Health Safety and Legals
As the owner (Landlord) below is a guide to what you are legally required to provide your tenants with, in regard to gas safety, electrical safety and energy performance of the property.
Gas - Annual Safety Check
Landlords must arrange maintenance by a Gas Safe Registered engineer for all pipework, appliances and flues, which they own and have provided for their tenants use. Landlords must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. Landlords must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.
Electrical Safety Certificate
Technically, there is no such thing as an electrical safety certificate. The certificate being referred to is most likely a Periodic Inspection Report. It is not a legal requirement to hold an electrical certificate for any property you are letting. So, you can take a calculated risk by not getting one. However, it will probably help your case if the tenant tries to hold you liable for an electrical accident in the property. Some estate agents may require you to provide a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR). In which case the guidelines are that this document should be renewed every 5 years.
A PAT test or Portable Appliance Test. Again, not a legal requirement. However, if your tenant gets electrocuted by a kettle with a frayed cord that you have provided, you are likely to be held liable. Our advice is to make sure you provide as few electrical appliances in the property as possible. So, while you may have to provide a fridge, do you really need to provide a microwave, vacuum cleaner and kettle? Probably not. So remove them, put them on ebay and get a PAT test for anything with a plug that remains in the house.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
You'll only need one of these if you are looking for a new tenant. It's now a legal requirement to market the property with an energy rating. So you'll probably need to supply the lettings agent with one. But it will cover you for 10 years. If you keep the same tenant, you don't have to provide an EPC.
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. 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.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
HMO Licence (House of Multiple Occupants)
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. Ask your Letting Agent or local authority for details.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System
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 Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Since 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. 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 is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.
Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people's rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and common hold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, 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 under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises.