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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

FAQ Private Landlords and Tenants

What do you mean by ‘advice for landlords and tenants’?

We can offer help and advice to you on your rights and responsibilities whether you rent your home from a private landlord, rather than Birmingham City Council, or if you are a landlord.

These Frequently Asked Questions explain more about these rights and responsibilities.

Private tenants should also refer to our Managing Your Private Tenancy FAQs

I am a tenant living in a privately rented property. There are a number of repairs that are needed. What can I do?

What if I don't have my landlord's details?

What repairs must my landlord carry out?

What repairs must I carry out myself?

My landlord won’t undertake the repairs to my home. Can you help me?

What safety checks does my landlord have to carry out?

I am having trouble with pests (mice, rats, ants, cockroaches). Is my landlord responsible for resolving the problem?

When I moved in, there was rubbish in the garden which my landlord said he would move. Can Birmingham City Council force the landlord to move the rubbish?

I rent my home from a housing association and have problems getting the repairs undertaken. Can you help me resolve the problem?

I am a landlord and I am having problems with my tenants. Can I get any help or advice?

Where can I go for advice on existing and future housing legislation?

Can I become more involved in helping to monitor your service to private landlords and tenants?

How else can I share my views on your service to private landlords and tenants?

Who do I contact if I have any concerns about a private tenancy?


I am a tenant living in a privately rented property. There are a number of repairs that are needed. What can I do?

You should report the problems to your landlord and find out how long it will take to complete the repairs. If you put this in writing, you have proof that you have reported your concerns.

You should keep copies of any documents provided by the landlord, such as your tenancy agreement, as this will tell you who is responsible for repairs and maintenance. You have responsibilities as a tenant, and this information will be on your tenancy agreement.

If you are not able to approach your landlord directly, or if you feel that your concerns are not being resolved, then please contact us, by telephone on 0121 303 5341 or by e-mail to prs@birmingham.gov.uk.

What if I don't have my landlord's details?

You have a legal right to be given the name and address of your landlord by the agent or the person to whom you pay your rent.

If you have not been given this information, you should write to the person to whom you pay your rent. They have an obligation to provide that information within 21 days.

You can also find out the name and address of your landlord through the Land Registry website, although there will be a small fee.

What repairs must my landlord carry out?

Your landlord has a duty to keep the property in good repair. It is usually their responsibility to carry out work to repair:

  • the structure and outside of the building (the roof, walls, floors, doors, windows, gutters, pipes and drains)
  • plumbing (including baths, toilets and wash basins)
  • electrical wiring and gas pipes
  • fixed room heaters and water heaters.

What repairs must I carry out myself?

This will be included in your tenancy agreement, but generally you will be responsible for repairs to:

  • the internal decoration
  • broken windows
  • blocked drains, waste outlets and gutters

If you are not sure who is responsible for the repairs, you can telephone the Reactive Team for advice on 0121 303 5341.

My landlord won’t undertake the repairs to my home. Can you help me?

You can telephone us on 0121 303 5341 and we will contact your landlord on your behalf. We will advise him or her of the repairs that are required, and we will ask them to complete the work within a certain timeframe.

If your landlord does not complete the work, the Private Rented Services team will arrange to visit you. They will inspect the condition of the house under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004. Under this Act, your landlord is required to keep your home in reasonable repair. If we find that your home is below the appropriate standard, we will consider serving a formal notice on your landlord that details the work that is required and the date by which the work should be completed.

If your landlord ignores the formal notice, we will consider finding a contractor to do the work and we will charge your landlord the cost of this work. We may also take legal action against your landlord. However, this is a last resort and, in the majority of cases, the matter is resolved before this stage.

What safety checks does my landlord have to carry out?

At the start of your tenancy, your landlord should provide you with a copy of your property’s Energy Performance Certificate. This will show how energy-efficient the property is and it will give you an idea of how easy it will be to heat the property. To comply with the Housing Act 2004, your property should have an affordable, whole-house heating system.

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas appliances must be inspected every 12 months by a qualified and registered gas fitter. Your landlord should give you a copy of a Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificate.

Your electrical system should be checked every five years and you should be given a copy of the current Periodic Inspection certificate, outlining the results of the latest check, when you begin your tenancy. A full inspection should be carried out either when a fault is reported or when any work is undertaken on the system. In addition, all portable electrical appliances must be checked every year for electrical safety. This includes items such as refrigerators and washing machines.

The landlord should also check that all the furniture complies with the soft furnishing regulations.

To find out more, visit the Trading Standards website.

I am having trouble with pests (mice, rats, ants, cockroaches). Is my landlord responsible for resolving the problem?

Normally you will be responsible for arranging and paying the cost of clearing any infestations, not your landlord.

However, if the pests are gaining access as result of a structural problem with the property or, for example, there is a problem with the drainage, then your landlord may be responsible for the necessary repairs and the cost of the pest control.

Your landlord may also be responsible if you live in a flat or shared house and the source of the problem is outside your control.

When I moved in, there was rubbish in the garden which my landlord said he would move. Can Birmingham City Council force the landlord to move the rubbish?

No we can't. This matter is an agreement between you and your landlord. We would advise you to ask him or her to honour that agreement and to put that request in writing, giving them a reasonable time to do the work (normally at least 21 days). If the rubbish is not removed you will need to seek independent advice from a solicitor.

I rent my home from a housing association and have problems getting the repairs undertaken. Can you help me resolve the problem?

Yes we can. Housing Associations are subject to the same laws as private landlords.

I am a landlord and I am having problems with my tenants. Can I get any help or advice?

We can advise you on your responsibilities towards your tenants and how you can deal with any problems that you are having under landlord and tenant law. For advice and information, please telephone the Private Tenancy Unit on 0121 303 5070.

Where can I go for advice on existing and future housing legislation?

The government department responsible for housing is the Office of Communities and Local Government. You can visit their website at www.communities.gov.uk.

Other useful sources of information are the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website (www.cieh.org) and the Chartered Institute of Housing (www.cih.org).

Can I become more involved in helping to monitor your service to private landlords and tenants?

Yes you can – we value feedback from customers as it helps us to improve and develop our services. If you would like to join the private tenants’ forum, please telephone Suzanne Drew on 0121 464 9886.

How else can I share my views on your service to private landlords and tenants?

Please email your comments to prs@birmingham.gov.uk, or send a0 letter to Private Rented Services, PO Box 16589, Birmingham, B2 2JB.

Who do I contact if I have any concerns about a private tenancy?

You can telephone the Private Tenancy Unit on 0121 303 5070.