Renting your property – legal requirements

Renting your property – legal requirementsAs a landlord you have certain legal responsibilities, and where we are managing the property we are jointly responsible too.

Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, and any costs incurred must be paid by you.

Of course we are happy to advise on any aspect of the legal requirements of renting out your property.

Here’s what you need to know.

Gas

Annual safety check: 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  registered Gas Safe engineer (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998).

Maintenance: You must ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.

Records: 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 safety 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.

Electrical

There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’.

They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets.

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 that the only way to ensure safety is to arrange an inspection and certificate.

Fire

All furniture in the property must meet minimum fire resistance standards (Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993).

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, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, 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.

Smoke Alarms and CM Detectors

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

It is a legal requirement to have smoke detectors on each floor level and a carbon monoxide detector in the vicinity of gas appliance and open fires.

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 (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 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.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

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.

Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service.

Landlords and letting agents will be able to choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. Learn more here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm.

Disability Discrimination

Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises.