Here you will find a brief guild into your obligation and legal requirements when letting your property. It’s vital you get all these legal requirements in place before any tenancy begins, please note if any of them don’t happen, you could be fined or even imprisoned.
Your responsibilities as a landlord are numerous. By using a reputable letting agent such as REMAX, these burdens can be shared and managed, you will also benefit from the advice given to you by experienced and knowledgeable staff.
RIGHTS OF THE LANDLORD & TENANTS
Landlords have the right to:
Tenants have the right to:
The law says you must not discriminate against a tenant or prospective tenant. This is based on their race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation or gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, or any disability. Any advice we give you will reflect this.
You must provide a well maintained safe and healthy environment for the whole time your tenant stays in your property and You are responsible for keeping your property in repair, including:
These requirements fall under sections 11 to 16 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Housing Act 1988) as well as the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. From March 2020 this act will also apply to all tenancies.
HEALTH & SAFETY RESPONSIBILITIES
Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998
Gas Safety inspections are mandatory and must be conducted yearly. The maximum penalty for not adhering to the regulations is £5000 fine and/or 6 month’s imprisonment. However, more serious charges may be brought if a tenant or occupier dies as a result of non-compliance.
All gas appliances, pipework, flues and boilers must be maintained in a safe condition They must be serviced annually. It’s a legal requirement to have the gas checks done annually. Only gas safe registered engineers can do the checks and certificates if you’re organising these yourself you should check their membership is up to date to make sure their report will be valid.
If you already have a gas safety record, for it to be valid it’ll need at least 30 days left to run you’ll need to have a copy ready for your tenant’s move-in day. If you need to organise a new one, please book it for at least seven days before the start of the tenancy to make sure you’ll have enough time to organise any work needed before your tenants arrive. A gas safety record is different from a boiler service. During the tenancy, any updated gas records must be given to tenants within 28 days of being done.
You’ll need to tell your tenants where to turn the gas off in an emergency, the emergency shut off valves must be marked, and you’ll need to give them the National Grid’s gas emergency number: 0800 111 999
Electrical Equipment safety
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 require that electrical equipment, including wiring, is safe and will not cause harm.
From 1st July 2020, every tenant entering into a new tenancy must receive a copy of the EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) or if it’s a new build an Electrical Installation Certificate before they move in. Your penalty for not doing this can be a fine of up to £30,000. Electrical checks have to be completed at least every five years unless your electrical contractor says this needs to be sooner.
You must complete any works repair or replacements indicated on the report:
Legionella’s risk assessment
Legionella naturally occurs within water supplies making every property a potential risk. Legionella is a serious flu-like illness which is very often mistaken for pneumonia and can be fatal. You are legally required to ensure your tenants’ risk of exposure to legionella is properly assessed and controlled. We work with legionella risk assessment specialists who can help you determine the risks to your property and tenants.
If your property has not been lived in for more than 14 days before a tenancy starts then at this point, or immediately before tenants check-in, you must make sure all hot and cold water outlets are run freely for a minimum of three minutes in order to purge the water system of any stale water. Read more information on water safety and reducing the risk of legionella.
Furniture and furnishings
From the 1st January 1997, all upholstered furniture in rented accommodation must comply with the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended).
Failure to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction of a £5,000 fine and/or six month’s imprisonment.
You’ll need to show us evidence that any soft furnishings in your property comply with furniture fire and safety regulations. We’ll need to see the fixed labels, or receipts that prove you bought the items new and after 1990. Anything that doesn’t comply must be removed from the property before the tenancy starts. If you’re unsure about any of the items you’re leaving, check firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and furnishings- fire-safety-regulations.
All upholstered or part-upholstered furniture is covered by the regulations including mattresses, pillows, and cushions. Each piece of furniture that complies with these regulations should have a rectangular label permanently attached to it with the heading “CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE”.
If you choose to let your property furnished, it will need to be fully equipped so that the tenant(s) can move in with only their belongings, and all furniture included by you will be your responsibility to repair and replace. Unfurnished accommodation should include the basics – carpets, curtains and basic kitchen appliances. A full inventory is vital for all properties, particularly when furnished.
From 1 October 2018, all fixed term assured shorthold tenancies in England will be subject to new rules under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.With the new rules, landlords and agents that wish to serve their tenants with a Section 21, or ‘no-fault’ eviction must ensure that they have issued a ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide, provide tenants with an up to date Gas Safety Certificate, Issue the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, give tenants the Prescribed Information relating to the protection of their deposit (which must be protected), Where the property is licensed, provide a copy of the licence to all of the property’s tenants.
Failure to do so your section 21 notice may be deemed as invalid. Under the new rules, your section 21 notice will only be valid for 6 months. If the 6 months lapse a new section 21 notice will have to be served.
Private Rented Sector Property Licensing and HMO Management
This applies to any rented property, regardless of whether it is an HMO or not. You’ll only need a selective licence, if your local authority have introduced a selective licensing scheme and your property is rented and in the selective licensing area.
HMO: House in Multiple Occupation
Household: either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
Small/basic HMO: any property let to three or four tenants who aren’t all part of the same household where some or all of the bathroom and or kitchen facilities are shared.
Large HMO: any property let to five or more tenants who aren’t all part of the same household where some or all of the bathroom and or kitchen facilities are shared.
Every HMO whether it needs a licence or not must comply with the HMO Management Regulations 2006.