LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

There are many legal requirements to consider when you are letting out your property. It is not possible to cover all the matters that a Landlord may need to consider here but the following are some of the important Regulations that you will need to be aware of.

We offer help and advice on all aspects of the letting process when we manage your property so that you have peace of mind, knowing that you have everything covered.

 

Furniture and Fire Regulations - The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)(Amendment) Regulations 1993, The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988

This legislation relates to the 'supply' of furnishings in property that is available for letting. It is an offence to 'supply' furniture, which does not comply with the Regulations. Essentially any furniture provided by a landlord must carry appropriate labels and meet the fire resistance regulations.

Landlords should ascertain whether their furnishings conform to these regulations and not purchase (either new or second hand) any furnishings, which do not conform or carry the appropriate labels. Furnishings manufactured pre 1st January 1950 are exempt from this legislation.

We understand this legislation to include all domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. This includes the following which may contain upholstery - Beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows, loose and stretch covers; But not curtains, carpets, duvets and bed linen.

Our advice to all landlords is that non-compliant furniture and furnishings be replaced.

 

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) - Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (2007/991)

All prospective tenants must be provided with an EPC, a result of the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

EPCs can only be produced by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor or Home Inspector. The EPC shows two things - the Energy Efficiency Rating (relating to running costs) and the Environmental Impact Rating (relating to the carbon dioxide emission) of a dwelling.

The EPC is valid for a period of 10 years. However a residential property cannot be marketed for rental until a valid EPC has been issued.

 

Smoke Detectors - Smoke Detectors Act 1991

In older single family rental properties, there is no legal requirement for landlords to provide a smoke alarm, but when a property is an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) these are required to have mains operated interlinked smoke alarm system.

If a property has been built after June 1992 it must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms with at least one detector per floor level.

We do strongly recommend that landlords provide at least a battery operated smoke alarm on each level in their rented property. The operation of these alarms should be checked on each routine inspection

 

Gas Regulations - The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

All gas appliances, pipework, flues and installations MUST be checked annually and a report issued confirming the inspection has been carried out. This safety check can only be carried out by a suitably qualified GAS SAFE registered contractor / engineer. 

The Engineer will issue a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate. A copy of the certificate must be provided to the Tenant prior to a tenancy commencing.

 

Electrical Safety - The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

These regulations apply to the electrical supply along with new and second-hand equipment including mobile and fixed appliances e.g. kettles, irons, vacuum cleaners, cookers, etc.

All electrical appliances, plugs, sockets and wiring in a rented property must be 'safe', not cause 'danger' and must comply with statutory requirements. All new electrical appliances must carry a 'CE' mark. Instruction booklets or clear working instructions must also be provided.

We recommend that an Electrical Condition Report is carried out on the property at least every 5 years and Portable Appliances should be tested every 12 months,

 

Fire Safety – The Regulatory (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the responsible person to carry out a "suitable and sufficient" assessment of the risks on the premises.  What form the assessment takes will be dependent on the type and size of premises or undertaking concerned.

What is suitable and sufficient for one type of premises may not be sufficient for another. The nature of the assessment will vary according to the type and use of the premises, the persons who use the premises, and the risks associated with that use.

In each case the determining factor is likely to be whether fire hazards have been reasonably identified, risk reduction and mitigation carried out and residual risk appropriate protection measures (including management arrangements) implemented or proposed.

A risk assessment should be reviewed regularly by the responsible person to keep it up to date, valid and to reflect any significant changes that may have taken place.

 

Legionaires Disease - Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

There has recently been a change in the legislation regarding the control of legionnaires disease. This change has meant that the legislation applies to residential lettings, whereas before these were not covered due to their size.

The changes now mean that all residential lettings must have a legionella risk assessment carried out to assess the risk level of the property. This then allows for a suitable control scheme to be implemented.

Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced where required.