There are many legal requirements for landlords to consider when letting a property. As a client, we will guide you through the process and ensure you are aware of your legal obligations. Below is a summary of the most important regulations.
The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998
Where there is a gas fire or appliance in a rented property it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure the fire or appliance is safe to use. It is a legal requirement to have the fire and appliances checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe Registered engineer and for a Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate to be issued. A copy of the certificate must be issued to the tenant prior to the start of the tenancy.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
Landlords are obliged to ensure that the electrical installations and electrical appliances in the property are safe to use when the tenancy begins, and that they are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
The Health & Safety Executive's Approved Code of Practice & Guidance (ACOP) L8 - "Legionnaires' disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems", and HSG274 Parts 1, 2 and 3.
This ACOP, often simply referred to as "L8" forms the basis around which the control of legionella related risks are managed. It is enforceable under the following legislation:-
• Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
• Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999
• Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
It is therefore mandatory that all rental properties must have had a Legionella Risk Assessment.
The Energy Peformance of Buildings Regulations 2007
Since the 1st October 2008 an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been required for all properties being let or sold. EPCs rate a property both on its energy performance and its environmental impact. The EPC must be available to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity and certainly when written details are provided or a viewing of the property takes place. It is a landlord's responsibility to ensure an EPC is available but of course we will be happy to assist with commissioning one.
The Building Regulations 1991
All properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains-operated smoke detectors on each floor.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
As of 1st October 2015 Landlords must ensure a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. In addition to this they will also have to ensure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt. Please note the regulations do not require a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed if only gas, oil or LPG are used. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the alarms are working at the start of a new tenancy, however, during the tenancy it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the alarms work and change the batteries where necessary.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993.
Landlords must ensure that any furniture supplied as part of a new tenancy complies with these regulations. The regulations cover, in general, all upholstery and upholstered furniture, loose fittings and permanent or loose covers. The cover fabric and filling material of the upholstered furniture should be made of fire resistant material and be able to pass the "smouldering cigarette" and "match flame" resistance test and carry a label confirming this. Generally, items manufactured in the UK after 1990 are likely to meet the required standards and display the appropriate permanent label confirming its compliance.
Taxation for overseas landlords - The Finance Act 1995
Under the Finance Act 1995 letting agents are obliged to deduct basic rate tax from rental income where landords are resident overseas. This tax must then be paid to the Inland Revenue. However, an overseas landlord may apply to the Inland Revenue for an Exemption Certificate which would then allow us to pay the rents over gross. More information on the Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) scheme and the forms needed to apply for an Exemption Certificate is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk
The Housing Act 2004 – Houses in Multiple Occupation
All property owners must comply with the latest regulations relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). In summary, a property that is let to at least three tenants, (three sharers), who share a kitchen or bathroom is an HMO. If there are less than five sharers the property is not subject to mandatory licensing but each local authority has its own criteria. Landlords should therefore, contact the relevant local authority to check if the property requires a licence. Failure to obtain a licence where required can carry a fine of up to £20,000 so it is important for landlords to ensure compliance with the rules.
Right to Rent - The Immigration Act 2014
Landlords and agents are required to carry out initial Right to Rent checks on tenants and occupiers of rented properties as well as to do follow up checks for any Tenancy commencing 1st February 2016 or later. As part of our Letting and Rent Collection / Letting, Rent Collection and Management services we will complete these follow up checks for Landlords. In the case of our Letting Only service follow up checks will not be completed by Thames Lettings and will be the responsibility of the Landlord. If the follow up check shows the person no longer has the right to be in the UK, Landlords must make a report to The Home Office using www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime. If you wish us to carry out these checks, (and we are instructed on a Letting Only basis), we can do so if requested.
For ease, details of these regulations are also included in our printable brochure or please contact us.