What must a landlord provide in a property by law in the UK?

22/09/20What must a landlord provide in a property by law in the UK?

So you’ve decided to become a landlord. In these times when the demand for rental property is high, it’s a lucrative business but the role is not just about collecting rent, then sitting back and watching the money roll in. As a landlord you have a number of legal responsibilities and obligations towards your tenants covering everything from their tenancy deposit to safety.

Legal responsibilities

  1. Ensuring tenants are safe

Landlords must meet safety standards which are

Guidance for landlords to understand the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-health-and-safety-rating-system-guidance-for-landlords-and-property-related-professionals

The government’s  housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings, introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.

  1. You need an Energy Performance Certificate

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a key part of a landlord's energy efficiency obligations.

Basically it’s a certificate that shows how energy efficient a property is. The EPC ratings range from Grade A (most efficient), to Grade G (least efficient). In theory, the higher the energy efficiency, the lower the running costs and vice versa. EPCs have been required by law since 2008 in England and Wales and 2009 in Scotland. Since 1st April 2018, all new lets and renewal tenancies must have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate. These regulations came into effect for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

An EPC needs to be made available to prospective tenants as soon as you begin marketing a property for rent. EPCs cost between £60 and £120.

Landlords in England must also arrange electrical inspections every five years under new Electrical Safety Standards Regulations.

Assess the right to rent

It is your responsibility to assess whether the person you’re renting to has a right to live in the UK. If the tenant turns out to be an illegal immigrant you will face a penalty of an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison, so this is something you really do want to make sure of.

You need to...

  1. Check which adults will use your property as their main home (your ‘tenants’).

  2. Ask them for original documents that prove they can live in the UK.

  3. Check the documents to see if they have the right to rent your property.

  4. Check that each tenant’s documents are genuine and belong to them, with the tenant present.

  5. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.

During the COVID-19 pandemic there are temporary changes to the way you can check documents, including asking for documents digitally and making checks on a video call.

If the tenant does not have the right documents...

You must use the landlord’s checking service https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/lcs-application.ofml

to asses whether the tenant’s allowed to rent without the right documents if:

You need to provide information

You must disclose your full name and address to your tenant, or details of the letting agent if you’re using one. You must also give a tenant a copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide, which explains the responsibilities, legal requirements and best practice for letting a property in the private rented sector. It also includes information about how to rent during the COVID-19 crisis.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-let

Protect a tenant’s deposit

As a landlord you must put your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if the property is rented on an assured shorthold tenancy. A landlord of an AST who doesn’t protect the deposit can be fined and it can make it much more difficult to end the tenancy. Deposits must be returned in full at the end of the tenancy, unless there is a dispute about damage caused to the property or unpaid rent.

Do repairs

You’re responsible for most of the repairs in the rental property.

This includes repairs to:

You also need to redecorate if necessary once the problem is fixed and within a reasonable period but the length of time it takes will depend on how serious the problem is.

Access to your home

Your tenants must allow the landlord or letting agent access to the property at reasonable times but there should be at least 24 hours' written notice of an inspection. You can arrange this at a time convenient to all parties unless it’s an emergency and  immediate access is required. Coronavirus has not changed these rules, so tenants and landlords should work together to make sure that any visits are for an urgent reason (for example, there’s no hot water, heating or toilet facilities).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

Here at Grow Property we want to make your job as a landlord as easy as possible so don’t hesitate to get in touch

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