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Advice for people renting privately

Your landlord, or their agent, has legal responsibilities to manage your tenancy fairly and to keep your home up to a decent standard.

If you need advice

Our Tenancy Relations Service provides specialist advice on the rights and responsibilities of private tenants, landlords and agents. We aim to prevent homelessness and investigate allegations of harassment and illegal evictions within Southwark’s privately rented sector. You can find more information in our tenants hotline leaflet (pdf, 483kb).

You can use our web form to tell us about your problem and we'll respond within 2 working days, usually on the same day.

If your private landlord has served you a notice to leave your home, this tool (pdf, 121kb) can help you check whether it's valid.

You can contact our tenancy relations team on 0207 525 4113, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm (Wednesdays 10am-4pm).

You can find advice below if:

The government have published a series of how to guides for the private rented sector, including:

  • how to rent - a guide for current and prospective tenants
  • how to rent a safe home - a guide for current and prospective tenants
  • how to lease - a guide for current and prospective leaseholders

Our Financial Inclusion Team can advise and assist tenants at risk of losing their homes or tenants worried about their current housing situation. The team can also help with financial costs.

Find out about the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

Tenant Fees Act 2019

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019. The Tenant Fees Act reduces the amount of upfront money new tenants will have to pay to set up their contracts. Find out more from the guidance for tenants (pdf, 620kb) and guidance for landlords (pdf, 493kb).

Rights and responsibilities

If you're a private tenant or private landlord, you can find more information about private renting rights and responsibilities and dealing with landlord/agent problems on the Shelter and GOV.UK websites.

To find out about the rights of disabled people who are renting, see this guide.

You can find more information about help with empty properties here.

Legal Advice

London South Bank University are currently running a Legal Advice Clinic. This is a free public drop-in advice service staffed by LSBU law students working under the supervision of practising solicitors.

They can provide general advice on any social welfare law matters including family, housing, employment, welfare rights, consumer and debt (except immigration). Following an initial assessment at a daytime drop-in session, you may be offered specialist legal advice in family and housing by appointment on a Thursday evening.

For information on the location and opening times of The Legal Advice Clinic, see this leaflet (pdf, 486kb).

Make a complaint

If you have a complaint about a private landlord, contact them directly. If the complaint is about a letting or managing agent, visit the Shelter website.

Page last updated: 16 March 2021

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