Housing standards in the private sector

We have powers and responsibilities to ensure that housing conditions in the private sector are satisfactory. All properties should be safe and suitable to be lived in and, if they are not, we can serve notices requiring remedial works to be carried out.

Inspection of sub-standard or poor housing

We have powers to ensure that all rented accommodation is up to standard. Where a complaint alleges unsatisfactory conditions in privately-rented property, an officer from the Housing Standards team will visit to assess the situation and require improvements if the premises fall below an acceptable standard

What is private-sector housing?

Most people live in property in the private sector. These are properties which are not owned by public corporations, such as local authorities and housing associations. Occupants include owner-occupiers, lease holders and tenants. Properties can include flats, houses, bedsits, hotels, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, mobile homes and even house-boats.


What is our involvement?

All district councils have been given powers under the Housing Acts to enforce standards of housing. All properties must be safe and suitable for human habitation and, if they are not, we can serve notices requiring works to be carried out to bring up them to standard. We can close or even demolish grossly unsuitable houses.


If I complain, will my landlord find out?

Although we maintain confidentiality, it is inevitable that the landlord will find out if we take enforcement action

Who should I contact about maintaining the house I own?

For advice and information, please see our Home repairs and maintenance pages.


What should I do if my landlord is harassing me or threatening to evict me?

If your landlord is trying to evict you without going through the proper procedure, or is making your life difficult by, for example, cutting-off your electricity or gas supply, then you should contact the Council's Homelessness Team . They have the power to prosecute landlords who harass or illegally evict their tenants.

I have condensation and mould in my house, can you help?

Yes, we can give you practical advice and have a helpful booklet: Treating condensation and mould.

Who deals with fire risk caused by upholstered furniture?

Somerset County Council's consumer protection service enforce the law relating to this.

Who deals with gas fires or boilers which are in a poor condition or badly-maintained ?

The health and safety executive. They have a telephone gas safety advice line on 0800 300363. 


Useful Information

 Private Sector Housing Strategy

 Private Sector Housing Fees and Charges

 The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Landlords & Tenants Guidance booklet

 Information on mould and how to tackle damp in private rented properties