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See below, brief details of some recent legislation changes imposed on all private landlords:

 

EPC’s

Since 2008 all landlords must have a valid EPC for their property available for any applicant or tenant viewing a property.

The certificate is valid for 10 years. It scores a property on energy efficiency from ‘A’ (most efficient) to ‘G’ (least efficient). It outlines ideas to improve performance. An EPC can only be carried out by a certified Domestic Energy Assessor. It will also show a building’s environmental impact by indicating its carbon dioxide emissions.

EPC’s provide recommendations for reducing the amount of energy your tenants will use and lists:

  • Suggested improved improvements, like fitting loft insulation
  • Possible cost savings per year, if the improvements are made
  • How the recommendations would change the energy efficiency rating of the property

You don’t have to act on the recommendations in the report, however if you decide to do so, it could make your property more attractive to tenants by being more energy efficient.

The Energy Act 2011 includes provisions to ensure that from April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a residential property that does not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard. Currently this is an ‘E’ rating so ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated properties will be illegal by 2018.

 

Gas safety

As a landlord you have a statutory responsibility for the following items in connection to the gas supply/ installations at the property:

  • Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue.  A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
  • Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.

 

All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If a tenant has their own gas appliance that you have not provided, then you are responsible for the maintenance of the gas pipe work but not for the actual appliance.

 

Flues

From January 2013 Gas Safety inspections must include visual inspections of gas flues every 1.5 metres or at bends in the flue. To comply, hatches will have to be fitted to enable the engineer to inspect.

A gas flue is the flue/pipe which takes the waste from a gas boiler to the outside. If the flue has a break in it or your boiler is not operating correctly, carbon monoxide could enter the property.

If the engineer cannot access the flue it will fail the gas safety inspection.

You do not have a flue if the boiler is fitted to an external wall and directly vented out to the outside. You would be able to see a vent on the outside of the building.

We recommend fitting a carbon monoxide detector.

 

Electrics

There is a statutory requirement for Landlords to ensure all electrical appliances and fittings within a property are safe and in good working order for the Tenants. The law is less explicit than the gas regulations,  however there are a number of regulations, as well as Landlord’s common law duty of care, that require the electrical equipment to be safe and in good working order, both at the start of a tenancy and for the entire duration of the tenancy.

It is strongly recommended that you carry out regular visual inspections and have a periodic inspection carried out by a qualified electrician every 5 years. A periodic inspection would  identify deficiencies against the National Standard and check the following:

  • Reveal if any of the circuits are overloaded
  • Find any potential electrical shock risks or fire hazards
  • Identify defective electrical work
  • Identify any lack of earthing/bonding
  • Identify standards that do not meet national standards

 

Soft furnishings

Furniture supplied in rental accommodation must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended).  All furniture you supply must carry an appropriate permanent label to confirm it complies.  If an item of furniture does not meet this criteria it must be removed from the property prior to the tenancy starting as it may pose a fire risk.

 

The regulations apply to:

  • Arm chairs, three piece suites, sofas, sofa beds, futons and other convertible furniture.
  • Beds, Bed bases and headboards, mattresses, divans and pillows.
  • Garden furniture which could be used indoors
  • Loose, stretch and fitted covers for furniture, scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows.

 

Prescribed information

Prescribed information is a statutory document issued to the tenant covering the deposit protection scheme, instructions on raising disputes at the end of the tenancy and key contact information.

Prescribed Information will be served on the tenant and on any relevant person within the period of 30 days from and including the date we receive a deposit in relation to the assured Shorthold tenancy.

A “relevant person” is a person, company or organisation who, in accordance with arrangements made with the tenant, paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant eg. Local authority, employer, parent or guarantor.

Prescribed Information will be served each time there is a new AST – even if the deposit is simply held at the renewal stage and no money changes hands at that point.

The Prescribed Information will be re-served within 30 days of any renewed tenancy or statutory periodic tenancy arising.

Failure to serve the Prescribed Information within the correct timescale would be a breach of the Housing Act 2004.

The Prescribed Information will be served as a stand-alone document.

The Prescribed Information includes the scheme leaflet 'What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?'

 

If you would like further information on legislation surrounding the lettings industry please contact us to arrange an appointment.

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