Landlord Guide

 

  1. Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulation 1998
  2. Electrical Equipment
  3. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
  4. Right to Rent
  5. Professional Inventory and Schedule of Condition
  6. Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988
  7. Legionnaires Disease
  8. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  9. Overseas Landlord

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulation 1998

Gas regulations came into force on 31st October 1998, for all properties and below are regulations specific to rented properties and state:

Maintenance

The regulations place a duty on the Landlord to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.

Annual Safety Check

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 competent engineer (GAS SAFE Registered).

New Tenancies

Before any Tenancy or lease commences it must be ensured that the gas safety check has been carried out on each appliance and flue within the 12 month period, before the Tenancy commences or has been or will be carried out within 12 months after the appliance or flue was installed, whichever is the later.

Tenant’s Appliances

Appliances owned by the Tenant are defined as those appliances which the Tenant is entitled to takeaway upon terminating the Tenancy. It is not the Landlords duty to have the Tenants appliances tested.

Records

The regulations require the Landlord or his Agent to keep a record of safety check on each appliance and flue. The record must include the prescribed information which include the date of the check, the address of the premises checked, the name and address of the Landlord or where, appropriate the Agent, the description of the appliance/flue checked, any defect identified, any remedial works undertaken, confirmation that the check complies with the Regulations and the name and GAS SAFE registration number of the person doing the check. The GAS SAFE Gas Safety Record Form should be used for this purpose. Records must be kept for a minimum of two years.

Gas Certificate

A copy of the safety check record or certificate must be given to the new Tenant before the Tenant occupies the premises. Also a copy of the new record must be given to the existing Tenant within the 28 Days of the check. Please note that a copy must be given to all Tenants eg: 6 Tenants = 6 copies.

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Electrical Equipment

In January 1995 the Electrical Equipment regulation came into force and any landlord renting out a property must ensure all electrical equipment supplied is safe. A Landlord should also be satisfied that the property and the electrics contained within are safe for all occupants, visitors and even animals.

How Do I Ensure My Property Is Safe?

To help prevent any injury to any person utilising your property we recommend instructing a qualified Electrician (NICEIC or ELESA) to test all electrical items (annually) and have a fixed wire check every 5 years.

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The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 were approved by parliament and came into force on 1st October 2015. Private sector Landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the Landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. The requirements are enforced by local authorities who can impose fines of up to £5,000 where a Landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

 

  1. What do the regulations require?

 The regulations require private rented sector Landlords, to have:

  • At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.
  • Alarms that are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

 

  1. Who is responsible for checking the required alarms are in working order?

 The regulations require Landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1st October 2015. After that the Landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the Landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. After the Landlord’s test, on the first day of the tenancy, Tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If Tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the relevant Landlord.

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Right to Rent

What Is A Right To Rent?

Only people with permission or a right to be in the UK have a right to rent a property.

Why Carry Out A Right To Rent Check?

If you are found letting to someone who does not have the right to be in the UK, and you cannot show that you have made right to rent checks, then you could face a fine.

You Must Undertake The Following Checks:

  1. Before allowing an adult to live in your property, check that they have document(s) that show they have the right to be in the UK.
  2. Where a person’s right to be in the UK will expire during the tenancy, make follow up checks either when the right expires or after 12 months from the initial check, whichever is later.
  3. If a follow-up check shows that a person no longer has the right to be in the UK, make an official report to the Home Office. You should check all adults who will live in your property regardless of what you believe their nationality to be. This includes people over the age of 18 who will live in your property as their only or main home.

How Do I Make A Right To Rent Check?

Handles Property will carry out the necessary checks as part of our initial service to you and every time the contract is renewed by us.

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Professional Inventory and Schedule of Condition

Inventory Benefits

  • Proof of the condition of the property at the outset.
  • It provides a level of comfort to the Landlord that they are protecting their property. It reminds the Tenant of the condition they will need to return the property once they vacate
  • It helps mitigate any required deduction from the Tenants deposit

What A Formal Detailed Inventory Requires:

  • A full explanation of responsibilities and disclaimers to ensure all parties know what is expected of them with a summary of the definitions – eg:. What does good condition mean?
  • A reference to each item within the property
  • An area for the Tenant to initial and verify each page
  • A comments column to note any points
  • A detailed list of the inventory items including colour, and material type and the condition of every item, including marks, chips and damage.
  • A record of appliances including brand and model
  • A list of interior fittings to all cupboards fitted units and appliances
  • A list of appliance manuals/warranties
  • A signature and declaration page

Professional Inventory

What is a Professional Inventory and Schedule of Condition? it is a complete list of every item in a property and it states the condition, of every item in it. This is a very detailed document often supported by digital photographs. including walls, paint colours, ceilings, fixtures and fittings, floor coverings, cupboards, windows, doors, kitchen units, appliances, bathroom furniture, gardens, garages and sheds, etc and if furnished all furnishings.

What Is The Purpose Of An Inventory?

With the introduction of the deposit schemes in 2007, the requirement for inventory and schedule of condition has become critical. If the property is left with damage, isn’t cleaned or items are missing - anything that is different to when the property was inspected and (is not considered fair wear and tear), then as the Landlord you will have no right to claim any deductions from the Tenants deposit, without evidence as to the items previous condition.

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Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988

These regulations set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. Many domestic fires start with soft furnishings catching fire and many deaths are attributed to the highly poisonous fumes that are given off by the man-made foams and coverings. The regulations aim to improve the fire safety of materials used in the manufacturing of furniture by introducing two new standards of fire resistance. These standards include two tests:

  • The match test
  • The cigarette test

From 1st March 1993

  • All furniture and furnishings included in accommodation which is made available for let must meet all the fire resistance requirements.
  • Furniture, whether new or second hand and, which is in addition to, or in replacement of, existing furniture in accommodation let must comply with all the fire resistance requirements.

From 1st January 1997

All upholstered furniture and furnishings included in rented accommodation must comply with all the fire resistance requirements. Please refer to the following guide:

 

Applies To: Does Not Apply To:
Beds, headboards of beds and mattresses Furniture made before 1950
Nursery furniture Bedclothes including duvets
Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles Loose covers for mattresses and Pillowcases
Garden furniture used in the dwelling Carpets
Scatter cushions, Pillows and seat pads Curtains
Loose and stretch covers for furniture Sleeping bags

 

What To Look For

Each item of furniture or furnishings will have a label attached to it stating compliance with the regulations. All new furniture must carry a display label at the point of sale. Furniture which has no permanent label or a permanent label which is not in one of these types should be assumed not to comply.

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Legionnaires Disease

Some Consultants and Agents believe that new legislation has been imposed on Landlords of rented properties, for controlling risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria on their Tenants. This is wrong, the legislation has not changed and Landlords have for some time had to take basic steps to prevent the risk.

What Responsibilities Do I Have?

There is a legal duty for Landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria, but Health and Safety law does not require Landlords to produce or obtain, nor does HSE recognise, a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate’, which can sometimes be advised by Agents or consultants.

Legionella testing (or sampling) is generally not required in domestic hot and cold water systems and then only in exceptional circumstances.

Misinterpretation of the legal requirements by some consultants and Letting Agents about Landlords’ responsibilities to manage and control legionella in domestic premises may result in unnecessary financial burdens being placed on Landlords and Tenants.

The law is clear that 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.

How Do I Reduce The Risk?

  • Run all water supplies in the house for several minutes
  • Flush toilets
  • Drain Shower heads
  • Take temperatures of hot and cold water (the bacteria are dormant below 20°C and do not survive above 60°C)

The above points should be recorded prior to the start of a tenancy.

Handles Property accept no responsibility for the above information as it is intended as a guide only. Please refer to the HSE for further information.

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Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC is similar to the Energy Performance Certificates now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. The EPC provides a rating for the energy performance of a home from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.

All Landlords are required by law to provide an EPC on all properties, before marketing commences. Under current legislation the EPC will last for 10 years.

Minimum EPC Rating

As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. There are regulations effective from 1st April 2016 under which a Tenant can apply for consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties.

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Overseas Landlords

An overseas Landlord must complete an NRL1 form. As a non-resident Landlord you are still liable to pay UK tax on your rental income in the UK. Usually your Letting Agent or Tenant has to deduct tax before you receive your rental payments. The Non Resident Landlord Scheme means that you can receive your rental income without deductions from your Agent however you will need to consult a Financial Advisor/Accountant to fulfil your taxable liabilities.

What Makes Me A Non-Resident Landlord?

You are normally classed as a non-resident Landlord if your usual place of residence is outside the UK or you have left the UK for more than 6 months. Even if your intention is to only stay out of the UK temporarily you will still need to apply to be a Non Resident Landlord.

How Do I Apply?

Please consult a member of Handles Property who will advise you further.

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