Health & Safety and Legal Requirements For Landlords

kitchen interiorThe following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore, where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.

Gas

Annual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter, at least every 12 months by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times. Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.

Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new Tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.

Electrical

There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety which affect Landlords and their agents. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates (except in the case of all HMOs). It is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety is to arrange a Fixed Wire Electrical Test, which is valid for five years. In addition to this you require a Portable Appliance Test (PAT TEST), which is required every year for electrical appliances within the property if applicable.

Fire

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.

Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

With effect from October 2015 new legislation came into force to raise the awareness of fire and carbon monoxide safety within the UK. This means that every Landlord has a duty of care to ensure their tenants are adequately protected. Depending upon the number of rooms a rental property has will determine the number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors that should be installed throughout the property. Local Housing Authorities have enforced this legislation,. If Landlords are found to be non-compliant, fines could be up to £5000. We would advise both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms be tested every six months.

The Housing Health And Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities. For further information visit your local authority website.

housesTenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)

Since 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by Landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. Learn more on your local authority website.

If we are not providing our Full Management Service we will normally transfer the tenancy deposit to you within 5 days of receiving it.  You must then register it with a TDP Scheme within a further 25 days if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.  If you fail to do so the Tenant can take legal action against you the Landlord in the county court.  The court will make an order that you must pay the deposit back to the tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme which is known as the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS).  In addition, a further order will be made requiring you pay compensation to the Tenant of an amount equal to three times the deposit.  You will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on your Tenant until compliance with the above conditions, and the court will not grant you a possession order. We have no liability for any loss suffered if you fail to comply.

Tenancy Deposit Protection – Prescribed Information

Legislation requires that certain information must be given to the tenant within 14 days of a deposit being taken. Whether you use the DPS, or the TDS scheme, only some of the information is provided to the Tenants by the scheme administration. The remainder must be provided by the Landlords.

It is very important that the form is completed fully and accurately, and that you attach to it a printed version of the relevant scheme’s Terms and Conditions. These can be downloaded from their respective websites on the following links, depending on which scheme you use:

DPS: http://www.depositprotection.com

TDS: https://www.tds.gb.com

MY DEPOSITS: http://www.mydeposits.co.uk

It is also important that under Paragraph 7 of the form you include the exact terms in the tenancy agreement that permit deductions from the deposit. It is recommended that a signed copy of the form is given to each tenant individually. You should also retain a single copy signed by every Tenant, in order to prove that the information has been given. So where there are say 4 Tenants, you need 5 copies.

Be sure to comply with the above requirements fully and accurately, because penalties to the landlord for non-compliance can be heavy.

The Energy Performance Of  Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 (EPC’s)

Since 1st October 2008 Landlords offering property to let have been required by law to provide prospective Tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. A new certificate will not be required on each let since, in the case of rental property, EPCs will be valid for 10 years. EPCs must be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective Tenants or a viewing is conducted. We will be pleased to arrange an EPC inspection and assessment on your property upon request.

Please note that we cannot market your property to let until we have in our possession a valid EPC  for the property.

Landlord’s Duties For Legionella Management

Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires Disease. We can provide further information on request. You will also find more information on your local authority website. More detailed advice is available on the Health & Safety Executive’s website. As a Landlod you are legally required to manage your property so as not to expose Tenants, residents and visitors to risk.

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We hope that the information summarised in this guide will be of assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not a commentary on the law, nor does it cover all legislation and aspects of lettings. For legal advice you should always consult a solicitor.