A Guide for landlords
There are a number of requirements placed on the landlords of residential property of which you should be aware. These are briefly outlined below.
Consents/right to let
Before entering into any agreement to let a property the landlord must check whether there are any restrictions to doing so and whether consent needs to be obtained from:
If the property is held on a lease the landlord must ensure that his lease permits him to sub-let and that he is granted consent to do so.
In most cases where a property is subject to a bank loan or mortgage, permission will be required from the lender before the property can be let. If mortgage consent is not obtained, the tenancy may be deemed unlawful which gives the lender an automatic right to take possession of the property.
Most insurance policies require notification if the property is to be let.
In accordance with the Finance Act 1995, unless exemption applies, tenants paying rent directly to landlords resident overseas are required by law to first deduct tax at the basic rate from rental monies net of expenses. These monies must then be paid to the Inland Revenue quarterly. Please note that if you pay rent directly to a landlord who lives abroad should satisfy yourself that you are not liable to any tax that may be levied against the rental income.
Further information can be obtained from The Inland Revenue Centre for Non Residents’ Helpline 0300 200 3300
In addition to a landlord’s duty under common law to ensure the safety of rented property so that no injury or damage is caused to the occupants, neighbours or the public, there are a number of statutory obligations placed on landlords.
The Furniture and furnishings (Fire) (Safety)
Regulation 1988 as amended in 1993
All upholstered furniture and soft furnishings supplied to a rented property and being part of a letting must comply with these Regulations which aim to improve safety by requiring they pass the “cigarette”, “match” or “ignitability” tests.
Most new furniture is required to carry a display label or fixed label to show that it complies with these Regulations and furniture manufactured since 1 March 1989 or sold by a retailer after 1 March 1990 will comply.
The Regulations do not apply to:
bed-clothes (including duvets) and pillowcases
loose covers for mattresses or sleeping bags
curtains and carpets
Items manufactured before 1 January 1950 and “period” or antique furniture unless they have been re-upholstered.
Further information can be obtained from the Department of Trade & Industry on 020 7215 0367 or www.dti.gov.uk.
The gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1998
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that gas appliances and pipework in tenanted premises are maintained in good order and in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person.
The Regulations require that the appliances and pipework are checked for safety by a Gas Safe qualified gas engineer prior to the commencement of a tenancy and every 12 months thereafter. A record of the safety check must be supplied to each tenant and a copy kept by the landlord and/or his managing agent for at least two years.
Further information can be obtained from Gas Safe 0800 4085500 or www. Gassaferegister.co.uk
The electrical equipment (safety) regulations 1994
These Regulations impose an obligation on the landlord to ensure that all electrical wiring and appliances in the property are ‘safe’ and will not cause ‘danger’. Electrical appliances must carry a ‘CE’ mark and instruction books or clear working instructions must be provided for the tenant. Confirmation that inspections have been regularly undertaken could be requested, although no specific time-scale is given, nor is there any requirement for inspections to be made by members of specific bodies, other than the person be competent.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Please note as a landlord you will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your property/properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis on the 11 March 2015. This will come into effect on the 1st October 2015.
First requirement under the legislation is the landlord is to carry out a check to ensure that smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms installed to comply with the Regulations are in proper working order on the day a tenancy begins where it is a new tenancy. A new tenancy is a tenancy granted on or after 1st October 2015. A new tenancy does not include a tenancy which was granted where the original agreement was entered into before 1st October 2015; nor does it include a periodic statutory tenancy which arises when a fixed term shorthold tenancy ends. It does not apply to a tenancy which starts at the end of an earlier tenancy where the landlord and tenant are the same as under the earlier tenancy where the landlord and tenant are the same as under the earlier tenancy and the premises are the same (or substantially the same) as those under the earlier tenancy. Therefore this express requirement to check does not apply to the renewal of a tenancy for the same premises by the same landlord to the same tenant.
Second requirement is a smoke alarm has to be place on each storey of the property and one carbon monoxide alarm in the property.
Third requirement is the alarms need to be main and battery operated to avoid the tenants tampering with the unit.
Landlords repairing obligations
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended by Section 116 of the Housing Act 1988 places an 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.
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