As a landlord there are many strict legal requirements and regulations that you must follow in order to ensure your property is up to current standards. It is important that you take these seriously as failure to comply can lead to large fines and even imprisonment!
Using a managing agent can help you to have peace of mind in this area as they will assist you to keep track of the ever changing requirements – and also ensure that your property has all the up to date paperwork it needs to be lettable, prior to a new let and during each tenancy.
With over 100 pieces of legislation to comply with, choosing our managed service means we will take full responsibility for the time-consuming burden of arranging, tracking, managing and keeping records of all of these required tasks and checks, so you don’t have to worry.
Below are some of the current legal requirements your property must adhere to before it can be let out;
Gas Safety Certificate
Any let property with a gas supply or gas appliances is required to have a gas safety inspection carried out annually. It is vital that a Gas Safe Registered engineer carried out the check within 12 months of the last certificate date, or prior to a tenant moving in, should it be a newly let out property. A copy of the certificate must also be provided to the tenant at move in and then within 28 days of each inspection during a tenancy, along with information on where to turn the gas off in an emergency.
The main checks to be done and recorded for each gas appliance at these inspections are;
- Ensuring there is sufficient air supply for proper combustion of the appliance.
- Ensuring there are adequate facilities for removal of products of combustion.
- Ensuring there is adequate ventilation for appliances to be safely used.
- Ensuring that appliances are safe to use and eliminating any risk of escaping gas.
If any faults are found it is an offence to continue using the appliance and remedial works must be carried out to either repair the fault or replace the appliance as necessary immediately or a landlord is at risk of heavy penalties, including a fine of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.
Don’t have a current gas safety certificate? In order to minimise any possible delays to letting out your property, Belvoir St Albans have Gas Safe Registered engineers standing by to carry out a gas safety inspection on your property for a standard charge – please call the office for more information on01727 884900
Electrical SafetyIt is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure all electrical wiring, and electrical appliances supplied in the property are safe to use from the outset of a let. Unlike with gas appliances there is no law to enforce a landlord to have specific electrical testing carried out on a property. However, should any electrical item in your rental property cause harm to a tenant you may still be held liable if you are unable to prove that you have ensured the electrics at the property are safe to use.
Whilst it may not be a legal requirement, Belvoir St Albans does still recommend its landlords have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) inspection carried out on their properties, for safety and peace of mind, both for yourself and your tenants. You may also choose to have your appliances and electrical items PAT tested (Portable Appliance Test) to ensure full compliance.
An EICR lasts for 5 years, whilst a PAT certificate needs to be re-done every 12 months.
For more information and advice on what an EICR or PAT inspection covers, or to request either to be carried out at your property please call the office on01727 884900
Furniture and FurnishingsFurniture and furnishings supplied in all rental properties must comply with ‘The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988’. If you let your property on a furnished basis please be mindful that the legislation covers (but is not limited to); Sofas, Settees, Seat pads, Beds, Headboards, Pillows, Armchairs, Scatter cushions, Futons, Mattresses and Bean bags. Generally speaking, most items purchased from a reputable company after 1st March 1990 will comply, due to manufacturing guidelines and requirements (be aware that this may not apply to furnishings manufactured overseas). The only absolute safeguard is for the original and correct label to be attached to the item.
Carpets and curtains are not included in these requirements. If any item is found not to comply, these must be removed immediately – they cannot be stored at the property, even in a locked room. This is because some materials used to fill or cover furniture that does not have the correct fire safety labelling, could not only be a fire risk themselves, but also have been found to produce poisonous gases if burnt – such as cyanide and carbon monoxide.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide AlarmsFrom October 2015 new legislation came into place in regards to landlords requirements for smoke detection alarms in rental properties. Landlords are now required to ensure that there is a working smoke alarm on every living floor of the property. Whilst it is the tenants’ responsibility to maintain and change batteries during tenancy, the landlord must ensure they are working prior to any new tenancy. A Carbon Monoxide (CO2) alarm must also be installed into any room where solid fuel is burnt (e.g. wood or coal burning fire or stove).
At Belvoir St Albans, for our managed properties, we install new, test and replace smoke alarms as required, in order to ensure your property is compliant, prior to each let. We also include notification of this in the inventory provided to the tenant and ensure they are aware of their responsibility to maintain the alarms, and the possible safety implications of not regularly testing and changing the batteries in them.
Landlords whose properties fail to comply with this legislation are at risk of a £5,000 civil penalty.
Legionella Risk AssessmentAnother newly introduced piece of landlord legislation is regarding Legionnaires Disease. All properties now need to have a risk assessment complied by a trained individual, including water testing and sampling.
A report will then be complied outlining any risk factors found, and advice on how to avoid or improve these potential threats.
A copy of the risk assessment must be provided to the tenant at move in.
At Belvoir St Albans we have a contractor who has recently received full training and is now qualified to carry out these risk assessments. For more information on obtaining a Legionella Risk Assessment for your property please call the office on01727 884900
Other Landlord Regulations
An Energy Performance Certificate is compulsory for any property that is bought sold or rented, and again a copy must be provided to the tenants at their move in.
The EPC provides an energy rating – from A to G (A being the most efficient and G the least) – along with information and recommended ways on how to improve this. It also shows the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property.
Once a property has been inspected the corresponding certificate then lasts for 10 years.
Not sure if your property already has an up to date EPC? Why not check the national EPC register?
If you don’t yet have one, we can arrange our contractor to attend and carry out the required inspection. This is done at a standard charge based on the size and number of rooms at the property – please call the office for more information on01727 884900
Registering a Deposit
For any tenancy that started after 6 April 2007 the deposit must be registered into a recognised tenancy deposit protection scheme (such as TDS or DPS). This allows any deposit disputes to be mediated fairly by a third party who is uninvolved in the tenancy and unbiased. The tenants must also be provided with the prescribed information about the chosen scheme within 30 days of the deposit being registered.
Again, this is something Belvoir St Albans can take care of for you. Unless you have chosen another scheme, your tenant’s deposit will be automatically registered with mydeposits.co.uk. Whether you have chosen a Managed or Let Only service, we will hold the deposit for you with DPS until the end of the tenancy.
‘Right to Rent’
From the 1st of February 2016 landlords and agents are now responsible for ensuring that any new tenants can prove they have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK. Original documents for any adult applying to rent a property in the UK, such as passports, ID cards and Visa stamps, must be seen and a copy retained for the full duration of the tenancy.
A tenancy agreement cannot be entered into without this proof.
The landlord or agent must also carry out ‘follow up checks’ if the tenant has a limited stay visa, to ensure that they continue to have the right to rent in the UK.
Prescribed Information to Tenants in England
The government has created and issued a ‘How to Rent’ guide for tenants. From the 1st October 2015 all tenants must have access to a copy of this before signing a new tenancy agreement. At Belvoir Leicester we ensure we have provided all new applicants and all re-signing tenants with an electronic copy (and a paper copy where requested) and have them sign documentation to confirm that this has been received.