to contact if you and your tenants are having communication problems
  • setting up direct housing cost payments to landlords direct
  • giving you information and advice about deposit protection schemes
  • giving you information and advice about your legal responsibilities
  • offering a grant to help fund insulation and any re-workings
  • giving you advice and guidance to help you meet legal requirements
  • giving your tenants advice about caring for their home

Help with renting out your property

We need properties for single people, couples and families in the Hambleton area - anywhere in Hambleton where a council tax bill is payable to us.

If you need help renting out your property, we can find tenants, free of charge, with these extra incentives:

  • one month’s bond for the deposit
  • free property checks
  • free inventories
  • free advice
  • fast track Housing Benefit applications and direct payments to landlords or similar if possible under new benefit changes
  • access to legal advice on tenancy issues and good letting practice.
  • a named housing adviser, available to both the landlord and tenant, for the duration of each tenancy

We offer the advice and support of an experienced and professional team local to you.

How it works

We will talk to you about the property that you have to let and discuss the suitability for the scheme, and what you require from your tenants. We will visit to check the condition of the property and discuss the standards that we require, including safety certificates, furnishings, and so on.

We will introduce you to a prospective tenant for your approval.

If the tenant meets your approval, we will be present at the tenancy sign-up and help them complete a Housing Benefit application. We will provide bond agreements and inventories where agreed. You will have an assured short-hold tenancy directly with the tenant. You retain the right to end the tenancy in the appropriate manner at the end of the period, or renew it if you are happy with the tenants.

Further information

You can speak to a housing options officer about any tenancy related concerns or help finding tenants. Contact us

Safety standards

If you are not sure about your responsibilities for safety as a landlord, we can give you advice on what standards you need to meet.

As a landlord, you must follow:

Working with your tenants

At the start of a tenancy, you should clearly explain what you and your tenants are responsible for.

A landlord who rents out a property is legally responsible for:

If your property needs major repairs, you will need to arrange this. You cannot expect your tenants to pay for these.

Your tenants may be responsible for small repairs such as:

  • cosmetic decorating
  • gardening
  • changing plugs and light bulbs
  • unblocking sinks, toilets and drains

If your tenants are not confident with DIY, you could recommend or put them in touch with contractors or local handyman schemes. 

Condensation, mould and damp

Find out about the shared landlord and tenant responsibilities for reducing condensation, mould and damp

Having your property formally inspected

If you own a property and rent it out we may decide to do a housing health and safety rating system inspection because

  • your tenants have asked for an inspection
  • an area survey has been carried out and we think your property may be hazardous

We hope to resolve issues informally but if repairs are not carried out we can serve an enforcement notice for which there will be a charge covering officer time and administration cost. This will be reduced to 40% of the calculated fee if paid within 30 days of invoice. We can also do the works ourselves and claim the costs back from you.

Private property repairs guidance

There is a process we follow when investigating complaints.

How we investigate complaints

Landlord details must be supplied by the tenant. Legally, we have to notify the landlord 24 hours before inspecting the property. We will inspect the property within five working days of the complaint. An officer will look at all usable rooms along with loft space, outdoor areas and buildings that the tenant has access to. The tenant can accompany the officer who will take photographs of the defects.

The information obtained will be used to carry out a risk-based assessment to rate hazards. They are rated from A to J, with A the highest risk to health. We have a duty to take enforcement action for hazards rated A, B or C. The enforcement policy also allows action to be taken on hazards rated D. 

We will write to the tenant and the landlord detailing the inspection findings and works needed. The initial approach will be informal, but if the landlord fails to address the hazards the officer must take action. An improvement notice can be served under the Housing Act 2004 - which legally requires the necessary repairs are carried out within a specified timescale.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable on conviction in the magistrates’ court by a fine of up to £5,000. Where there is an imminent risk of serious harm and work needs to be carried out urgently - such as no heating or hot water - and the landlord will not carry out the work or cannot be contacted, an emergency remedial action notice can be served. 

This allows us to employ a contractor to carry out the works and recover the cost from the landlord. We will aim to respond to these complaints within 24 hours. 

Shared houses or bedsits are likely to be houses in multiple occupation and additional duties apply - including a higher standard of fire safety provision. Houses in multiple occupation that have five or more people and consist of three or more storeys require a licence from us and have to comply with specific conditions to protect tenants’ health and wellbeing.

Housing standards, the landlord's repair responsibilities and dealing with unsatisfactory housing conditions

Tenants have the right to have their accommodation kept in a reasonable state of repair. But they also have an obligation to look after the accommodation. The tenancy agreement may give details of the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant in carrying out repairs. 

A landlord must provide accommodation which gives a safe and healthy environment for tenants - standards can vary between different types and ages of property. 

The Housing Act 2004 housing health and safety rating system identifies 29 hazards found in poor housing. A property can be assessed against these hazards. Common hazards include: 

  • inadequate heating, ventilation or thermal insulation 
  • unsafe or unreliable gas and electrical supply 
  • excessive dampness, water leaks 
  • disrepair to stairs or lack of guarding or lighting
  • lack of kitchen, bathroom or drainage facilities
  • lack of fire safety 
  • structural collapse 
  • overcrowding 

Where hazards posing a significant risk to health or causing a nuisance to others are identified, the landlord can be required to carry out appropriate repairs and improvements to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, appearance or decorative issues cannot be taken into consideration.
Tenants who feel they are living in unsatisfactory conditions should first raise the issue with the landlord making a note of the date this was done and listing all the issues raised. Ideally this should be done in writing. A template letter for this is available from us to help you. 

The landlord must be given a reasonable amount of time to investigate and undertake any repair work - this can sometimes involve third parties such as builders or electricians so may take time. Tenants do not have the right to withhold rent to force the landlord to do repairs. Withholding rent could mean the landlord takes legal action for rent arrears, and tenants could lose their home. 

Where the landlord will not take any action, tenants can make a formal complaint to our environmental health service - an officer will inspect the property and liaise with the landlord on the tenant’s behalf. Inspections are carried out under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004.

While it is rare, the landlord may decide to end the housing tenancy if they do not support the approach to complain to us. If the landlord wants to continue renting the property, he will still have to undertake repairs even with a change of tenant. 

Tenants unsure about housing security should contact our housing options team, who can provide free independent advice on housing, eviction, debt and benefit matters to the residents of the Hambleton area.

Council intervention does not give additional points towards housing association or council property waiting lists. 

Before accepting a complaint, we would want to see that the tenant has tried to contact the landlord to resolve the complaint.

Landlord's forum

Our housing options team at hosts a tri-annual landlord forum for private sector landlords in the Hambleton area.

It is a chance for attendees to receive updates on the most recent problems and solutions affecting private sector rentals via talks given by leading industry speakers, as well as an excellent opportunity to discuss queries, legal requirements and best practice with fellow landlords.

Contact our housing options team to be added to the landlord forum mailing list, which circulates information, dates and speaker line-ups for subsequent forums.

Property redress schemes

It is a legal requirement for all lettings agents and property managers in England to join one of these government-approved schemes. Find out more at the Property Redress Scheme website

You can also find more information on the Property Ombudsman website.

This allows you to complain to an independent person about the service you have received if you are:

  • a tenant or landlord with agents in the private rented sector
  • a leaseholder or freeholder dealing with property managers in the residential sector

Ultimately, the requirement to belong to a redress scheme will help weed out bad agents and property managers and drive up standards.


We can impose a penalty of up to £5,000 where an agent or property manager should have joined a scheme but has not done so.

Further information

You can find out more about redress schemes for letting agents and property managers on the Government website

You can also contact us

Universal Credit

We do not process claims for Universal Credit, but we do process claims for those outside the scope of Universal Credit who are eligible for Housing Benefit. More information on Universal Credit can be found on our Universal Credit page.

The Department for Work and Pensions have provided information for landlords, including alternative payment arrangements if your tenant is in arrears. You can find the Universal Credit guide for landlords on the Government website.

Help with rental costs

Tenants may be able to receive Housing Benefit to help with their rental charge which will be administered by us. Payment of Housing Benefit is usually made four weeks in arrears and paid direct to the tenant. The tenant is then fully responsible for making arrangements to pay their rent to the landlord.

If your tenant has rent arrears, or they are unable or unlikely to pay their rent, you should contact us for advice. Where there are rent arrears, we will need to see evidence of these.

Contact us.

Disclosing information

We can only provide information about a claim to those landlords who are receiving direct payments of Housing Benefit or where a tenant has given us written permission to do so. In these cases, the information we can disclose is limited. We cannot disclose information about the tenant's personal household or financial circumstances.

Where we pay a landlord direct, we will write to them and let them know the dates that benefit starts and ends and the weekly rate of entitlement.

Landlord's duties

Landlords who receive direct payment of benefit have a legal responsibility to tell the council about changes in circumstance that could affect their tenant's entitlement, particularly vacations. It is important that changes are reported straight away to avoid any overpayment of benefit. If a tenant leaves a property, any overpaid benefit may be recoverable from the landlord.

Further information

For more information on any of these issues, contact us.