Furniture and equipment if you have a private landlord
- If you have a standard contract with a private landlord you should be given an inventory
- Check your contract and inventory carefully to see what it says about responsibilities for furniture and other equipment
How can an inventory help?
If you have a standard occupation contract with a private landlord or a supported standard contract, you should be given an inventory within 14 days of your contract starting. It is a good idea to have an inventory even if you have another kind of renting agreement.
The inventory should list all the items of furniture and equipment provided by the landlord and the condition they were in when you moved in. You should be given the opportunity to comment on the inventory within 14 days of receiving it if you think it is incorrect. If you do make comments on the inventory the landlord should provide a new copy, including comments even if they do not agree with them.
If the landlord doesn’t provide an inventory, check if the supplementary terms of your written contract say that you should be given one. It is a good idea to do one yourself and ask the landlord to sign it as a witness. If s/he refuses, ask someone else to do so, and send a copy to your landlord.
When you move out, inspect the property with your landlord and check the condition of all the items on the inventory. If anything is missing, damaged, or broken (except through normal wear and tear), your landlord can keep all or part of your deposit, to cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
What if furniture or equipment gets damaged?
If furniture is provided by the landlord, it is usually their responsibility to repair or replace furniture but this is not always the case. You should check with your landlord at the start of your contract who has the responsibility to repair or replace specific items. It could be that both you and your landlord have responsibilities to repair or replace furniture and other household items provided. For example, the landlord is probably not responsible for repairing or replacing items you are allowed to remove and don’t have to replace when you move out. Your written contract and inventory should make it clear but if it doesn’t, be sure to check with the landlord and get confirmation in writing.
Wear and tear
If any items in your home become dangerous or unusable through everyday wear and tear, you should report the problem to your landlord straight away. They can then decide whether to repair or replace the item.
Your landlord is not allowed to charge you for reasonable wear and tear and should not keep your deposit to pay for it.
Are there any standards for furniture safety?
Any furniture and equipment supplied by your landlord should be of reasonable quality and suitable for the purpose it’s provided for. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be brand new; but it should work and shouldn’t be dangerous.
Any new or replacement upholstered furniture (sofas, armchairs, mattresses, head boards and cushions) provided by your landlord should be fire resistant. There should be a symbol on the label to show that it meets fire safety standards. If they do not conform to fire safety standards or seem in any way unsafe, ask your landlord to replace them.
What about gas equipment?
All gas appliances provided by your landlord, must be inspected every year by a registered gas engineer from the Gas Safe Register. Your landlord must keep a copy of the engineer’s report and must also give you a copy.
Any repairs or maintenance carried out on gas appliances must be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You can check if a gas engineer is registered here.
If you’re worried about gas safety in your home, report any problems to your landlord immediately and don’t use anything that you think is unsafe. If your landlord refuses to comply with gas safety standards, you should get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Don’t take risks and never DIY with gas – it’s illegal to do so!
What about electrics and electrical appliances?
The electrics in your home should be safe, and tested every 5 years. The landlord must provide you with a copy of the electrical installation condition report (EICR) within 14 days of your occupation contract starting. If the landlord does not do this your home may be classed as not fit to live in. Our advice section about home safety contains further information responsibilities for electrical safety and electrical safety precautions.
If your landlord supplies electrical appliances such as a fridge or washing machine, they may be responsible for fixing them if they break down. However, much will depend on what was agreed between you at the outset of the contract, and how important the item was to you when you decided to agree to the contract. Check to see if your occupation contract says whether the landlord is responsible. You are responsible for maintaining any electrical goods that you own.
Where can I get help?
If you are having problems with furniture or equipment and aren’t sure of your rights, you can get help from one of our advisers.
It’s important to consider how easily your landlord can evict you before you decide whether to take action. If you have a standard or secure occupation contract your landlord can’t evict you to avoid carrying out repairs or making your home fit to live in. This is called a ‘retaliatory eviction’ and you can find out more about your rights here.
If your home is very dangerous it is probably worth taking action even if you don’t have a secure or standard contract. Bear in mind your landlord can evict you very easily without providing a reason if you are an excluded occupier or an occupier with basic protection. You might be able to get help with rehousing if your home is not fit to live in. Get help if you’re not sure about your rights and rehousing options.