With over 170 pieces of legislation governing the rental sector, and this growing year on year, it is impossible to cover all of the legislative requirements in one post (or even several). There is a reason why lettings is a full time job for us after all! So, in this article we are going to cover the very basic legal requirements when you initially let a property.
At the time of writing this blog post the Renters Reform Bill is due to second reading in parliament that may potentially have an impact on some of the information below.
Under the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012 landlords are required to provide an EPC Rating within 7 days of marketing a property or, where they can evidence why this was not possible, within 21 days thereafter. These regulations also require that the rating features on the advertising of the property.
The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations introduced in 2018 require landlords to have an Energy Performance Rating of E or above. The landlord is required to provide a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate, free of charge, to any prospective and final tenant as part of the 2012 Regulations.
Please note: Buildings protected due to their designated environment or because of their architectural or historical merit are exempt from the regulations, but do require registering on the National Private Rented Sector Exemptions Register. Government are currently debating the merits of increasing the minimum requirements to C in a phased approach and how may be best to structure this, however, there are no fixed dates for this and it has recently been decided this is not a priority for implementation by the present government.
EPC’s last for a period of 10 years.
Back in June 2020 the legislation in relation to electrical safety testing changed with the introduction of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations requiring landlords to arrange an Electrical Installation and Condition Report via a suitably qualified electrician to ensure that the electrical installation was safe for use. It also strengthened the prior legislation under the Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for landlords to ensure that the electrical safety standards were met throughout the tenancy. The 2020 regulations require that the landlord supply the EICR to any new tenant prior to them moving in or any existing tenant with a copy within 28 days from the date of the safety check.
Electrical Installation and Condition Reports should be free of C1 and C2 hazards or an amendment certificate should be issued against the EICR to show remedy of these faults where they were recorded.
EICR’s are valid for a period of 5 years.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require landlords to have gas appliances and the flues servicing them checked every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer and remedial works undertaken as necessary. The legislation also requires that all work undertaken to gas appliances and their flues is completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The regulations require that the landlord supply the EICR to any new tenant prior to them moving in or any existing tenant with a copy within 28 days from the date of the safety check.
Gas Safety Certificates are valid for a period of 12 months.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 which were, in part, amended by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations 2022 require landlords to install a smoke alarm on each storey of a property which contains a room being used, wholly or partly, as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room being used as ‘living accommodation’ where there is a solid fuel burning appliance or fixed combustion appliance, therefore also applying to oil boiler systems. Lnadlors must check and document that alarms are present and working at the onset of any new tenancy (not including any renewal or extension of tenure). The tenant then becomes responsible for testing and replacing batteries in any alarm during the course of the tenancy and reporting any fault.
The Housing Act 2004 requires a landlord to protect a deposit in a government regulated insured or custodial scheme within 30 days of it’s receipt and served the prescribed information on the tenant accordingly under the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007. The Deregulation Act 2015 clarified that so long as the protection of the deposit remains the same this information does not have to be re-served each time the tenancy renews. There two types of protection, custodial and insured, and three approved companies in this sphere, Tenancy Deposit Scheme, Deposit Protection Service and myDeposits.
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 require landlords to issue the current version of the How to Rent Guide to the tenants at the onset of the tenancy.
The above are the basic obligations you should be aware of at the outset of each tenancy and the basic requirements to be mindful of throughout, however, there are many many more legislative requirements surrounding the property standards and repairs/maintenance.
The above, if ignored or overlooked can invalidate a Section 21 Notice, meaning obtaining possession of your property via this route becomes extremely difficult, carry fines of between 5,000 up to 30,000 and potential criminal prosecution or the potential of a banning order prohibiting you from letting property.