Landlord regulations: doing things by the book

Ocean lettings & management

The rules and legislations for letting a property change frequently, and keeping everything up to date can be a real headache - so how do you make sure you don't unwittingly become a 'rogue landlord'?

With the penalties for non-compliance getting harsher and legislation getting more complex, the easiest way is to let our expert property management team take care of everything for you, with our Complete Management service you can sit back, relax and leave it all to us.

We take our responsibility of ensuring our Landlords are compliant very seriously! Here's our guide to current regulations for Landlords, get in touch if you'd like to know more about how we can make sure you and your property are 100% compliant.

Fire Risk Assessment

Just like employers, landlords have certain legal obligations when it comes to fire safety and protection of their properties and the safety of people who reside in their premises. However, it is not as simple as ensuring there is a couple of fire extinguishers to hand – fire safety largely depends on the potential risks and the different types of buildings can cause confusion. 

Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all areas of their properties. This process will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk and decide if anything needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.

The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 

You have a mandatory legal requirement to make sure that there is an “in-date” Gas Safety Certificate for the property. This certificate must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer and is repeated annually for as long as the property is let. 

The certificate must be made available to the tenants before or at the point of signing the tenancy agreement. For any reason, if there is not a valid certificate when a tenancy is in place and an occupant died from a faulty gas appliance/equipment, then a conviction of unlawful killing could be made against you.

The Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 

The regulation applies to beds, head & footboards, mattresses, sofas, pillows, scatter cushions, loose covers for furniture and garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling. 

All furniture (except furniture made before 1950) included within the accommodation that is for let has to meet all the current fire resistance requirements. All furnishings must have the appropriate labelling to indicate compliance. If no labelling is present and compliance is in doubt, checks should be made with the manufacturer. It is the owners' responsibility to check this.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 

Landlords have a legal obligation to provide at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their properties. Also a carbon monoxide alarm will need to be fitted in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. 

Landlords are also required to demonstrate that the alarms were working at the start of the tenancy, so it is advisable to get the tenant to sign a receipt confirming the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working or ensure it’s in the inventory at check-in which is signed by the tenant. Should the alarms become faulty during the tenancy landlords are responsible for replacing them.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 

All electrical appliances that are left in the let property, have to be safe. Our recommendation is that you get all appliances checked annually by a qualified engineer who will give you a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) certificate. While all appliances manufactured after January 1995 should carry the CE symbol.

Periodic Inspection Report (P.I.R.) & Electrical Installation Condition Report (E.I.C.R.)

Landlords are required by law to ensure: That the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in. That the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition as long as the tenants are there. 

Regulations apply from 1 July 2020, to all new tenancies beginning on or after 1 June 2020, and to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021 that - a qualified person conducts a P.I.R. and issues an E.I.C.R. and every 5 years thereafter. 

An up-to-date E.I.C.R. will ensure you are fulfilling your legal responsibilities as described above, and cover you in the event of an electrical accident, it may also be a condition of your landlord insurance. 

Please note: If you rent your property to 3 or more people from 2 or more households (families) then it is a legal requirement in line with Bristol City Council legislation.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

The legislation states that any damage deposit taken on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy needs to be held in 1 of 3 Government approved schemes. These are The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) or Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL).

Failure on your part to oblige by the legal regulations could lead to court proceedings issued by the tenant. The Court will action an order stating that you must reimburse the Deposit to the Tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme. In addition a further order will be issued requiring you to compensate the tenant with an amount equal to three times the deposit. 

Failure to comply with the above will result in your inability to serve a Section 21 Notification on your tenant and the court will not grant you a possession order.

Energy Performance Certificates

Landlords offering property for rent will be required by law to provide prospective tenants with and Energy Performance Certificate for their property.

EPCs will have to be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted. A new certificate will not be required on each let since, EPCs will be valid for 10 years.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for private rental.

If your property has an energy rating of either 'F' or 'G', new government regulations mean that you will not be able to grant a tenancy agreement or allow a periodic tenancy to be created unless you are exempt.

MEES Fact sheet

If you are a landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards. 

Legionella and landlords responsibilities

Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure. The practical and proportionate application of health and safety law to landlords of domestic rental properties is that whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, implementing simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures will ensure the risk remains low. 

Housing health & safety rating system (HHRS) – Risk Assessments 

The housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales. This assessment method focuses on the hazards that are present in housing. Tackling these hazards will make housing healthier and safer to live in.

Private landlords must understand the requirements under the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the HHSRS and help them identify the type of work that is needed on their properties to conform with the HHSRS, ensure the safety of their tenants and pass local authority risk assessments should they be evaluated.

Along with managing the property and looking after your tenants, our highly trained, ARLA qualified property management team ensure you are always kept up to date with legal requirements, provide solutions and arrange specialist contractors.

What's more, we'll save you time and money, we ensure your asset is maintained with regular inspections, checking in and out procedures - in fact, we have full-time employees whose sole responsibility is to visit properties regularly to check on things so that you don't have to.




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