LANDLORD COMPLIANCE GUIDE


Landlord Compliance Guide


Legislative Regulations

1 - The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

State that all portable electrical appliances supplied in rented accommodation must be safe. Cabling, fuses and plugs must also be inspected and replaced where necessary to the correct rating for the particular appliance. This applies to both new and second hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the Tenant. All new appliances must be CE marked and instruction booklets for all appliances must be given to the Tenant at the commencement of the Tenancy. Any appliance without written instructions must be removed from the Property as unsafe. The only safe method of ensuring that these appliances comply with the regulations is to have them tested by a qualified electrical engineer. The regulations do cover fixed appliances such as cookers, showers and immersion heaters. However the Consumer Protection Act 1987 specifies that all items supplied in a rental Property need to be safe. If the Tenant suffered personal injury due to an unsafe appliance the Landlord could have to pay substantial compensation.

A new part of the Building Regulations, Part ‘P’ Electrical Safety came into force from 1st January 2005 which requires certain electrical works to be carried out by an electrician who is part of an approved scheme. Townends only use electricians who have provided Us with proof of a scheme membership. We will ensure that all electricians comply with Part ‘P’ regulations when carrying out certain works that fall within the regulation. We will only use the Landlord’s contractor as long as that person complies with the regulations. If the Property is deemed to be a House of Multiple Occupation as defined in the Housing Act 2004, then Townends reserve the right to conduct an Electrical Installation Condition Report to ensure that You comply with Your statutory requirement. Please note that electrical testing of portable appliances is mandatory if We are providing our Fully Managed or Rent Collect Service unless You advise Us in writing otherwise. In these instances Townends will arrange for an inspection by a qualified electrician and deduct the relevant amount from Your account.

2 - The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

These regulations came into effect to ensure that gas appliances are properly maintained in a safe condition to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of Landlords of domestic properties that all ‘Gas Appliances’ and ‘Gas installations and pipework’ are checked for safety once a year by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered engineer and that accurate records are kept of those safety inspections and any work carried out. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate must be given to each Tenant at the start of the Tenancy and within 28 Days of the renewal of the Gas Safety Certificate. ‘Gas installation pipework’ includes Gas Pipework, Valves, Regulators and Meters. If Townends are managing Your Property We will arrange for an annual inspection by a qualified engineer and deduct the relevant amount from Your account. In the case of You wishing to use Your own supplier to carry out the Gas Safety Certificate, please note that if We are not in receipt of a valid copy within 5 working Days of the existing Gas Safety Certificate expiring, We reserve the right to arrange for this to be carried out by one of our contractors and deduct the cost of such from Your account. Any works required as a result of such an inspection must be carried out straight away. Townends will not start a Tenancy until We are in receipt of a current Gas Safety Certificate. If the Client does not have a valid Gas Safety Certificate then a valid Section 21 notice seeking possession of the Property cannot be served.

3 - Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as Amended

The above regulations were amended in 1993 and have set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. It is now an offence to ‘supply’ in the course of a business any furniture, which does not comply with the regulations. This includes supplying furniture as part of a let residential Property. The regulations apply to sofas, beds, bedheads, children’s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, and pillows, and other similar upholstered items. All furnished Property available for rental must contain furniture that complies with the regulations. Any additional or replacement furniture supplied must comply with the regulations. Any furniture manufactured after March 1990 is likely to comply but if the appropriate labels are not affixed to the furniture, compliance is in doubt and checks should be made with the manufacturer. By signing the Terms and Conditions the Client confirms that the Property complies with the above regulations.

4 - Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms 2015

As from the 1st October 2015 under ‘The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015’ it is a requirement of the Landlord to ensure that there is a working smoke alarm on each storey of the Property and a working carbon monoxide alarm in a room where there is a solid fuel appliance and these are tested as working on the Day a new Tenancy commences. Where Townends manages a Property the Landlord agrees that Townends will install and fit such alarms to any Property which does not comply with the requirements of the legislation and will arrange for a contractor to visit the Property and test the alarms in accordance with the manufactures instructions and deduct the relevant cost from Your rent account. Where the Landlord arranges for their own installation or opts for the Let Only or Rent Collect Service, the Landlord will be responsible for ensuring they comply with the statutory obligation.

5 - Legionnaires Disease

In order to comply with the Health and Safety Executives Code of Practice, Landlords must ensure the Health and Safety of Tenants by keeping the Property safe and free from hazards. The L8 Approved Code of Practice (3rd edition) (ACOP) establishes a requirement for Landlords of both domestic and business premises to assess the risks from exposure of Legionella to their Tenants.

Whilst there are practical and proportionate measures Landlords may undertake there remains a ‘duty’ on the Landlords part to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella. By signing these Terms of Business the Landlord acknowledges his responsibility for the safety of the Tenant at the premises, confirms he has considered all risks regarding Legionnaires Disease and has taken prudent steps to document and keep a record for their own purposes. If You do not feel competent to carry out a risk assessment, Townends will undertake this for You, by arranging for a professionally trained and accredited assessor to carry out an assessment, providing You with an appropriate record of such, deducting the cost from the Landlords account.

6 - Tax

You will be liable for tax on rental income and You must inform the Inland Revenue that You are letting the Property. There are a number of allowances that You can claim against the rental income. You should seek advice on these allowances from Your accountant or from the Inland Revenue website which can be accessed at www.hmrc.gov.uk. For tax purposes You must keep all Your invoices for 6 years. You should also be aware that Townends forwards a form to the Inland Revenue annually detailing all Landlords whose Property Townends has let regardless of the country of residence of that Landlord.

If the Landlord is resident abroad for more than 6 months in the tax year or a company registered overseas, the Inland Revenue require Townends to deduct income tax at the basic rate from the payments received and account to the Inland Revenue for it under Section 42A of the Income Tax and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. Overseas Landlords can apply to the Inland Revenue to receive rent without the deduction of tax. Provided that the Landlord’s tax affairs are in order, the Inland Revenue will authorise Townends not to withhold tax from the rent received. Please ask for an application form. The Non-resident Landlord Scheme includes members of HM Armed Forces and other Crown Servants who are resident abroad for their employment, even though their employment duties, while performed overseas, are treated as performed in the UK for the purposes of charging their salaries to tax. Unless Townends are in receipt of a letter of authorisation from the Inland Revenue, We will withhold monies from rental received as advised by the Inland Revenue. No interest is payable on monies held. The appropriate form for applying for an approval number can be downloaded from www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nrLandlords.htm.

Should an approval number not be obtained for each person who owns the Property and Townends have to retain tax at the basic rate, We will charge and deduct from Your account an administration fee for preparation of the quarterly and annual returns required to be made by Us to the Inland Revenue. The Client will be liable to reimburse Townends against all payments of interest on outstanding tax or penalties levied on or made by Us and shall pay to Us any shortfall of such monies upon written demand. Should any Client require an annual summary of income and expenditure for tax purposes this can be provided at an additional cost.

7 - Houses in Multiple Occupation 2006

The regulations in the above act concerning houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) became law on April 6th 2006 and were enforceable from July 2006. There is a general wide definition of the regulations which state that the following are HMOs:

  • Student accommodation during term time
  • Properties inhabited by three or more people who are not a household and share kitchen and bathroom facilities. A household is defined as parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, step parents and step children.

A building converted into flats pre June 1992 which does not comply with the Building Regulations 1991, has not been subsequently up-dated to the relevant fire safety standard and where a third or more of the properties are rented on short term tenancies. The Landlord may not have to carry out any action to ensure compliance. The above Properties like all private dwellings must comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which is the new statistical means of measuring hazards and risk of injury at a Property. This system applies to all properties but those falling into the above category are subject to inspection by the environmental health officer. The responsibility for ensuring the Property complies is that of the Landlord. If Townends accepts an instruction to let the Property and subsequently an order is served to comply with the HHSRS, any costs incurred by Townends for compliance due to an order being served upon Us the Landlord will be liable for and agrees to reimburse Us within 14 Days of written demand or agrees by signing this document that the costs may be deducted from the rent or other money received.

8 - Mandatory Licensing

Under the Housing Act 2004 Landlords of certain properties where individuals are living as more than one household will need to be licensed by their local authority. If the Property potentially requires a licence You will either need to obtain a licence from the relevant local authority or Townends will only be able to let the Property to a single family group. The Property will require a licence if it falls into the following definition. If the Property is 3 storeys or more and has 5 or more occupiers who do not form one household and share kitchen or bathroom facilities it is subject to mandatory licensing. It is the responsibility of the Landlord to apply and pay for the licence along with communicating any management requirements to Townends of the licence. Townends will notify the Landlord of any fee payable if this is not included within the Fully Managed Service.

9 - Selective Licensing

Under the Housing Act 2004, Landlords of properties in certain areas may be subject to a licensing requirement from their local authority to be able to lawfully let the Property. It is the responsibility of the Landlord to apply and pay for the licence along with communicating any management requirements to Townends of the licence. Townends will notify the Landlord of any fee payable if this is not included within the Fully Managed Service. If the Client does not have a valid license when required then a valid Section 21 notice seeking possession of the Property cannot be served. The local authority can also take action against the Client which can include application to the First Tier Property tribunal to seek a rent repayment Order to seek recovery of the rent paid up to1 year.

10 - The Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015

From 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for all rented properties to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). From 1st April 2016 the Regulations state that a Tenant will have the right to ask for energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties, which cannot be unreasonably refused by the Landlord. This is subject to any amendments that may be made before the Regulations are enforced. It is the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the EPC is available to prospective Tenants (unless the Property is exempt). An EPC is valid for 10 years from date of issue. If the Client does not have a valid EPC then a valid Section 21 notice seeking possession of the Property cannot be served.

11 - Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (Section 45)

Under this Act an obligation is placed on the Landlord to provide the Tenant’s contact details to the relevant water company at the end of the Tenancy or they will become jointly and severally liable for any unpaid water charges during the Tenancy. Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in marketing the Property, Townends is legally obliged to ensure that all information is accurate, not misleading and does not omit material information. You must make Us aware of any matter which may be material to a Tenant.

12 - Landlord Repairing Obligations

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended by Section 116 of the Housing Act 1988 places and obligation on Landlords to keep in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences and the installations of space heating and heating of water.

13 - Safety Standards for Internal Blinds and Curtains

It is a legal requirement that all blinds and curtains which include a cord or chain must comply with the recently published safety standards. Legally all blinds and curtains must have built-in safety systems. Blinds and curtains that are already fitted to a Property must be made safe or replaced.

14 - Retaliatory Evictions

Under the Deregulation Act 2015, measures were bought in to stop Landlords evicting Tenants who reported issues with the Property rather than fixing them. Under an AST, if poor state of repair is reported to a Landlord and an adequate written response within 14 Days, the Tenant may inform the council who could then stop the Landlord serving a Section 21 notice for 6 months, as well as issuing an improvement notice.

15 - Asbestos

It is the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that Townends are informed of any asbestos fixtures and fittings within the Property or any outbuildings included in the Tenancy Agreement. This ensures that contractors are properly instructed.

16 - Private Water Supplies

It is a Tenant’s right to enjoy pure drinking water in their home. It is our advice that a Tenant should be provided with a copy of the report from the Environment Agency confirming the standard of the water supply to the Property. If the report does not show that the water reaches recommended levels, We must advise that a UV filter be fitted to the Property supply, either at the main water inlet to the Property, or to a separate drinking supply. The Tenant should be made responsible within the Tenancy Agreement for changing the UV bulb within the filter, or if 1 specific tap is to be used for drinking water the Tenant should be notified accordingly.

17 - Finance Act 2003

From 1st December 2003 the liability for Landlords to pay Stamp Duty was abolished. The liability is purely that of the Tenant if the rent after deduction of the discount exceeds £125,000.00.

18 - Defective Premises Act 1972

Under the Defective Premises Act 1972 the Landlord is liable as owner for any occurrence originating from a defect or lack of repair that the Landlord knows of or should have been aware of. If the Tenant suffers loss due to the defect the Landlord will be liable to compensate the Tenant. Townends assume that the Property has no defect unless advised to the contrary. If You require a survey to be carried out please advise. Many building insurance policies provide cover against claims under this act, but You should check Your own policy to ensure You are covered.

19 - Consumer Protection Regulations

Under the Consumer Protection Regulations, the Client is required to disclose any information that might materially affect a Tenant’s decision to take out a Tenancy at the Property. In the event that information to this affect is not provided to the Tenant they can seek damages as well as a cancellation of the Tenancy that they entered into. The Client is required to inform Townends of anything that may fall under this category. If such information is not disclosed then and Townends suffer any loss as a result, the Client agrees to indemnify Townends against any such losses.