What laws and regulations do I need to be aware of as a landlord?

There are many responsibilities of private landlords, from ensuring your property is a safe and habitable place to live, to keeping fire exits clear and easy to see in the dark. But what are the specific, legal requirements of a landlord? If you’re a landlord wondering what your legal obligations are, we’re here to break down exactly what you need to be aware of as a private landlord, to ensure you’re not breaking laws or regulations.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Landlords of single-let properties, and unlicensed HMOs are now legally required to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. The law changed in 2015 and is now the responsibility of the landlords to not only supply and install these alarms, but to also make sure they are properly maintained and working correctly. 

Gas Safety Check

Gas safety checks are required once a year and must be performed by a Gas Safe Engineer. The inspection needs to cover all gas appliances, pipes and flues that come with the property, and must be in a safe, working condition. Once the inspection has been done, you’ll be provided with a certificate, which you need to provide a copy of to your tenants within 28 days of the inspection.

You don’t need to do a gas safety check for each new tenant, just every 12 months, however you do need to provide a copy of the most recent certificate at the start of each new tenancy.

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

Laws for landlords state that you must provide an EPC to each potential tenant during the property viewing, or before tenancy agreements are signed. These certificates are valid for 10 years, but we’d recommend having your energy performance tested more regularly than this; for example, if you’ve taken measures to improve the performance of your property, you can request a new EPC to achieve a better grade.

EICR (Electrical Safety Standards Inspection/Report)

Due to the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 landlords with properties in England must now ensure their property meets electrical safety regulations. Part of this includes making sure that all ‘fixed’ electrical installations including wiring, sockets, outlets and light fittings, etc, are inspected and tested by a qualified electrical technician every 5 years.

Landlords legal obligations now include obtaining an EICR (Electrical Safety Standards Inspection/Report) which will verify that the above tests have all been done and everything is operating as it should. A copy of this report must be given to each new tenant before they begin living in the property.

Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations

Laws for landlords state that you have to ensure that any plug, socket or adapter supplied for intended domestic use complies with the appropriate current standard. It is also a landlord’s legal obligation to make sure that the live and neutral pins on plugs are part insulated inorder to prevent shocks when removing lugs from sockets. All plugs must be pre-wired. 

As with checking the electrical integrity of your property, it is recommended to get an assessment from a qualified electrician to make sure that your plugs and sockets are all in safe working order.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

When receiving a deposit from a tenant, it must be secured and protected in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. There are three Government-approved tenancy deposit schemes to choose from:

  1. The DPS
  2. The Dispute Service
  3. MyDeposits

Tenancy Deposit ‘Prescribed Information’

Once you have secured the deposit from your tenants, you will be required to provide certain information to your tenants, about where it has been secured and protected as per the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This can be provided on the Tenancy Agreement or on a separate form. 

Furniture and Furnishings Regulations

If the property you’re renting will be furnished, you must ensure it is fire resistant and meets the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 requirements.

Landlord Legionella Legislation

HSE legislation requires all landlords to perform a risk assessment test for the Legionella bacteria, which is the cause of Legionnaires’ disease. These assessments must test and identify any potential sources of the bacteria, and if found, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent and control any identified risk.

‘Right to Rent’ Immigration Checks

Landlords may not authorise a main-home residential tenancy agreement without first verifying the new tenant is either a British citizen, an EEA/Swiss national, or has obtained a ‘right-to-rent’ within the UK. To check a potential tenants right to rent, you can either check their original documents, or view your tenants right to rent online if they have a ‘share code”.

“How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” Guide

This guide is for people who are renting a home privately under an assured shorthold tenancy, either direct from a landlord or through a letting agency. 

This document must be provided to any and all new tenants at the beginning of their tenancy agreement, providing this started on or after October 2015 in England. This can either be emailed to tenants, or a hard copy can be printed and provided to them.

Financial responsibilities

It is your legal responsibility as a landlord to pay income tax on your rental income, minus your day-to-day running expenses. If renting out property counts as running a business, you also have to pay Class 2 National Insurance.

If you have a mortgage on the property you want to rent out, you must receive permission from your mortgage lender.

How Dependable can help

There are so many legal requirements of a landlord. Dependable can provide property maintenance services to help you ensure that your rental property is safe for your tenants, and meets all current laws and requirements. Our property maintenance services include gas and electrical safety checks, plumbing and heating servicing, fire safety inspections and alarm servicing.

If you want to learn more about how Dependable can help you with the maintenance of your rental properties, please get in touch today and we will be happy to help.