In the past few years, the Government has introduced a whole raft of legislation which affects the sale and letting of property in the UK. Some of it is good, though the majority of it is pretty stupid, but you as a landlord letting property you need to know about it.
How do Government Regulations affect me as a landlord?
There are now numerous pieces of legislation that as a landlord you need to be aware of when letting property.
They are as follows:
1) Annual CORGI Registered gas inspections
2) Annual Electrical safety inspections
3) Houses of Multiple Occupation Regulations
4) Home Information Packs (HIPs)
5) Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
6) Furniture Fire Safety Regulations
7) Tenancy Deposit Rules
Annual CORGI (now Gas Safe Register) Gas Inspections and Certification all rental properties connected to the gas with any gas appliance must by law be annually checked by a CORGI registered gas engineer. The landlord must retain a certificate and a copy supplied to the tenant. Since April 1st 2009 Gas Safe Register took over the administration of registered installers throughout the UK, although CORGI continues to administer the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland.
Annual Electrical Inspections
It is important to ensure that all electrical installations and items you supply such as kettles, irons etc are in good working order. However, unlike with gas there is no current legal requirement to have an electrical safety certificate.
Houses of Multiple Occupants (HMOs)
• A property is classed as 'A House of Multiple Occupation' if it falls into one or more of the following categories
• An entire house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
• A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities
• A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self contained (ie the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households
• A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies
• In order to be an HMO the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties, which are used as domestic refuges.
If a property you own satisfies any or all of the above criteria, then as a landlord you will need a license, granted by the local authority. In order to be granted a license you will have to satisfy a number of requirements, fire door provision, cooking facilities etc etc.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Any property offered for rent after 1st October 2008 will require an EPC, they are basically a certificate, again supplied by a registered inspector, detailing the energy efficiency of your property. They should cost between about £80.00 and £150.00 depending on supplier and number of bedrooms, and last for 10 years.
Furniture Safety Regulations
All upholstered furniture that is included in rented accommodation has to comply with the ignitability tests contained in the Furniture (Fire)
(Safety) Regulations 1988. Furniture first supplied before March 1993 can be included in property rented to tenants who were in residence on 1st January 1997, but must be replaced when the property is let to new tenants. Furniture manufactured in compliance with these regulations will be marked with a permanent label stating that it has been tested.
Tenancy Deposit Rules designed to minimize landlord / tenant disputes over the refund of the security deposit. Until this legislation became law, landlords or their agents were able to simply retain the tenants' deposit and If you let a property now, you must do one of two things. Either you must place the tenants’ deposit into one of the government's approved schemes, OR insure the deposit. In either case the people actually holding the deposit will act as arbitrators between landlord and tenant in the event of any dispute over the return of the deposit.
All the above are described in more details in our landlord advice section