Our landlord compliance checklist is the basics to make sure that all of our landlords are compliant with landlord legislation, know their rights and their responsibilities to their tenants. For most of these there are serious financial penalties so please be aware. We’ll start with some of the newest and most important changes to landlord compliance and work our way through.
Get comfortable as this may take a while!
Right to Rent
Date: From February 1st 2016
Technical bit from the Government’s website:
“Under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 a landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or EEA or Swiss national, or has a ‘right to rent’ in the UK. Someone will have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK provided they are present lawfully in accordance with immigration laws. Landlords who breach section 22 may be liable for a civil penalty.”
Here’s a video from the Home Office to explain the “Right to Rent” part as the rest is pretty straightforward:
If you don’t want to watch the video we can paraphrase: check your tenant’s ID and proof of citizenship to ensure that they have the right to be renting in the UK. Then approach it on a case by case basis. Also make note of the dates of any visas to ensure they don’t run out during the tenancy as they would then no longer have a right to rent.
Here’s a handy guide from the government to help you with checking immigration documents: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-and-acceptable-documents-right-to-rent-checks
The full advice section from Gov.uk on Right to Rent immigration checks:
Some councils require landlords to have a Landlord licence but then again many councils don’t. Helpful as ever. It very much depends on where your properties are so it is always best to check with your local council. The cost will also depend on where you and even if you need a licence. Bargaining for about £500 for a five year licence won’t put you too far away from the actual fee.
The conditions for qualifying for a licence change between local councils but all will include the following conditions:
- A valid gas safety certificate, if gas is supplied to the house
- Electrical appliances and furniture (supplied under the tenancy) must be in safe condition
- Smoke alarms must be in proper working order
- The tenant must be supplied with a written statement of the terms of occupation
- References must be demanded from persons wishing to occupy the house
Please note that this is very different to an HMO licence which is a whole other bag of tricks.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
This is a fairly simple one: you must secure your tenants deposits in one of the three Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes that the government have approved.
There are two types of deposit protection schemes:
- Custodial: the tenant will pay you as landlord the deposit as usual and then you will pay it to the scheme. They will then hold it for the duration of the tenancy and return it minus deductions at the end once any disputes have been settled.
- Insurance: the tenant pays you as landlord and you pay a premium to the scheme to insure the deposit.
The three government approved tenancy deposit schemes are:
- Deposit Protection Service (This is a free scheme if you are happy to go down the custodial scheme route. Remember you won’t have access to the funds until after the tenancy is finished and disputes settled. They do charge if you want to go down the insured route though.)
- MyDeposits (free to use custodial scheme launching in April 2016)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (launching a custodial scheme launching in April 2016)
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Landlords are legally obliged to provide an Energy Performance Certificate to tenants either during the viewing or at least before the tenancy agreement is signed. Certificates are valid for ten years but if there have been any major changes since the last evaluation it is preferred to have the property assessed again.
You can order your Energy Performance Certificate here: Landlord EPC
Gas safety Certificate and gas safety appliances
This is an example of really important legislation that makes properties to safe to live in. The Gas Safety Regulations of 1998 requrie all landlords to maintain all gas appliances, pipe work and flues in safe condition. An annual gas safety inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer who will (as long as the property passes) issue a Gas Safety Certificate as proof of the inspection. A copy of this should be kept by you as landlord and also by the tenant.
Order your Gas Safety Certificate here: Book Gas Safety Certificate
There have recently been some cases of landlords being brought up on this and punished quite severely. Given it’s importance for the health and safety of your tenants the punishment is warranted:
“How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” Guide
All landlords are required to provide tenants with a copy (can be in electronic form) of the Government’s How to rent guide that can be found here: How to Rent Guide
The Government will of course update the guide whenever it feels like without notifying anybody so always make sure you download the latest or simply direct them
All you need to do is send this to your tenants in an email or download a copy and print it off. We prefer the first option as it saves time, trees and won’t end up under the sofa.
Check for legionnaires disease
The latest piece of legislation and one that is probably the most unknown and dare we say it neglected. Landlords are responsible for carrying out a risk assessment for Legionnaire’s disease. You must identify and evaluate any potential sources of the disease and then take steps to prevent or minimize any risk. This is one where if Legionnaire’s is found to originate from your property and no risk assessment had taken place then you could end up with a serious problem.
Contact us if you would like a professional Legionnaire risk assessor to visit your property 0230 44 12345.
Here’s some more helpful government advice from the Health and Safety Executive: http://www.hse.gov.uk/Legionnaires/faqs.htm#Landlord
Fire Safety, Housing Act 2004
This one is pretty simple, your property needs to be safe and should comply with building regulations. This whole area is covered by the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Since October 1st 2015 Landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their property which is being used as living accommodation. They must also have a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms that have solid fuel appliances.
The final part is relatively obvious: you must check that each prescribed alarm must be working on the day that the tenancy begins.
The Furniture and Furnishings Regulation 1993
This despite the name is much more about Fire Safety admittedly within the area of furniture and furnishings.
All of the following furniture supplied by the landlord must meet the standards of the Furniture and Furnishings Regulation:
- Beds, headboards of beds, mattresses
- Sofas, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
- Nursery furniture
- Garden furniture which is suitable for use in a dwelling
- Scatter cushions, bean bags, window seats and seat pads; pillows
- Padded stools and padded chests
- Put up beds and garden loungers/seats
- Loose and stretch covers for furniture
All furniture manufactured since 1989 will (should) comply with the regulations and nearly all will be marked with a label that clearly displays it does comply with regulations.
Repairs & Maintenance- Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
This legislation requires landlords to:
- Keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair, including drains, gutters and external pipes
- Keep installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation in good repair and proper working order
- Keep installations for space heating and water heating in good repair and proper working order
The landlord is not responsible for damages caused by tenants during the tenancy and it is their responsibility to ensure that the landlord is made aware of any changes to the above.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
Electrical safety regulations are different to gas safety in that there are no certificates required but all electrical installations and appliances must be safe to use. A quick check for the following potential problems etc will ensure that you aren’t letting your tenants down in terms of the electrics:
- Live parts should not be accessible
- Leads should not be worn or frayed and be complete with no joins
- Trailing leads and the use of multiple plug adaptors should be avoided
- Correct plugs (marked ‘B SECTION 136’) should be fitted and correctly fused
- Plug sockets should be firmly fastened to the wall or skirting
- Any moving parts should be guarded
- Electric blankets should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Microwave doors should be clean, free from corrosion and effective
- washing machines, cookers, etc, should be serviced and in good working order
- electrical heaters and central heating appliances should be serviced annually
- fireguards should meet BS3248
- any fire extinguishers should be marked ‘BS6575 1985’.
Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994
All plugs, sockets and adapters must comply with its appropriate current standard and in the official words:
- The live and neutral pins on plugs are part insulated so as to prevent shocks when removing plugs from sockets and all plugs are pre-wired.
Obtaining consent to let a property
In order to rent out a property there could be people or organisations you may need to inform or gain permission from due to contracts or terms you may have signed previously:
- Mortgage lender
- The head landlord if you own a leasehold property
- Any adult who may have occupancy rights (someone who has been living with the landlord as husband, wife or partner)
- Your insurance company