Landlords have specific legal obligations and responsibilities with regards to safety for gas supply and appliances, electrical wiring and appliances and furniture and furnishing. It is critical that landlords comply with these safety regulations as failure to do so can lead to substantial fines and, in some cases, even imprisonment or manslaughter charges.
Furthermore, insurance covers may be invalidated if landlords fail to comply with safety regulations. In addition to safety obligations, landlords also have other specific legal obligations such as providing EPC certificates and registration of tenants deposit. Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to substantial fines.
All gas appliances supplied in rental accommodation must comply with Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It is important that the landlord letting the property fully understands and complies with this regulation. Failing to do so could lead to manslaughter charges in severe cases and substantial fines of up to 20,000.
The basic requirements are for all appliances to be checked annually including flues, any pipe work and gas related appliances. These checks must be carried out by an approved Gas Safe registered engineer, who must also hold Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) registration for the type of appliance being worked on. A record of these checks must be provided to the tenant within 28 days of the checks being carried out or before they move in if they are new tenants.
You must also ensure that tenants are aware of correct procedures to follow in the event of a gas emergency.
SafetyAll electrical appliances and fittings supplied in rental accommodation within the property must be safe and in good working order. The basic requirement is that nothing supplied to the tenant should jeopardise the safety of the tenants or property. Each item should be safe to use. Unlike the gas regulations, there is no requirement to provide a copy of the records of all the checks to the tenant. However should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable. Therefore, it is advisable to check all electrical equipment periodically by Qualified Electrician and keep records of checks made.
All electrical appliances should be supplied with instruction manuals to ensure tenants can operate all equipment safely. To summarise, landlords must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe. Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in a fine or even imprisonment.
Furniture and Furnishing
Furniture and furnishings supplied in rental accommodation must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. If you let your residential property furnished you must ensure that furniture and furnishings provided meet the current safety regulations. Failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence and may result in heavy fines or imprisonment. Any new piece of furniture introduced to a letting from 31 March 1993 must be compliant with the regulations. Any property that was first let after March 1993 must be compliant from when it was first let.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
From 1st October 2008, all landlords are legally obliged to provide their tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate, otherwise known as EPC, which remains valid for a 10-year period. An EPC provides an energy rating for a property, showing its energy efficiency and typical energy cost as well as its environmental impact on a scale from A-G (where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient). It also contains recommended ways to improve the propertys energy performance. All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC.
According to the Building Regulation requirement, all properties built after 1992 must be equipped with mains powered interconnected fire alarms fitted on every level of the property. By law, there is currently no requirement for properties to be fitted with fire alarms. However in the event of a fire if a tenant gets injured, the landlord could be prosecuted for negligence and could be charged with manslaughter in severe cases.
**Please note** From October 2015 it will be a legal requirement for all rental properties to have working smoke alarms on each floor and carbon monoxide alarms where appropriate.
Tenancy Deposit Registration
From 6th April 2012, under the Housing Act 2004 all landlords are legally obliged to register their tenants deposit for any Assured Short-hold Tenancy, otherwise known as AST. The landlord must ensure that the deposit is protected within 30 calendar days from date of deposit receipt.
Failure to comply with this regulation could lead to the landlord having to re-pay the deposit and up to three times the deposit in compensation to the tenant. In addition the landlord would lose the ability to service a Section 21 notice, making it impossible to regain possession of the property unless the Tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement. Tenancy deposit must be registered with one of the Government approved registration scheme