Private Rental Sector Legislation
Up to £30,000
Fine for Breaching
Electrical Safety Regulations
Letting a residential property is a highly regulated process as is appropriate where the health and wellbeing of Tenants are at risk. There are over 170 pieces of legislation that Landlords should be aware of and comply with before a property can be legally used for this purpose. This article will give you an overview of the most important regulations and lettings laws that apply to most rental properties.
Consent for letting or checks required prior to letting:
- Mortgage company approval
- Superior landlord consent
- Buildings insurance that adequately covers your rental property
- Contents insurance including public liability insurance
- Energy performance certification
Safety Certification for:
- Gas appliances
- Electrics checked – fixed wiring (EICR)
- Electrics checked – portable appliances if applicable (PAT)
- Working smoke detectors on every floor
- Legionnaires risk assessment
- Furniture and furnishings safety compliance check
- CO (carbon monoxide) detectors
Please note that, in the event that a Landlord fails to comply with any statutory obligations, hefty fines or criminal convictions may be sought.
Maintenance Of The Rental Property
In accordance with Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Landlords are required to keep in good repair:- The Property structure and exterior; installations for the supply of gas, electricity and water; appliances for the supply of space heating and water heating; sanitary appliances. The Act states that all repairs should be carried out within a reasonable time of the Landlord being given notice of the need for repair. In the event of emergency maintenance being required at the Property, the Tenant is permitted to organise emergency works in order to isolate the issue and not to complete any additional works without the consent of the Landlord. Emergency maintenance will be defined in the Tenancy Agreement.Find out more
Quiet Enjoyment For Your Tenants
In every Tenancy agreement, there is an implied right if not an express covenant, promising the Tenant is able to possess the premises, not just without noise, “quiet enjoyment”, but in peace and without “without disturbance by hostile claimants”, including from the Landlord. A Landlord cannot enter their rental property without the Tenant’s permission but they do have "The Right of Reasonable Access", which means that, in an emergency, they can enter the property to carry out any emergency work. This will be very rare and must represent a threat to safety, such as a fire in the property or the smell of gas.
Tenancy Deposit Protection - Housing Act 2004
It is a legal requirement to ensure that all security deposits, paid under an AST since April 6, 2007, have to be registered with a government-approved scheme within 30 calendar days of receipt. The necessary prescribed information will be provided to the Tenant with the Tenancy Agreement at the time the Agreement is signed. Failure to serve prescribed information to the Tenant may result in the withdrawal of the ability to serve a section 21 notice and the Landlord could be liable for a fine of up to three times the value of the deposit.Our Scheme Information
Non-Resident Landlord Scheme (NRL)
HMRC has rules regarding the collection of tax on rental income if the Landlord is resident overseas for a period of more than 6 months in any tax year. If the Landlord falls into this category, it is the responsibility of the Landlord to obtain a tax approval number and provide it to the Agent. Where the property is jointly owned, each owner of the property must provide their own unique approval number. The Agent is legally obliged to deduct tax from the Landlord rental income at the prevailing rate in the absence of a tax approval number. For more information, please contact www.hmrc.gov.uk
Protection From Eviction Act 1977
This piece of legislation defines any acts by the Landlord or Letting Agent, which are likely to interfere with the peace and comfort of those living in the property or persistent withdrawal of services that are reasonably required for the occupation of the premises.
Flood And Water Management Act 2010
This Act places the liability of the final payment of the water account onto the Landlord. This piece of legislation requires that the Landlord should endeavour to obtain a forwarding address from the Tenant to give to the water company at the end of the Tenancy or they will be liable to settle any outstanding demands.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Landlords are required to arrange an inspection, carried out by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered gas engineer, to check all gas installations such as pipework and boilers. A Gas Safety Certificate must be held by the Agent and given to each Tenant at the commencement of the Tenancy and during each Gas Safety Certificate renewal. This Certificate must be renewed annually.Check Gas Safe Register
Electrical Safety Standards In The Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
In order to comply with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, an electrical inspection and test must be carried out by a qualified and competent person every 5 years. A visual inspection must also be carried out by a qualified and competent person prior to the commencement of a Tenancy.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations) 1994
The electrical installation at the Property and any electrical appliance, plugs and sockets, must be safe, regularly checked and work must only be carried out by a qualified electrical engineer. In order to effectively check an electrical appliance is safe, it is recommended that a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) is carried out prior to the commencement of a Tenancy. details of fees.
Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations) 1994 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence.
Furniture And Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010)
All furniture and furnishings included in the Tenancy must comply with this legislation. Compliant furniture will always carry the correct label indicating that it is legal. Any non-compliant furniture/furnishings should be removed from the property prior to the commencement of a Tenancy. Landlords cannot ‘gift’ or sell any furniture or furnishings to the Tenant that do not comply with the above regulations, as this will be considered as a supply of goods and deemed a criminal offence to do so. Landlords must not store furniture or furnishings that do not comply with the above legislation in any but not limited to; outbuildings, lofts or garages attached to the property.
The Housing Health And Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005
A Landlord should be aware of the Health and Safety implications when letting their property. In general, the Landlord is responsible for, but not limited to; the exterior and fabric of the building, installation of services, including gas/water/electricity, personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage, supplying the use of water, gas, electricity, food safety, ventilation, space heating and hot water. For further information on your obligations and responsibilities.The Landlord should enquire with their Local Authority in order to obtain full details of the HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) operated by the Council.Find out more here
Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Private sector Landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every story of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (eg a coal fire, wood-burning stove). After that, the Landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new Tenancy.
The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a Landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) Housing Act 2004
A house in multiple occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (eg a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. A fire risk assessment will be required to identify an appropriate mains powered, interconnected smoke alarm system, reference to Regulatory Reform (fire safety) order 2005. Bedrooms meet or exceed the minimum size for an adult to sleep in (6.51m2 for an adult), subject to The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulation 2018 and The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Wales) Regulations 2006. Mandatory licensing applies if you’re renting out a large HMO, defined as follows: it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household; it’s at least 3 storeys high; Tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Even if your property is smaller and rented to fewer people, your Local Housing Authority may have selective licensing in place, and you may be required to apply for a license. An HMO License is valid for a maximum of 5 years and must be renewed before expiry.
Planning Permission For HMO
C3 & C4 Planning Permission: You always need planning permission to move in and out of the Sui Generis use class, so any HMO of 7 or more people needs planning permission regardless of location. It is a Permitted Development Right to move between C3 and C4 classes and back again, so in most cases, a small HMO does not need planning permission. Planning permission may also be required if an HMO is in the C4 class and the local authority has an Article 4 Direction. LHA have the ability to remove permitted development rights and can use this to require planning permission for small HMOs. You may also need planning permission regardless of the size of the HMO if there is a planning condition on your property restricting the use.
Penalties under the Housing Act 2004 and associated legislation can be extreme including unlimited fines, banning orders, rent repayment orders, confiscation of goods/property under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and even imprisonment.
Legionella and Landlords Responsibilities
Whilst there are no strict legal requirements regarding the management of legionella in domestic rental properties, there are very clear best practice guidelines outlined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Landlord has a duty to assess risk from exposure to the Tenants and where a risk is identified, take appropriate steps to remove or minimize the risks. This assessment can be carried out by a third party however is ultimately the Landlord’s responsibility. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can impose fines/imprisonment on Landlords that do not comply with these requirements.Find out more here
Right To Rent - The immigration Act 2014
This law imposes an obligation on the Landlord to check the passport or other identity documents with the applicant present and to check that any person who requires a visa or work permit holds valid authorization and is complying with its terms. It is also the legal responsibility of the Landlord to check any new person on the Tenancy or any additional occupier over the age of eighteen years. Home Office fines will apply if you: rent your property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK or can’t prove you did a check on their documents. First-time penalty £1,000 and additional penalties £3,000 each.
European Regulations 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 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. It is the Landlord's responsibility to check all blinds and curtains and if necessary arrange for the relevant safety feature to be fitted.
The Landlord will be responsible for maintaining/replacing domestic appliances during the course of a Tenancy should they be included within the Tenancy Agreement. Any appliance that the Landlord does not wish to be responsible for, should be removed from the property prior to the commencement of a Tenancy. The Landlord is also responsible for providing any instruction or operating manuals for all appliances and equipment at the start of each new Tenancy and where new appliances or equipment is installed throughout the Tenancy including extension tenancies.
Sections 47 & 48 Of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Landlords must tell the Tenant when and how the rent should be paid. If the Tenant pays the rent weekly, the Landlord must provide a rent book. Where any written demand is given to a Tenant (ie a Tenancy agreement), the demand must contain the following information, namely, the name and address of the Landlord, and if that address is not in England and Wales, an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on the Landlord by the Tenant.
Section 1 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
If a Tenant requests the Landlord’s name and address in writing from the Landlord’s agent or whoever collects the rent, then the person must provide that information in writing within 21 days. If the information is not provided “without a reasonable excuse” then this amounts to a criminal offence that is punishable by a fine.