Landlords in the domestic and non-domestic rental market are bound by a number of regulations which must be adhered to, and which are designed to protect both the tenant and the landlord. It is prudent for all landlords looking to rent out properties with confidence to fully explore the regulations which apply to them, but here is a brief overview of the key pieces of legislation covering all aspects of property rental, and what you need to do to comply with them.
Under the gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1994, landlords must ensure that gas supplies and appliances are inspected on an annual basis and a report is received, retained and presented to all existing and future tenants. The report should confirm that any defects found have been rectified. It is the responsibility of the landlord to arrange and follow through this inspection, and you should also enforce the health & safety executive’s (hse) directive that all gas inspections should be carried out by engineers registered with capita. Fines up to £25,000 and/or imprisonment could be enforced for failing to comply with these regulations.
Requirements for electrical safety are two-fold, and require the safe inspection and testing of both wiring installations and all appliances. Installation testing should be carried out before any tenancy agreement commences, and should be done by a competent part p qualified engineer. This should then be repeated on an annual basis. Furthermore, landlords have a duty of care to ensure portable appliances (ie. A toaster) and fixed appliances (such as a cooker or washing machine) are pat tested, are fit for use and remain free of defects throughout the tenancy agreement. Again, this test should be repeated annually by a competent person. It is recommended that landlords consult the “enhanced electrical inspection” (also known as “e2”) requirements for full details. Again, landlords face fines and possible imprisonment for neglecting to comply with these regulations.
Energy efficiency regulations
New legislation coming into force in April 2018 means that landlords must maintain a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) in the property and tenants will also have a right to request practical energy efficiency improvements. The MEES requirements must be met before a property (domestic or non-domestic) can be let. If a property is sub-standard because its MEES falls below an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of band e, then a landlord will not be able to let it out until remedial work is carried out, under the new regulations. Existing legislation already dictates that properties for let must have an EPC in place prior to a tenancy agreement commencing, and landlords therefore must work to ensure that insulation, heating and hot water systems, ventilation and fuels used all improve the building’s energy performance. Landlords are not expected to carry out costly and unreasonable energy improvements and in some cases there are government grants available t
This is mainly to protect landlords and differs from regular household insurance because you are not resident of the property and in control of how the buildings and contents are being treated. Naturally, if you have a standard household insurance policy and do not inform your insurers that the property is being let, this will invalidate the policy. The chances are you will have a considerable amount of money tied up in a rented property via a mortgage, and therefore your mortgage lender will insist on a landlords’ insurance policy being in place. This will protect you from fire, flood or
Other catastrophes and also against loss or damage of contents. Importantly, most landlords’ insurance policies also protect you from a loss of income stream, should your tenants renege on rental payments.
The principle issue here is regarding fire safety. All furnishings (beds, mattresses, chairs, sofas, pillows, cushions etc) must comply with the latest fire resistance requirements. From 1st January 1997 all soft furnishings and upholstered materials in rental accommodation must comply with the furniture and furnishings (fire safety) regulations 1988. This is normally signified by a rectangular tag on an item stating “carelessness causes fire”. This should remain permanently attached to the item. This also means that any item manufactured prior to 1988 is unlikely to be fit to use in rented accommodation. Failure to comply with these regulations again opens landlords up to a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment.