You have a range of legal responsibilities as a residential landlord. Keeping rental properties safe and free of hazards is one of your responsibilities, as is ensuring that all supplied gas and electrical equipment is properly installed and maintained, adhering to fire safety regulations, providing an Energy Performance Certificate, and safeguarding tenants’ deposits.
Landlords in Scotland must also register with the local council before renting out property, or they risk being prosecuted. This can be done by going to this link.
Most landlords in the UK are expected to keep the property safe and free of risks, depending on the conditions of the lease or tenancy agreement. This includes keeping the structure and outside, including drains, gutters, and external pipes, safe and in good functioning order. Water, gas, electricity, heating, and sanitation systems should all be kept in good repair and operating order. It is also a good idea to provide operating instructions and user warnings for any appliances or equipment that is provided.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 2018 require landlords to ensure that all supplied gas appliances, fittings, and flues are kept in safe working order according to manufacturer’s instructions. A Gas Safe Registered Engineer must undertake a gas safety check on any gas appliance, fitting, or flue every 12 months to verify they are safe to use. Records of safety checks must be preserved for at least two years, and a copy must be supplied to current renters within 28 days following the inspection. Before moving in, new renters are entitled to a copy of the check.
In June 2020, the government implemented new regulations for landlords as it pertains to the safety of electrical systems and equipment. The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 mandate that all landlords have their electrical installations inspected and tested at least once every five years by a certified and competent party.
Landlords are obligated to provide tenants with a copy of the electrical safety report following inspections. Existing renters should get a copy of the report within 28 days following the inspection and test, and prospective tenants should have a copy before moving in. If local authorities request to see the report, it must also be provided to them within seven days. Landlords should also keep documents so that prior inspection reports can be shared with future inspectors.
If an inspection reveals the need for additional maintenance or investigation, the work must be completed within 28 days, unless the report indicates otherwise. Landlords have 28 days after the essential work is completed to provide written certification to renters and local authorities.
All fire safety legislation, including the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in Scotland, and the Fire Safety (NI) Regulations 2010 in Northern Ireland, must be followed by landlords. Fire risk assessments should be carried out and assessed on a regular basis. Access to escape routes should be arranged and controlled properly. Throughout the house, smoke alarms should be installed. The leasing agreement should specify whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for smoke alarm maintenance and testing, including battery replacement. Fire alarms, signage, fire escape ladders, and extinguishers may be required depending on the size of the property.
If you furnish furniture to your renters, you must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010). (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010). The Act establishes rules for fire resistance in furniture, furnishings, and upholstered products. Most types of furniture must have a permanent and non-detachable manufacturer’s label, as well as fire resistant stuffing, and must pass fire resistance tests such as match and cigarette resistance. This is a problem with older furniture, as new furniture should be compliant.
For more information on fire safety requirements, please click here.
When a property is built, sold, or rented, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required. The certificate assigns the property an energy efficiency rating from A (best) to G (worst) and is valid for 10 years. In Scotland, landlords are required to display the EPC on the house. An EPC contains the following information:
- Information about the property’s energy use and typical energy costs
- Recommendations for reducing energy use and costs
In order to get an EPC certificate, you must hire an accredited assessor to evaluate your property. To find an assessor:
Residential landlords are obligated to preserve their renters’ deposits through an independent third-party programme backed by the government. Landlords with assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales, as well as all private landlords in Scotland, have 30 days to place a deposit in an authorised scheme and give tenants with important tenancy and deposit information. In Northern Ireland, there are currently no official rules for securing tenant deposits. The following are the websites for approved tenancy deposit schemes in England, Wales, and Scotland.
England and Wales…
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