Landlords: Regulations and requirements for rental properties
Making the property safe
As a landlord, you are placed under a number of legal obligations. Where we are managing the property for you, compliance also becomes our responsibility. Therefore we will ensure that current legislation is adhered to on your behalf when you appoint us as your agent.
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 Gas Safe registered engineer.
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
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 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.
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety. These affect landlords in that they are 'supplying in the course of business'. They include:
• Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
• Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994
• 2005 Building Regulation - Part P
• British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets.
Periodic Inspection Report
Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the best way to ensure safety and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care', or even of manslaughter, is to arrange such an inspection and certificate. We have negotiated a special price for our Landlords to have the Periodic Inspection Report carried out, and will arrange this on your behalf.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
We recommend that as few portable electrical appliances as possible are left at the property. However, it is necessary for free-standing white goods to remain, and we will arrange to have these tested on an annual basis on your behalf, along with any other electrical items that are not hard wired in.
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.
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.
Items not included under the regulations: antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, bed linen, 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. We will check compliance on your behalf prior to agreeing a tenancy.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains operated smoke detectors on each floor of the building. Whilst there are currently no specific statutory regulations relating to the provision of smoke detectors in older buildings, ARLA support the recommendations of the Fire & Safety Officers Association for current BS standard battery operated devices to be fitted to stairways and hallways on each floor. We will arrange to have detectors fitted for you prior to the commencement of any tenancy.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fatal carbon monoxide fumes can be produced by the combustion of any fossil fuel. Alongside regular servicing and maintenance of gas, oil or solid fuel fired systems, it is widely recognised as best practice to fit a carbon monoxide detector at the property. We will arrange this for you prior to the commencement of any tenancy.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
From 1st October 2008 Landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent have been required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate, which is valid for 10 years. We cannot market the property if there is no EPC, and will arrange for one to be compiled as soon as you instruct us. We can arrange an EPC inspection for our landlords upon request. Where you are already in possession of such a certificate, you will need to provide us with the 20 digit reference number before we can start advertising the property.
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more Tenants comprising 2 or more households (ie: 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 apply. We will advise you on the current legislation, but if you would like to investigate further, please take a look at the following link:
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
From 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. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme is be supported by an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR).
Cambridge Property Lettings is a member of The Dispute Service. More information can be obtained atwww.thedisputeservice.co.uk or from us directly. You can also learn more on the government website, which includes an overview of the requirements, and also links to the sites of the companies running the various schemes: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm.