If you are a landlord then it is crucial that you keep up to date with the new landlord rules and regulations. Here you will find a comprehensive, printable, checklist detailing the legal requirements from landlords. If we have not answered all of your questions then be sure to contact us for more information.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

For the purpose of letting a residential property, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required and a cannot be marketed without one. These assessments can only be produced by qualified and licensed Domestic Energy Assessor’s (DEA) and must be available for any prospective tenant to see prior to viewing a property. An EPC for lettings purposes lasts for 10 years and we can arrange EPC’s on behalf of our clients should there not be a current EPC for the property. From April 2018, any residential property being relet or let for the first time will have to meet an EPC rating of ‘E’ or higher.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993

The Furniture regulations set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furnishings. The regulations apply to sofas, beds, mattresses, bed-heads, scatter cushions, pillows, children’s upholstered furniture or other similar items. The regulations do not apply to curtains, carpets and bedclothes (including duvets and mattress covers). It is an offence to 'supply' in the course of business any furniture that does not comply with the regulations, which includes supplying furniture as part of a residential property to be let.

The Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998

These regulations are to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that ALL gas appliances and pipe work in a property are checked for safety before a tenancy commences and annually thereafter by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered gas engineer.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Introduced in October 2015, this legislation requires landlords to install smoke alarms (battery powered or mains wired) on every floor of their properties and to also install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms, such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. All alarms must also be tested at the start of each tenancy. (NB under The Building Regulations 1991, all properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains wired interlinked smoke alarm on each floor anyway)

Further information, please see here: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1693/regulation/4/made

Electrical Installation Testing

Whilst it isn’t mandatory for fixed electrical wiring to be tested like gas appliances are (except for some licensed rented properties), a landlord still has a responsibility to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe and therefore we would recommend that the electrics are tested periodically to check the installation is satisfactory. 

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The above regulations impose an obligation on a landlord to ensure that all electrical appliances left as part of a let property are safe. Cabling, fuses and plugs should also be inspected and replaced where necessary. We recommend that all appliances are regularly checked and serviced.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Section 11

A Landlord must maintain and keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property including drains gutters and external pipes and to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation including sinks, basins, baths and sanitary conveniences.

Tenancy Deposit Regulation

Since April 2007, when a tenant pays a tenancy deposit for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) to a landlord or letting agent, the deposit must be protected by a tenancy deposit scheme. We are part of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) run by The Dispute Service and hold all deposits as stakeholder, ensuring the registration, certification and guidelines are fully adhered to. Landlords who let properties where there is a tenancy deposit and they do not properly protect it with a deposit scheme would be unable to regain possession of the property should they need to.

Immigration Act 2014 and Right To Rent Checks

From February 2016, all private landlords in England now have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out the property. This can be done within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy by checking and making copies of accepted ID documents and the checks should be undertaken on people aged 18 and over living in the property, whether they’re named on the tenancy agreement or not. For ‘time-limited’ granted residents, follow up checks should be carried out too.

We will ensure any new tenants comply with this legislation on behalf of our clients (providing we are not instructed on a property Marketing Only basis. For Full Management properties, we will also check up on any time limited permission granted tenants however this will be the Landlords responsibility for Introduction Only properties).

See here for further information: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/492734/6_1193_HO_NH_Right- to-Rent-Guidance_v8.pdf

Legionnaires / Legionella Risk Assessments

Landlords who provide residential accommodation have a legal duty to ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is properly assessed and controlled under ACOP L8 (as revised 2014). Risk assessments to monitor legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems should be undertaken and then renewed periodically. This risk is typically more common in properties which have old heating systems or properties with upgraded or changed heating or shower systems / pipework where standing or stagnant water may be present. However, the risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. We advise that a ‘competent person’ (which could be you or a third party specialist) undertakes a risk assessment and we can arrange legionella risk assessments for our clients where required.

For further information regarding this please see here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

Consent To Let

If you have a mortgage you must obtain consent from your mortgage lender before letting. Additionally, if the property is jointly owned it is essential that all parties agree and sign relevant documentation prior to letting out the property. It is also essential that you notify your insurance company too so they may advise you of any additional cover that may be necessary. If your interest in the property is leasehold (ie flat/apartment), your lease may require you to obtain consent from your superior landlord prior to sub- letting.

Most mortgage lenders stipulate in their conditions of letting (if not a buy-to-let mortgage) that the letting agent must be regulated with a governing body such as ARLA Propertymark, which we are.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Certain property types or tenant occupancy types may cause a property to become a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This is most common in shared or student housing however a converted house into self contained separate flats can also be licensable. In these circumstances, it is law for the landlord or person in control of the property to obtain a HMO Licence from the Local Authority. This can be complex and must be considered before purchasing or letting a property to these types of tenants, however we understand what it and isn’t licensable, and would be delighted to offer further advice regarding HMO’s.

Tax On Rents and the Non-Residency Landlords Scheme

Income tax is payable on rental income irrespective of where you live. Landlords must declare this income on a Self-Assessment Tax Return each year. As the Inland Revenue assesses your income individually, properties that are jointly owned require returns to be completed by each legal owner. There is a requirement under Self-Assessment to keep adequate records to ensure that the calculations included in the return are accurate. Deductible expenses such as letting agents fees, insurance premiums, maintenance expenditure and some mortgage interest (subject to legislation change) can be off-set against the gross rental income. We can recommend knowledgeable Accountants to offer further advice regarding tax if required.

The Non Resident Landlords Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords. The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct Basic Rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If Non resident landlords don't have UK letting agents acting for them, and the rent is more than £100 a week, their tenants must deduct the tax. When working out the amount to tax the letting agent/tenant can take off deductible expenses. Letting agents and/or tenants don't have to deduct tax if HMRC tells them not to. HMRC will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if the non-resident landlord has successfully applied for approval to receive rents with no tax deducted. However even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it still remains liable to UK tax so non resident landlords must include it in any tax return HMRC sends them.

For more information regarding this please see here:
www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/intmanual/intm370010.htm

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