rental property Management

Landlord Regulations

STAYING AHEAD OF THE REGULATORY CURVE

The Landlord

Being a landlord assumes constant and increasing regulatory responsibility with stringent penalties for non-compliance and by opting for our Elite Property Management service your local expert letting agent will navigate your responsibilities to ensure your property is fully compliant and in line with current government regulation. If landlords intend to manage the tenancies themselves, we strongly recommend they take stock of their responsibilities and the subsequent fines or costs that can arise if found to be in breach of contract. If you are in any doubt whatsoever about your responsibilities and are looking to be become a landlord, or are already one and require familiarisation, we suggest you speak to your local letting expert. View our Service tiers.

This page contains information on the Landlord obligations for safety and general compliance this includes: – MEES regulations, Fire Safety, Gas certification, Portable Appliance Testing the TDP scheme and much more….

Know your obligations, responsibilities and the consequences

current landlord Regulations

This page was updated on 12/12/2021 and information correct at time of publishing.

guiding landlords through compliance

Housing Deregulation Act 2015 (avoid invalidating section 21 notice)

Section 29 Deregulation Act 2015 inserts a new section 21B into the Housing Act 1988 brings into force the requirement of a landlord or letting agent to provide certain ‘prescribed information’ prior to the start of a tenancy. These include:

a copy of the EPC

a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate

evidence of the relevant Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the necessary supporting prescribed information documentation

a copy of the most up-to-date version of the Government’s ‘How to Rent Guide’ and for any renewal of tenancy provision of the most up-to-date copy of the guide

evidence of licensing requirements where applicable for example in the case of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

Failure to comply can result in invalidating grounds for serving a Section 21 notice for possession of the rental property.

Another important aspect of the Deregulation Act 2015 is the ability to suspend the operation of Section 21 in order to protect the tenant against Retaliatory Eviction. The new process requires a landlord to respond to tenant(s) formal complaint about disrepair within 14 days, setting out a route to remedy to carry out repairs and when they will require access to the property. If the tenant is dissatisfied and the landlord has not carried out repairs, the respective local authority has the power to serve an enforcement notice on the landlord and landlords served with an Improvement Notice cannot issue a Section 21 within six months of an enforcement notice being served.

Visit this link for more information on the enforcement of notices served.

Riding the Wave

Of legislative change.

UK government landlord regulation.

avoid a fixed fine of £200
Rental Property
EPC

Properties bought or sold are required to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as introduced by the government in August 2007 as part of the now defunct Home Information Packs under Part 5 of the Housing Act 2004. From the 1st October 2008, its scope applies to all properties including rental properties.

EPCs are valid for 10 years and are transferable between a sale and a letting.

An EPC is required to be commissioned before a property is marketed, what is known as a ‘trigger point’ and to be valid while advertising. An expired EPC during a tenancy with a tenant ‘in situ’ is not required to be renewed. Only unless another such ‘trigger point’ is reached.

Landlord regulations specify that a copy of the EPC must be supplied to a new tenant(s) before occupation of the property as part of the prescribed information.

Failure to comply can result in enforcement of a fixed penalty fine of £200.

Avoid an unlimited fine and six months imprisonment

Gas safety certification was introduced by the government via Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and amended Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use) – (Amendment) 2018 (The Regulations). Its scope covers, but is not limited to, safe installation and working of gas fittings or appliances.

  • Where the CP12 report demonstrates any remedial work or where further investigative work is required, the landlord is obligated to affect this promptly and as soon as possible, so as to avoid placing a tenant in any danger. If a problem is encountered that is categorised immediately dangerous (IR), the gas safety engineer will request permission to disconnect the gas supply.
  • Landlords must present a copy of the gas safety certificate to a new tenant(s) before occupation of the property as part of the prescribed information.
  • Landlords must present a copy of the gas safety certificate to an existing tenant(s) within 28 days of renewal.
  • A gas safe (cp12) certificate must be carried out by a gas safe register engineer and renewed annually. The 2018 amendment to the regulation includes flexibility on renewals in so far as there is no shortening of the cycle and will run up to and from the expiration date of previous certificate. Landlords can now renew up to two months prior to the ‘deadline date’.

Failure to comply can result in enforcement of an unlimited fine/six month’s imprisonment by the respective local authority.

 Avoid fines of up to 3x the deposit (£) value

Effective since 6th April 2007 and applicable to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements, the landlord is obligated to register a tenant(s) deposit for protection with any of the three government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) schemes:

In the event of a dispute arising, the deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until a resolution is reached via the appointed independent adjudicator.

      • Landlords must register the tenant(s) deposit in a scheme within 30 days of receipt.
      • Landlords must return the deposit to the tenant within 10 days of both parties agreeing the (£) amount to be returned.
      • Landlords must provide a copy of the TDP scheme provider certificate, relevant TDP scheme leaflet and associated terms and conditions.
      • Landlords must provide copies of the above to any relevant persons (a third-party who pays the deposit on behalf of a tenant(s))

Failure to comply could result in court action with enforcement of a fine of up to three times the value of the tenant(s) deposit.

Additional information on deposit protection scheme.

Avoid fines of up to £5000

Effective from 01 June 2019 landlord security deposit are capped at a maximum of 5 weeks’ (rent equivalent under £50,000 per annum) for new and renewed Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements (or 6 weeks’ if the annual rent is £50,000 or more).

Additionally, a list of permitted and prohibited payments, and consequences of the breach of the Act are now in force. For example, chimney sweeping services which fall under ‘third-party services’ that cannot be levied against the tenant(s). Instead, the landlord is responsible for ensuring the property is safely maintained and should cover required chimney sweeping costs.

Access our Compliant Tenant Charges

More information on the Tenant Fee Act

Various Acts combine to ensure at a minimum the below fire safety risk precautions are taken by a landlord before renting a property. This is a minimum landlord fire safety requirement

  1. Landlords must follow all fire safety regulations
  2. Landlords must install a smoke detector/alarm on every storey of living accommodation and install a carbon monoxide detector/alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (for example a coal fire or wood burning stove). In addition, the government expects carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in close proximity of gas appliances such as central heating boilers. The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed. Failure to comply could result in enforcement of a fine of up to £5000. The regulation came into force on 01 October 2015. Click here for further information: 
  3. Landlords must provide access to safe and reliable fire escape routes at all times. They should also be accessible from every floor and every room in the property to avoid tenants becoming trapped. More stringent rules apply for HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy).
  4. Landlords must ensure all furniture and furnishings comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 in that all furniture is ‘fire resistant’ if found negligent local trading standards officers can issue fines up to £5000 and six months imprisonment. Click here for a full list of furniture and upholstery covered by the regulations.
  5. Landlords must provide fire alarms and extinguishers if the property is a large HMO. Click here for further information. 

Avoid a £30,000 fine

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) was introduced by the government via Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. This regulation came into force on 01 June 2020. A full list of standards are outlined in the 18th Edition of Wiring Regulations as published by British Standard 7671. Its scope covers, but is not limited to, safe installation and up-to-date electrical working of consumer units, sockets, lights, wiring and where applicable extractor fans.

  • Where the report demonstrates any remedial work, or where further investigative work is required, the landlord is obligated to affect this within 28 days on receipt of the report.
  • Landlords must supply a copy of the report to a tenant before occupying a property.
  • Landlords must supply a copy of the report within 28 days of a request being made by a tenant.
  • Landlords must provide a copy of the report to a local authority within 7 days of a request being made.
  • It must be renewed every five years by a qualified electrical engineer.

Failure to comply can result in enforcement of a £30,000 fine by the respective local authority.

Interestingly, the recent introduction of EICRs do not form part of the prescribed information required under the Housing Deregulation act 2015 which could point towards the anticipated abolishing of Section 21s by the government?

Electrical safety guide for landlords

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is not compulsory, however is considered best practice and a requirement by product manufacturers. After all it was a fridge that was found to be the cause of the devastating Grenfell Fire. The government currently has PAT under review. The scope of recommended testing covers, but is not limited to, such items introduced to a rental property for the enjoyment of a tenant such as a kettle, lamp or heater.

Guide to portable appliance testing. 

Other government Acts that have significant ramifications on a tenancy from failure to comply at the outset include:

  • The Human Habitation Act 2018 (avoid Tenant compensation and/or return of rent)

Tenant rights to take legal action in Court should a contract be deemed in breach for the poor condition of a property as introduced by the government via the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, an amendment to the Landlord Tenant Act 1985. The Act came into force on 20th March 2018 and since the 20th March 2020 applies to all tenancies. There are minimum standards that now require a property to be let and prevents landlords from not carrying out works when a tenant has requested such. Areas deemed unfit for human habitation and that give tenants good grounds for redress include:

  1. The building is neglected and is in a bad condition
  2. The building is unstable
  3. There is a serious problem with damp
  4. It has an unsafe layout
  5. If there is not enough natural light
  6. There is not enough ventilation
  7. Also if there is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water
  8. Any problems with the drainage or the lavatory
  9. It is difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up

There are also 29 hazards as set out in the Housing Health and Safety regulations 2005. There is a housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS).

A landlord must ensure that a hazard is corrected within a ‘reasonable’ timeframe and as decided by the judge. Once a landlord has taking appropriate actions to commence remedy of the hazard, the tenant will no longer be able to seek redress at Court. For hazards located in common areas ie Housing of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), the landlord is immediately liable. The landlord is required to serve written notice to access a property to remedy a hazard no less than 24hrs in advance. Access is required to place within a ‘reasonable’ time of the day.

Failure to comply can result in any and all of the following awards being made by a Court:

  • Compulsory improvement made to the property condition;
  • Compensation made to the tenant. NOTE: the level of compensation is awarded by discretion of the judge. Factors taken into account will be the perceived harm that has been affected on the tenants, the longevity of the issue and the severity of the unfitness and any associated legal costs;
  • award to return all rent to a tenant that a landlord has received for the property.

Guide to homes fit for human habitation.

MEES Regulations
avoid a fine per property
environment
The maximum fine is currently £5000 in total

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES regulations) came into force on 31 March 2020 and requires all rental properties to have a minimum EPC rating of E, meaning F or G rated properties cannot be let.

Commissioning takes effect before the ‘trigger point’ of marketing a property to let. Another trigger point occurs when modifications to a property have been made, for example an extension. The current ‘trigger date’ took effect from 01 April 2020 and there is speculation of a further trigger date to be introduced by the government in 2025 requiring a minimum EPC rating from an E to a D.

An exemption can be applied for where all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made or there are none to be carried out to increase the required minimum standard and such an exemption lasts for up to 5 years.

There are green deals available offering funding to the tune of £3500 to bolster a required minimum rating.

Failure to comply can result in enforcement of a maximum fine per property of up to £5000 in total by the respective local authority where a property has been found to have been rented out for more than three months.

With Whatley Lane you know you’re in the safest hands.