Did you know there are over 170 pieces of legislation associated with lettings? Our property specialists strictly adhere to all current legislation and can help you protect your investment.
Here is a summary of the legislation that landlords should initially be aware of, but does not include all 170 pieces of legislation.
We cannot market a property unless an EPC has been commissioned – Living Spaces can instruct this for you at a cost of £108 Inclusive of VAT. If you instruct your own EPC it does need to be issued to us within seven days of first marketing (there is an additional 21 days which can be requested, only if reasonable efforts have been made and it has not been produced). Agents and property owners will be liable if this is not adhered to and can be fined for non-compliance.
We provide a copy of the EPC to tenants, free of charge. Please note EPC’s are valid for ten years so must be checked to ensure they are in date. Minimum standards regulations came into effect in 2018 and were brought in to tackle the least energy efficient properties.
Properties rated below an E grade cannot be granted a new tenancy, improvements must be made or an exemption in place, registered on the national private rented sector exemption register.
All deposits must be held in an approved scheme. Deposits must be lodged within 30 days of being received by the agent, you must then provide your tenant with prescribed information and terms and conditions from whichever deposit scheme you use. Living Spaces will send you a deposit information form within 7-10 days of the check in which will provide information regarding the tenant’s deposit.
NOT FOLLOWING THE ABOVE COULD RESULT IN A PENALTY OF UP TO THREE TIMES THE DEPOSIT SUM
A Section 21 notice cannot be issued until a tenant has occupied a property for at least four months. The tenant must have been served a copy of the EPC, gas safety certificate and a copy of the latest DCLG how to rent guide at the commencement of the tenancy. Living Spaces serve the documents to the tenant upon check in for all properties. Repairs should be requested in writing, failure to be able to provide evidence of the above could affect the validity of a S21 notice to require possession.
It is a legal requirement for landlords to have at least one smoke alarm on each storey of a property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire or wood burning stove). Landlords must ensure alarms are in full working order at the commencement of tenancy.
Landlords must not authorise an adult to occupy a property unless it can be established that a person has the right to reside in the UK, if this is not done civil penalties can be enforced of up to £3000 per tenant. Landlords and agents can also be prosecuted in either magistrates or crown court which can result in an unlimited fine or imprisonment.
The legislation applies to all residential tenancies, with some limited exceptions for social housing, halls of residence etc, started from and after 1st February 2016. The intention of the scheme is to ensure that illegal immigrants are unable to establish a settled life in the UK, which includes restricting access to the private sector rented accommodation. The legislation advises you must check identification for anyone living at the property, aged over 18, whether listed on the tenancy agreement or not. Where a person’s right to be in the UK will expire during the tenancy, follow up checks must be made annually or before the expiry date if after 12 months.
We would advise you check recent guidelines at www.gov.uk or call the telephone advice line on 0300 069 9799.
Living Spaces carry out identification verification on all tenants at the start of each tenancy and records are kept on file, Living Spaces accept responsibility for any follow up checks required for managed properties. If instructed on a tenant find basis it is the landlord’s responsibility to adhere to the current legislation and carry out any further necessary checks.
Electrical Safety checks are legally required in all private rented properties for new tenancies and tenancy renewals from 1st July 2020 and required for existing tenancies from April 2021. These are required at five yearly intervals. Copies of the report must be provided to all new tenants upon check in and within 28 days of a request being made by a current or prospective tenant. Local councils can request sight of reports which need to be made available within 7 days. Any remedial works must be carried out within 28 days or sooner if specified.
A copy of the report must be retained by the landlord or agent on the landlord’s behalf. Failure to adhere to this could result in a civil penalty of up to £30,000.
It is a legal requirement that any property with gas has a valid gas safety certificate (CP12) in place which is renewed every 12 months. Any minor issues will be noted as defects with recommendations to have them remedied as soon as possible. If the appliances are found to be unsafe the check would fail and appliances disconnected immediately.
It is the legal responsibility of the landlord/landlord’s agent. A valid CP12 must be in place at the commencement of tenancy and a copy provided to the tenant(s).
New requirements for HMO’s were introduced from 1st October 2018.
Any property of any height that is shared by five or more people in two or more households, where facilities such as kitchen or bathroom are shared, must have a mandatory HMO License. Whilst a property is unlicensed a S21 cannot be served. Purpose built flats within a block containing three or more self contained flats are exempt.
Agents and landlords of unlicensed HMO’s are at risk of criminal prosecution, criminal record, unlimited fines and an order to pay court costs and victim surcharge. Alternatively, local councils can issue a civil penalty of up to £30,000 and a rent repayment order of up to 12 months rental income.
Selective and Additional Licensing was introduced in April 2020.
- Additional covers the entirety of Newcastle Upon Tyne (3/4 people forming two or more households). Purpose built of 3 of more apartments are exempt.
- Selective covers select parts of Newcastle, e.g. Byker, Heaton. This also covers any Private Rented Sector (PRS) property.
Requirements depend on the property itself and could effect; fire doors, smoke and heat alarms, fire escapes etc.
From 2014 stringent new standards governing the manufacture, selling and installation of new blinds came into effect with the aim of reducing child accidents.
The standards do not apply to blinds already installed in people’s homes. However, landlords have a duty of care towards tenants. It’s straightforward to make blinds safe, with the use of cleats, chain break connectors and cord/chain tensioners.
Any blinds which are installed with cords and chains must be installed with breakaway connectors, cord and chain safety retainers or cleats and the cords and chains have to be maintained at a minimum 1.5 metres from the floor level AND secured with a compliant safety device. Without this device the blind is not compliant, even if the chain is 150 cm or more off the floor.
Quite simply, all hazardous cords, chains and loops must be removed or made safe.
Chains attached to blinds above kitchen work tops/sinks will never be 150cm off the top of the kitchen unit, no allowance is made in the regulations exempting such blinds if they have breakaway devices fitted.
Low level blinds – if the installation height of the blind is less than or around 150cm off the floor, then an operating chain with a maximum loop of 20 cm can be used as this is deemed not to be a choking hazard.
As with much of the legislation it is your responsibility as a Landlord to ensure the health and safety of your tenants by keeping your property safe and free from health hazards.
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing legionella. As a landlord you are legally required to have a risk assessment undertaken and reviewed, we recommend every two years. It does not require an in-depth detailed assessment – the risk from hot and cold water systems in the majority of residential properties is generally considered to be low owing to regular water useage.
We can recommend an assessor to complete a Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessment at your property and provide you with a full report. You are free to source your own provider, the assessment is a legal requirement and you have full responsibility for this. Should you not wish to instruct us to provide an assessment we do not accept any liability for any non compliance.
Upon check in we do provide tenants with information about Legionnaires and how to prevent this.