Safety and Legal Requirements

As a priority you will need to be sure your property complies with the safety and legal requirements for rental properties. Here’s a summary below. Please contact us for further details.

GAS Safety and legal requirements

You will need an 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 at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Your appliances must be maintained in a safe condition at all times and records need to be kept for at least 2 years. A copy of the safety certificate must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences.

Electrical Safety and 2020 new legal requirements

Electrical Tests New Legislation for 2020 –   This states that all new tenancies starting on or after April 1st, 2020 will have to have an electrical safety certificate.  This will last 5 years before renewal.  They have also stated that all existing tenancies will have to have a certificate of safety from April 1st, 2021.  If the system fails the check, you will have 28 days to get problems fixed.

Fire Safety

Furnishings

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, and certain other items.

Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.

Smoke Alarms

All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new.

Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties (except HMOs), it is generally considered that the common law ‘duty of care’. This means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We will therefore, only let a property where the Landlord has fitted at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).

Houses of Multiple Occupants (HMO’s) – Legal requirements

If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules will apply.

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.

Tenancy Deposit Protection Legal Requirement

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. 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.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005

The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people?s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and commonhold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s)

Since 1st October 2008 landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent are legally required to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. In Scotland EPCs for rental properties have been required since January 2009. The certificates must be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted. An EPCs is valid for 10 years. We can arrange an EPC inspection for our landlord clients upon request.

The above is a brief summary of landlords’ responsibilities and of the laws surrounding tenanted property. We hope that you find it useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property. If you wish you can print this page by using your browser Print option.