Responsibilities as a Landlord
As a landlord are you aware of your landlord responsibilities? There are many laws and regulations that you must follow and the safety of your tenants must be your top priority.
Whether you are an experienced landlord or a new landlord about to advertise your property, we have created the following guide to keep you in the know. If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team.
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies an obligation on landlords to carry out basic repairs to the property. This applies to all tenancy agreements unless the tenancy agreement began before 24 October 1960.
As a landlord you are responsible for the structure and exterior of the property. This includes baths, sinks and other sanitary items as well as the heating and hot water installations, drains, gutters and external pipes.
If you fail to meet your landlord’s obligations, your tenants may complain to the local council. The council can force you to carry our repairs under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System via an improvement notice.
At the start of the tenancy you must provide the tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). From 1st April 2018, all properties rented out in the private rented sector must have an EPC rating of at least an E. For new lets and renewals of tenancies, the regulations came into force with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
It will be unlawful to rent a property which does not have a minimum of an E rating. Don’t forget to check the date on your EPC as they are only valid for 10 years.
How to Rent:
Landlords in England should serve a copy of the How to Rent booklet at the beginning of tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015.
Failure to provide tenants with the guide before serving a Section 21 notice means that the notice is invalid and as a landlord you will be unable to rely on it.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms:
Under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015, landlords must ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. If the property has any appliances that burn solid fuel (coal or wood), then the room must have a carbon monoxide alarm.
On the first day of the tenancy, checks must be made to ensure that the alarms are all in proper working order. After this, the tenant should take responsibility.
Right to Rent:
Under the Immigration Act 2014, landlords need to ensure that the tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
To pass the check you are able to accept a passport or residence document. This must be witnessed in person. If the tenant does not have these, there are alternative documents that they can provide.
If you rent out your property on an assured shorthold tenancy after 6 April 2007, you must place your tenants deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. On receiving the payment, you must put the deposit in the scheme within 30 days of receiving it.
The available schemes are:
- Deposit Protection Service
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must have their deposit returned within 10 days of you both agreeing how much they will be getting back.
Since the Tenants Fees Act 2019, the amount of deposit you are able to request from your tenants is capped at no more than 5 weeks rent.
As a landlord, you are legally responsible for the gas safety of your properties. You must ensure that the gas equipment is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safety registered engineer. By law you must have an annual gas inspection.
A copy of the Gas Safety Record must be given to the tenants before they move in and renewals must be given to them within 28 days of certification.
It is advised that you keep records of the checks for a minimum of two years.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988:
All furniture and fittings that are provided in a rental property will need to comply with the above regulations. As a landlord you will need to ensure that the furniture you have provided is fire retardant otherwise it is a criminal offence.
Furniture that complies with the regulations will display a permanent label. If you are buying second-hand furniture, you need to ensure that the furniture carries the correct labels. If for any reason the labels become detached, it is recommended that you keep it in a safe place.
Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their property has safe electrical equipment. This must be safe before a tenancy begins and throughout the tenancy duration. Tests need to be carried out by a registered electrician at least every 5 years. You must also provide your tenants with a record of the electrical inspection.
There is a risk of a serious accident or fire if electrical equipment is unsafe.
As a landlord, it is good practice to carry out PAT tests on all electrical appliances you supply during the tenancy. PAT stands for portable appliance testing which ensures that appliances are safe to use. Currently, there is no legal requirement for this to be carried out however it does provide an extra layer or reassurance. However, if you are a landlord of a HMO, annual PAT tests are compulsory for all electrical appliances.
The Government are looking to tighten up rules on electrical safety so make sure you check frequently for any updates.
Although carrying out an inventory is not a legal requirement, it is highly recommended to avoid any disputes. It provides an accurate record of the condition and contents of the property at the beginning of a tenancy. In order to deduct money from the tenant’s deposit, you need to be able to prove that damage has been done. Inventories need to be as detailed as possible and should include videos or photos to remove all doubt.