As a landlord you are governed by many different acts, rules and regulations to ensure that you provide accommodation that is fit for purpose and to maintain you are acting responsibly as a landlord.
Redwell Estates will help and guide you with any questions you may have about housing and Health & Safety. There are a multitude of areas that cover properties and the types of topics we regularly discuss with our current landlords are be about the new regulations concerning carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, legionella and the fitness of human habitation rules. It may also include gas safety and electrical regulations, fire safety regulations, risk assessments and landlord’s responsibilities for the areas outside their actual property which are known as the common parts and include communal hallways and gardens. These are all important topics that landlords need to be aware of and to be proactive with.
Recently regulations have changed regarding Section 21 and Section 8 Notices and the landlords/ agents responsibilities when tenants report maintenance issues. The following is a list of some of the relevant Acts that play a part of in your role of being a Residential Landlord.
This is effectively the rule book that governs the Private Rented Sector (PRS). For valuable information about the rules and regulation of renting property in the Private Rental Sector which include the changes to Section 21 and Section 8 notices, go online to http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/section/21
More important information can be found online at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/52/contents
The housing, health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect potential risks and hazards to health and safety from deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales. Please go to https://www.gov.uk/government/hhsrs-operating for guidance notes.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) were introduced in England and Wales on 1st August 2007 as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms. Over time this requirement was extended to smaller properties. When the HIP’s requirement was removed in May 2010, the need for an EPC continued. Rental properties have an EPC which lasts for 10 years and one is required on every new tenancy created after 1st October 2008. Legislation states that a property requires an EPC and it is against the law to sell or rent a property without one, in fact you have to have one within 7 days from the start of marketing. A copy will need to be given to the tenant at the beginning of a new tenancy. Redwell Estates can organise an EPC for you by contacting one of our associated Domestic Energy Assessors. Please ask for details.
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the most common form of tenancy available in England and Wales. A tenancy can be an AST if you are a private landlord or housing association, the tenancy started on or after 15th January 1989, the property is the tenants main residence and you do not reside at the property. If you want your tenants to vacate the property then you must give them notice in a particular way including certain information and warnings. The notice you would have to give your tenant would be two months from the rent due date, which means that you would have to provide notice before the rent due date arrived. Please go to https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords for more information.
A new Act for 2015, the government has been trialling the Immigration Act in the UK which will have an affect on all landlords/ letting agents in the UK. For more information please go online to https://www.gov.uk/ The pages we refer to are called right to rent and immigration checks and Landlords Code of Practice. The information contained will explain how to avoid unlawful discrimination when conducting right to rent checks in the Private Rental Sector. The Immigration Act 2014 introduced prohibition on renting premises to adults who do not have a right to stay in the UK for use as their only or main home. This is to deter illegal immigrants from accessing housing stocks and displacing lawful residents. Landlords can avoid liability by making document checks or arranging for their agent to make documentary checks to establish a person’s right to rent.
Money laundering means exchanging money or assets that were obtained criminally for money or other assets that are clean. The clean money or assets will not necessarily have an obvious link with any criminal activity. Money laundering also includes money that is used to fund terrorism, however it is obtained. Please go to https://www.gov.uk/ for further information and to see how this affects you. Redwell Estates Limited is registered and supervised by HMRC under The Money Laundering Regulations(2007).
Landlords residing overseas may apply to the HMRC for an approval number which authorises us to pay rent without the deduction of tax. However, where no approval number is available we are legally bound to deduct tax at the basic rate. If a tenant pays directly to a landlord who is resident overseas, the tenant becomes responsible and can withhold tax. We recommend that Landlords residing in the UK, consult an accountant about their rental properties for any assistance and advice regarding Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax and financial aspects relevant to them. HMRC can make requests to obtain data from Letting Agents and data holders for tax information. They then can cross check this information against any tax returns made.
New Consumer Protection Regulations (amended) 2014 came into force on October 1st 2014. They apply to private rental agreements between landlords, letting agents and tenants. Assured Shorthold tenancies (AST) including most Private Rented Sector (PRS) agreements. The Competition and Markets Authority have produced a guide: Guidance for Lettings Professionals on Consumer Law. For further information please go to https://www.gov.uk/ or the National Landlords Association website.
The Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998 apply to all domestic properties and compel landlords to have all gas equipment safety checked annually by qualified persons, to keep records of work carried out on the appliances and to obtain a Gas Safety Report (GSR). The GSR must be available for a tenant at commencement of a tenancy. We reserve the right to obtain a GSR for any property prior to commencement of a tenancy, or on renewal, at the landlords expense, where a GSR is not supplied by the landlord in time. This is to ensure that Redwell Estates acts in both parties best interest during the tenancy and ensuring that your property and contents comply fully with these regulations.
Landlords need to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1993 which sets levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. Any furniture within any part of the property must comply. It is a criminal offence to breach these regulations and we suggest you obtain a comprehensive guide including details of labels indicating compliance from your local Trading Standards Office. A landlord with non – compliant furniture would not be allowed to sell or give the furniture to tenants each time a property is let. This is classed as supplying in the course of business and is against regulations. Redwell Estates will thoroughly check any furniture that is planned to be left in a property prior to the tenancy commencing to ensure all items comply with this regulation. Please go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/ for more detailed information.
For electrical safety, Redwell Estates recommends that you have an electrical installation test on your rental properties. The landlord must make sure that the electrical system is safe e.g. sockets, light fittings and that all appliances they supply are safe e.g. cookers, kettles, washing machines, fridges, freezers and dishwashers. A part of the Building Regulations, Part P Electrical Safety came into force on 1st January 2005, which requires electrical works to be carried out by a qualified / competent electrician. Implementation of the Housing Act 2004 has taken Part P Electrical Safety of the Building Regulations a stage further and Counsel’s Opinion confirms that to avoid prosecution should a tenant sustain injury. All properties let require a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) for each appliance left and a Fixed Wiring Test (FWT). On appliances supplied, failure to make sure that electrical equipment and appliances are safe is a criminal offence. The 1994 regulations require that the electrical equipment itself, the packaging, the printed instructions or the guarantee must be marked with the letters CE to show they comply with requirements. Where three or more sharers occupy a property, the Housing Act 2006 classifies it as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) which makes it mandatory for an electrical safety test to be carried out and a certificate obtained. Redwell Estates reserves the right to obtain both PAT and FWT for any property prior to the commencement of a tenancy, or on renewal, at the landlord’s expense, where these are not supplied by the landlord in time.
The Smoke Detectors Act 1991 requires the mandatory fittings of mains powered alarms to all new buildings. However, the absence of any form of smoke alarm in a tenanted property could be constructed as a breach of a landlord’s duty of care. Redwell Estates strongly recommend that all rented properties are fitted with a minimum of at least one battery operated smoke alarm to comply with BS 5446 Part 1 and a carbon monoxide detector as a minimum. Battery operated smoke alarms should not be used as a permanent solution.
The Water Act 2014 allows tenants renting a property for longer than six months to apply for a water meter without permission from a landlord. For more information, please go to http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/21/contents/enacted