A GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS
Landlords of residential property are required by The Gas Safety (Installation and use) Regulations 1998 to ensure that all gas appliances are checked and maintained in a safe condition at all times. An annual safety check is required by a registered tradesperson. It is not possible to contract out of these regulations. A breach is a criminal offence, enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. Landlord’s must:
- Carry out an annual safety check
- Check that all gas pipe work is not leaking
- Give a copy of the Record to the tenant when they move in or to an existing tenant within 28 days of the check
- Keep Gas Safety Records for two years
- Ensure all appliances and flues are maintained in a safe condition
2. Electrical Safety and Electrical Goods
- Landlord and Tenanant Act 1985
- Consumer Protetction Act 1987
- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Building Regulations act 2000
Legislation places on all landords an obligation to ensure that all electrical appliances supplied are safe
The Electrical Safety Council recommends that landlords should
- Check the condition of wiring, plugs and sockets
- Check that correct plugs and fuses are fitted
- Check that all appliances are safe and correctly fused
- Give to all tenants appliance safety sheets or booklets for all electrical equipment supplied
- Maintain records of all checks and repairs
There is no statutory requirement to carry out annual safety checks on electrical installations. However there are statutory requirements for electrical tests in HMO’s and mains must be tested every five years. Licenced HMO’s may carry specific requirements for testing set out in the licence document
Building Regulations contain requirements concerning the competency of contractors and in relation to existing installations and new work
Best practice dictates that an electrical test should be carried out prior to letting, and periodically therafter as it is the only certain way to ensure the electrical systems are safe
All soft furnishings must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. New items must have labels to show that they comply. Second hand furniture may not have a label, in which case the landlord must establish that the items comply with the regulations.
4. Smoke Detectors
All new properties must have hard wired smoke detectors on each floor, or a minimum of two in a single storey property. In older homes, Landlords still have a duty of care and where smoke detectors are supplied, they must be in working order. Carbon monoxide detectors are a good safety feature and when supplied must also be in working order.
The Landlord must ensure that the property and its contents are comprehensively insured, to include public liability cover. Tenants should be encouraged to insure their own contents. Failure to inform your insurer that your property is let could render the policy void, which in turn could leave you in breach of the terms of any mortgage and potentially facing substantial damages claims from the tenant and other third parties.
6. Income Tax
The Landlord is responsible for notifying the Inland Revenue of the tenancy, as income from rented property is subject to UK income tax, even if the Landlord resides abroad.
(Other taxes may be payable on an investment property such as Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax)
Where the property is subject to a mortgage or loan, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to obtain permission to let the property and to have received consent from any lenders or any other person or persons whose consent is required. Failure to obtain consent may affect the property insurance; it could also be a breach of tenancy or breach of duty of care.
It is the Landlord’s responsibility to notify all utility companies and local authorities of any change of occupancy. Where the property is empty, the landlord is liable for Council Tax
9. Repair and Maintenance
In addition to the terms of the tenancy agreement, common law and statute imply obligations on the landlord. These include:
- Tenants right of quiet enjoyment and renting without disruption from the landlord
- Compliance with Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
- Defective Premises Act 1972
- Occupiers Liability Act 1957
- Housing Health and Safety Rating System
- Decent Homes Standards (England only)
10. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
Landlords must comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. These regulations apply to management duties and relate to all HMO’s. Additional regulations may apply to licenced HMO’s and these will be contained in the licence document.
11. Fire safety
The Fire Safety Order places obligations on the landlord to carry out a fire risk assessment of the property prior to letting
12. Leasehold flat and other property
Where the property is leasehold, you must obtain the consent of the freeholder or management company prior to letting, where this is a term of the lease.
13. Restrictions etc. affecting your property
Whether your property is freehold or leasehold, there may be special rights or restrictions affecting it. Sometimes there are Local Town Planning issues that might affect a letting. Landlords must make tenants aware of these conditions and restrictions.
If the landlord takes a deposit or other financial surety from the tenant or a guarantor, it must be held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme in accordance with the Housing Act 2004. At the end of the letting, this is returned to the tenant less any deductions made to cover breaches of the Agreement. The deposit must be held under the relevant scheme rules.
A Tenancy Agreement between a landlord and a Tenant is an important legal document and it places legally enforceable obligations on the Landlord.
The information provided in this guide has been produced in good faith. Rental Trader do not accept liability (in negligence or otherwise) for decisions taken in reliance on the information contained in this guide. In any situation, what is in the landlord’s best interest and the landlord’s particular obligations and rights may well vary and it is not possible for Rental Trader to cover every combination of circumstances that may arise.
All references to legislation and comments above are intended as a guide only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. They should not be relied upon as the basis of any decision or legal action.
The law is constantly changing and it is the Landlord’s responsibility to keep up to date with current legislation. You should consult your solicitor if you require further information about your rights and obligations as a Landlord
16. Consequential loss
As far as permitted by law, Rental Trader shall not be liable for any consequential loss suffered by the Landlord either directly or indirectly as a result of any delay in obtaining possession of the property or any breaches of landlords obligations. Rental Trader’s maximum liability for loss or damage for breach of contract negligence or other tort breach of fiduciary duty or trust or otherwise shall be limited to £5,000 per claim.