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What are my responsibilities if no written tenancy agreement is in place?
The fact that there is nothing in writing does not absolve landlords or tenants from their statutory duties and responsibilities and does not reduce or diminish a tenant’s rights.
Even without anything in writing, a landlord (whether renting out their own property or letting a property purchased for that purpose) still has many legally enforceable duties and responsibilities they would not have as a homeowner and which they cannot avoid..
You will still be responsible for all repairs, maintenance and refurbishment to the property. You'll also need to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and ensure the correct and safe operation of water, heating or cooling systems in the rental property.
Any gas appliances will need to be tested by a Gas Safe registered engineer and you need to make sure any upholstered furniture is fireproof. Landlords must also now have an Energy Performance Certificate arranged for their tenants and will still need to register any deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The local authority can still serve improvement notices or fine you if you fail to respond to a tenant’s reasonable request for repairs.
If you don’t have a written tenancy agreement you can still serve a Section 21 or Section 8 Notice but it will be difficult to bring a claim based on breach of the terms of the tenancy because you won’t have a written document setting out what those terms are.