It’s no surprise that landlords often struggle to stay compliant when lettings regulations are constantly changing. In the past decade alone, we have had numerous, quite major pieces of legislation that have come into force, which puts more responsibility on the landlord. If you find it hard to keep on top of all the legislation changes, we have put together a list of a few of the vital things every law-abiding landlord should be doing.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords are responsible to ensure that all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are in a safe and working condition. This is done through an annual gas safety check, which need to be undertaken by a gas safe registered engineer. You will then get a Gas Safety Certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. A copy of this certificate must be given to any existing tenants within 28 days of it being issued and be given at the start of any new tenancies. Failure to supply a Gas Safety Certificate is a criminal offence.
How to Rent Guide
Tenants must be supplied with the Government’s How to Rent Guide. The guide explains to tenants their rights and responsibility and provides detailed information on each stage of the lettings process. Keep an eye on the governments website as they like to update it regularly. If tenants are not provided with the guide at the start of their tenancy any section 21 notice will be invalid.
Under the 2004 Housing Act it became compulsory for all assured shorthold tenancy deposits to be registered with a government-approved protection scheme. There are currently 3 approved schemes in England and Wales – The Deposit Protection Service, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and MyDeposits. The schemes ensure that the system of taking/repaying the deposit is more transparent and is more equitable for both landlords and tenants. Each scheme has prescribed information and it’s the responsibility of the landlord to give this prescribed information to tenants.
All tenants need to be supplied with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) at the start of their tenancy. In 2019 it became unlawful to let a property that has an EPC rating below an E. On the 1st April 2020, properties for all existing tenancies must also have an EPC rating of E or above. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £4000 – so Landlord’s check your EPC’s before then! The EPC minimum is expected to rise again in the not-so-distant future, so it may be worth future proofing your rental properties.
Right to Rent
From the 1st February 2016 it became a legal requirement for landlords to check that their tenants and any other adult permitted occupiers have the right to reside in England – otherwise known as the ‘Right to Rent’ check. Landlord’s need to verify and take copies of acceptable documents for each adult occupier, record the date of verification, and make a note of any expiry dates of a person’s right to be in the UK. The penalty for not complying is a fine of up to £3000 per adult occupant and up to 5 years in prison.
Gov.co.uk provide a great free tool that guides you through the checks - https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents
****Since this blog post new regulations about electrical safety checks for the rented sector have come into force - read all about them here