As Landlord you are responsible for the safety of your property. There are over 100 pieces of legislation and regulation that affect the private rental sector. Failure to comply will lead to substantial fines and maybe even criminal proceedings.
Landlords have specific legal obligations and responsibilities with regards to fire safety for furniture & furnishings; gas supply and appliances; plus electrical wiring and appliances. It is essential that Landlords take these responsibilities seriously.
If you are a Landlord letting a property equipped with gas appliances you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety. If you let a property, you must make sure that pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition. You need to have a gas safety check every year. A Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out the safety check in your properties. You must give your Tenants a copy of the gas safety record within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in and you should make sure your Tenants know where to turn off the gas and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a Landlord Electrical Safety Certificate for standard private sector rentals. But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a Tenant you could be held liable. If you let property you 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 Furnishings
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 certain types of 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. Some materials used to fill or cover furniture, particularly older and second hand furniture, may be a fire risk and often produces poisonous gases when burning, such as cyanide or carbon monoxide. Any furniture not complying must be completely removed from the property prior to letting - not just stored in the garage!
Energy Performance Certificates
An Energy Performance Certificate, otherwise known as an EPC, provides an energy rating for a home, showing its energy efficiency and 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 property’s energy performance. It is the landlord's legal obligation to provide their tenants with a certificate and this remains valid for a 10 year period. All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC prior to marketing the property as the EPC results have to appear on marketing documentation and the report has to be available to prospective tenants prior to letting the house. As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. Please see the RLA website for more information regarding the EPC regulations (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards)