As an experienced lettings agent, Day & Co can help to ensure you meet all the necessary legal requirements for letting out your property. Feel free to come to us with questions and queries you may have.
Landlord legislation includes requirements for:
- Central heating, boilers & gas appliances
- Checkout inspection
- Deposits and Tenancy Deposit Protection
- Electrical Equipment and PAT Testing
- Electrical Installations
- Electrical Safety in the PRS
- EPC’s and MEES
- Furniture and Furnishing (Fire Safety)
- Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act
- Prescribed Hazards
- Right to Rent
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Tenant Fees Act (2019)
- The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020
- The Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Act 2019
New European regulations now apply to the installations for raising and lowering blinds and the movement of curtains across windows. This means that new blinds and curtains being installed by a contractor will have fixed cords or ball bearing pulls to prevent any danger of asphyxiation to a young child and a warning notice with the purchasing material. Existing blinds and windows may need to be fitted with safety features to ensure compliance and to ensure safety. Throughout the agent’s period of management, it will check all blinds and curtains on a management visit and if necessary, arrange for the relevant safety feature to be fitted at the landlord’s expense. If we are not managing the premises at any time, it will be your responsibility to make such checks and arrange the fitting of any necessary safety feature.
Central heating, boilers and all gas appliances.
The Gas Safety Regulations require all gas appliances to be inspected and a certificate (GSC) to be provided on an annual basis. We will normally arrange for these to be carried out. If you make your own arrangements, we will require a valid copy of the GSC before a tenancy can commence and then on an annual basis thereafter. If we are not provided with certificates and they expire, we will not be able to start a tenancy without a valid certificate if required.
At the end of each tenancy, we strongly recommend the property is checked thoroughly and a checkout report is carried out before the deposit is repaid to the tenant. If the checkout report is not included in the service you choose from Day & Co, we can of course arrange this for you, at a small cost. We/ you are required to agree deductions between landlord and tenant and we will do everything we can to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached the matter will be referred to the relevant body for arbitration. Both the landlord and tenant must accept the decision of the Independent Case Examiner.
Deposits & tenancy deposit protection.
The deposit will equal 5 weeks rent per the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The purpose of the deposit is to cover damage to the property over and above normal wear and tear and/or any rent arrears or costs incurred as a result of breach of contract.
The 2004 Housing Act prevents landlords from holding unregistered/unprotected deposits. Day & Co are members of the Tenancy Deposit Service. All deposits relating to Assured Shorthold Tenancies will be dealt with under the rules of the Tenancy Deposit Regulations. Deposits relating to tenancies which are not Assured Shorthold Tenancies are not part of the scheme, although will be dealt with along the principles of the scheme.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (the Electrical Safety Regulations) came into force on 1st June 2020.
All properties which are rented must have a satisfactory Electrical Safety Certificate (EICR) or an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC). We are unable to move a tenant in without a satisfactory certificate.
This means that landlords must ensure that electrical installations are inspected, and that BS7671:2018 standards are met, at the outset of a tenancy and at least every five years, as we need to issue a copy of the inspection report to the tenants within 28 days of the inspection. When a tenant is living in the property, any remedial works required, must be carried out within 28 days of the inspection (or sooner if the report requires). You can read the Electrical Safety Roundtable & NAPIT Q&A using the following link https://www.napit.org.uk/why-napit/landlord.aspx
Our recommendation is to commission your safety check sooner rather than later due to demand.
Whilst Pat Testing is not a legal requirement yet, it is recommended that all portable electrical items are tested before each tenancy. We can arrange for this to be done with a suitably qualified external contractor. The cost will be the landlord’s responsibility.
EPCs & Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented and are valid for 10 years. EPCs present the efficiency of dwellings on a scale of A to G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A. The certificate uses the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment.
From the April 2020 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E or higher on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations are in force for all tenancies with effect from 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty will be imposed for breaches.
Furniture & Furnishings (Fire & Safety) Regulations 1988
Any soft furnishings in a let property must comply with the above regulations. Generally, soft furnishings manufactured after March 1990 will comply although must have the relevant labels. Any unlabelled furniture is deemed non-compliant (unless it is antique horsehair filled and has not been reupholstered). Letting a property with non-compliant furniture is a serious offence which could lead to prosecution of the landlord and agents.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, known as the Homes Act, replaces Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985) in England, with the purpose of improving living standards in the private and social rented sectors.
A property unfit for human habitation is ‘so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition.’ Such as; any prescribed hazard(s), Repair; Stability; Freedom from damp; Internal arrangement; Natural lighting; Facilities for preparation and cooking of food; Water supply; Drainage and sanitary conveniences; Ventilation and facilities for the disposal of waste water.
Under the Homes Act 2018, landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf must ensure properties, including common parts where they have an estate or interest, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy. Tenants will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply with the Act. NB: Agents should be aware that property checks will no longer be needed by local authority enforcement office. This law applies to ALL domestic tenancies (England Only).
NB: Section 8 of the LTA 1985 now only applies to tenancies in Wales. The new section 9C applies to Agricultural Tenancies, substituting ‘house’ with ‘dwelling’. The Act does not cover those with ‘Licences to Occupy’. This includes, but is not limited to lodgers, those living in temporary accommodation and some Property Guardians.
All Landlords should ensure their property/dwelling is fit for human habitation and we can help with this.
All hot and cold water systems in residential properties are a potential source for Legionella bacteria growth. All landlords and agents in control of private rented properties are now required to protect their tenants against the risk of contracting Legionnaire's Disease. Day & Co can arrange the necessary assessments.
The Housing Act 2004 defines a ‘hazard’ as ‘any risk of harm to the health or safety of an actual occupier of a dwelling or HMO which arises from a deficiency in the dwelling or HMO’. The hazards used in the Homes Act, are the 29 as listed in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
The 29 HHSRS hazards are: Damp and mould growth; Excess cold; Excess heat; Asbestos and Manufactured Mineral Fibres; Biocides; Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products; Lead; Radiation; Un-combusted fuel gas; Volatile organic compounds; Crowding and space; Entry by intruders; Lighting; Noise; Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse; Food safety; Sanitation and drainage problems; Water supply; Falls associated with baths; Falls on level surfaces; Falls associated with stairs and ramps; Falls between levels; Electrical hazards; Fire; Flames, hot surfaces and materials; Collision and entrapment; Explosions; Ergonomics; and Structural collapse and falling elements.
Right to rent
From 1 February 2016, all private landlords (and their agents) in England must check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (Immigration Act 2014). If the Right to Rent check is acceptable, we can proceed with the normal full referencing procedure, but should a Right to Rent check fail, by law we will be unable to allow a tenancy to commence. We cannot agree a let until the applicant(s) have provided the agent with the correct documents. If a tenant has a time-limited right to remain, landlords and letting agents will need to conduct follow up checks; normally 12 months from the initial check or at the expiry of the individual’s right to be in the UK (whichever is the later).
Right to rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the government’s reforms to build a fairer and more effective immigration system.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
From the 1 October 2015 landlords must ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. They will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for periodically testing the alarms are working. Landlords or agents will then have to ensure that the alarms work at the start of each new tenancy. For example, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.
Tenant Fees Act (2019)
The Tenant Fees Act bans most letting fees and caps tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England. The ban on tenant fees applies to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019.
The government guidance on the Act for tenants, landlords and letting agents helps explain how this legislation affects them. You might also find the ‘How to Rent’ and ‘How to Let’ guides useful.
The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset and throughout, a tenancy. Tenants will be able to see at a glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs.
From 1 June 2019, the only payments that landlords or letting agents can charge to tenants in relation to new contracts are:
- A refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 week's rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000 or 6 week's rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above.
- A refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week's rent.
- Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant.
- Payments capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) for the variation of a tenancy agreement.
- Payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax.
- A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/ security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement.
- The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.
- As of 4th May 2021 the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) allows people in England and Wales with unsustainable debts to arrange to enter a ‘breathing space’. Once someone enters a breathing space their creditors (for our Industry this means Landlords and their Lettings Agents) are not allowed to contact them directly to request payment of the debt, charge interest, fees or penalty charges for that debt or take enforcement action to recover the debt (including by taking possession of a property) while the breathing space is ongoing. This is designed to provide people in debt with enough time to find a solution for their financial problems. Formal government guidance can be read here direct from the gov.uk website