There are various legal responsibilities that landlords must fulfil. Here is a detailed list of everything a landlord is required to do:
Meet safety standards
Landlords must ensure the safety of their tenants by doing the following:
- Installing a smoke alarm on every floor of the property.
- Placing a carbon monoxide detector in every room with a wood-burning stove or coal fire.
- Acquire a gas safety certificate for every gas appliance in the property.
- Ensure all furniture meets fire safety standards and displays the appropriate labels.
- Provide electrical devices which are safe to use – Installation Surveys and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) can help ensure everything is compliant.
- Ensure the water supply is in proper working order to protect tenants from Legionella.
A Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is carried out by local authorities to assess the property’s condition and identify potential hazards. The aim of this is to ensure a minimum standard is met in the private rented sector. Think Plutus can help you understand how your property might be affected by this legislation.
Right to rent
Landlords are responsible for restricting the access of illegal immigrants to the private rented sector. This means that every tenant should be effectively screened to ensure they have a legal right to reside in the UK. If a landlord rents a property to a tenant who does not have the right to rent, there is a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
There are some tenants who don’t have to be checked – this depends on the nature of the accommodation.
Energy Performance Certificate
A landlord is required to purchase an EPC for their property before it can be let. As of 1st April 2018, properties must have a minimum rating of E on an EPC. Any property that breaches this requirement is being let illegally and the penalty is a fine of up to £4,000.
Information for tenants
You must provide your tenants with the full name and address of their landlord or details of the letting agent. The tenants must also be provided with a copy of the government’s How to Rent guide which offers practical advice on what to do before and during a tenancy.
Protecting the tenant’s deposit
Most tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies (AST). As a landlord, you are obliged to protect the tenancy deposit using a government-approved deposit protection scheme. Any landlord of an AST who fails to protect the deposit can be fined, and it will become far more difficult to end the tenancy.
A deposit has to be returned in full when the tenancy comes to an end, unless there is a dispute about unpaid rent or damage to the property.
Accessing the property
Landlords will inevitably need to access the property from time to time to conduct inspections and repairs. This access must not cause any unnecessary interference or disruption in your tenants’ lives.
Provide reasonable notice before any visits and arrange a suitable time with your tenant. Most landlords have the notice period defined in the tenancy agreement.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to carry about most repairs to a property’s exterior or structure. This means that if a problem arises with the roof, guttering, chimneys, drains or walls, it is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve it. Things like a cracked window, a leaking window, a plumbing leak or a faulty boiler are also the landlord’s responsibility. All equipment for supplying gas, electricity and water must be kept safe and in good working order.