Guide to Laws & Legislation
Energy Performance Certificate
You must provide tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) at the earliest opportunity. You will not be able to obtain possession of your property using a section 21 notice unless you provide this.
Since April 2020, all privately rented properties must have a minimum EPC rating of E. Where a property qualifies for an exemption, this must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
Local authorities can impose penalties of up to £5,000 for breaches. Tenants can also ask permission to carry out energy performance improvements and you cannot unreasonably refuse consent.
If the tenant is responsible for paying the energy bills, they can also choose to have a smart meter installed.
Becoming a Landlord?
The landlord is responsible for their property and its contents. Adequate insurance is very important and landlords must inform their insurance company that the property is LET otherwise the current policy will be void should a claim be necessary. Landlords Rental Guarantee and legal cost insurance is also available from us.
Services Tenants are responsible for payment of the following: gas, electricity, water rates, sewage charges, council tax, telephone/TV charges. Landlords are responsible for ground rent and service charges (if applicable).
Tax – Overseas Landlords
Many overseas landlords qualify to receive rental income gross. The Revenue’s Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office (FICO) operates the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme. Forms to apply for approval are available from HMRC.
Taxation on letting income is dealt with by the landlord under the self-assessment system and much will depend on personal financial circumstances. Any expense incurred for the purpose of the let can usually be offset against rent received.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms As of 1st October 2015, landlords are required by law to install working smoke alarms (on all floors) and carbon monoxide alarms (if solid fuel burning appliances are present) in their properties. These must be in place before commencement of tenancy. For more information please visit: www.direct.gov.uk
Energy performance certificates All Landlords are required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate when they rent out a property. The EPC provides prospective tenants with information about how energy efficient a property is that they are considering renting. The minimum EPC rating is ‘E’.
Gas and electrical safety
As a landlord, or as an agent acting on the landlords behalf, there is a legal obligation to ensure accommodation is safe for tenants. The law states appliances must be in good order and working correctly to guard against the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution.
Gas annual inspection and safety certificates
Every rental property supplied with gas or has any sort of gas appliance requires an annual Gas Safety Certificate. These certificates are issued only by heating engineers registered with the Gas Safe Register. Certificates are valid for a year from the date of issue and must be in place whenever a new tenancy begins. In addition, your tenant must be given a copy of the certificate.
Landlord’s electrical certificates
All new, renewed and contractual periodic tenancies (with the exception of some excluded tenancies) will need to have an electrical safety check and a certificate issued – this needs to be carried out every 5 years under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and a copy given to your tenants.
This means all fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment located on the consumer’s side of the electricity supply meter as set out in the Building Regulations 2010 is tested.
This must be carried out by someone who is competent to undertake the inspection and testing as well as any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards and a copy of the report must be supplied to the tenant within 28 days.
Typically, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is used to conduct an electrical installation safety report.
Where a report requires the landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work, the landlord must ensure that the work is carried out by a qualified person within 28 calendar days or the period specified in the report if less than 28 days, starting with the date of the inspection and testing.
Furniture and furnishings
Furniture and furnishings supplied in rental accommodation must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended). Some materials used to fill or cover furniture, particularly older and second hand furniture, may be a fire risk and often produces poisonous gases when burning, such as cyanide or carbon monoxide. There are severe penalties for non-compliance. If you let your residential property furnished you must ensure that certain types of furniture and furnishings provided meet the current safety regulation.
What is Legionella?
Legionnaires’ disease is a pneumonia-like disease commonly caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water. Landlords must assess and control the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, but this does not require an in-depth detailed assessment.
Most landlords can assess the risk themselves and do not need to be professionally trained. However, landlords can arrange for a competent person to carry out the assessment if they wish.