Landlords Safety Compliance
There are many safety regulations that govern the letting of residential property to which all landlords must comply. The penalties for failing to do so are severe and could result in fines and/or imprisonment. It is our duty, as your letting agent, to advise you of these obligations, the implications of the regulations and to assist you in ensuring you are fully compliant.
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1993)– It is an offence to let out a property with furniture and furnishings that do not comply with these regulations. If a property is found to be non-compliant, the landlord can face up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture manufactured after 1 March 1989 including all soft furnishings, foam filled items and loose and stretch covers.
- The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 The regulations state that all gas appliances, pipework and flues must be checked annually by a registered engineer to ensure they are safe. At the commencement of any tenancy, a copy of a current Gas Safety Record must be provided to the tenant. Annual checks are required thereafter and a new Gas Safety Record must be provided to the tenants within 28 days of the expiry of the previous one. Records must be retained for two years from the date of the check and made available for inspection upon request. Failure to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations can result in imprisonment, a fine of up to £20,000 or possibly both. The gas engineer needs to be able to inspect the length of the flue. If you have a flue that is hidden or partly hidden, then you will be required to fit inspection hatches as so inspections can be made. All engineers will class the boiler as ‘At Risk’ and recommend it is not used until the flue can be fully inspected.
- The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 These regulations apply to all electrical equipment with between 50 and 1,000 volts of alternating current or 75 and 1,500 volts of direct current. The regulations state that ‘persons who, in the course of business, let accommodation which contains electrical equipment’ must comply, therefore you as a landlord must comply. The regulations make it clear that equipment must be ‘safe’ and not cause ‘danger’. In order to meet these requirements the electrical supply and all electrical appliances must be tested by a ‘competent person’ that is NICEIC qualified. A check annually, or when a new tenant takes possession of the property, is recommended and considered best practice. Instruction booklets or manuals for all electrical equipment should be left in the property. A note of the manuals together with the date of the safety check should be recorded in the inventory. If the electrical equipment does not comply with the regulations and an accident occurs, it could result in up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine.
- Part P Building Regulations It is a legal requirement that any electrical installation work carried out in dwellings (whether professional or DIY and regardless of whether the works are minor or major) is in accordance with BS 7671, which is the British Standard for electrical installations. Any works carried out will need to be certificated to show that they comply fully with BS 7671. This can either be done through the local authority or by a qualified contractor, who can be an individual or firm. Any certification does not cover the inspection and testing of existing electrical installations, however it will cover remedial work required to correct deficiencies found on an electrical inspection. Any Inspection Report should be carried out by a qualified contractor.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 From 1 October 2015, all landlords must provide the following for all properties with tenancies in place: – A smoke alarm for each storey where there is at least one room used wholly or partially as accommodation (including bathrooms and lavatories); – A carbon monoxide alarm in every room used wholly or partially as accommodation (including bathrooms and lavatories) that contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance The landlord (or landlords agent) must ensure that the alarms are in proper working order for before new tenancies begin. Landlords must be able to prove they took all reasonable steps to comply and the local authority can issue a remedial action notice. There is a penalty for non-compliance.
- Energy Performance Certificate –From 6 April 2012, The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 state that you are required to order and make all reasonable efforts to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within seven days of instructing an estate agent to let your property.
- The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 Property rented by three or more unrelated persons is deemed to be a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). It is a requirement under the above Regulations that all HMOs have every fixed electrical installation inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years and an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) prepared by a qualified electrical contractor. Some Houses in multiple occupation require licensing.
- Legionnaires Disease in rented property. Landlords must carry out a risk assessment at their Premises prior to letting especially if there are open water tanks, cooling systems, a swimming pool, or where there are redundant pipes, etc. If there is any potential risk then the landlord must instruct a legionella test.
- Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new system for local authorities to assess housing conditions in England and Wales (HHSRS). The assessment process considers the severity of any hazard by reference to those people who, based on age, would be most vulnerable to that hazard – even though they may not actually be living in the property at that time. This includes visitors to the property. In additional to the tenant’s living accommodation, the assessment of the property must include common areas which the tenant has the right to use or access, such as stairwells, halls, sheds, bin stores, gardens, leisure areas, access roads, parking areas, etc.
- Tenancy deposit regulations Landlords must put a deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if the property is rented on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:
- Deposit protection services
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme