When letting a property landlords and tenants have different obligations to fulfil legal and contractual requirements. A good letting agent will make sure you are up to date on the ever-changing lettings legislation.
A landlord must make sure their property is habitable (Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018) by ensuring such things as there being adequate heating and washing facilities, that the tenant has the ability to cook and the property does not have a serious problem with damp.
A landlords needs to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling (Landlord and Tenant Act 1985)
A landlord needs to make sure the property is safe and conforms to legislation by:
- installing a smoke detector for each habitable floor and carbon monoxide detector in each room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance
- providing the tenant with a gas safety certificate where all gas appliances within the property are checked on an annual basis The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998)
- providing the tenant with an electrical safety certificate where the electrics within the property are checked every 5 years The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016)
There must also be a current energy performance certificate for the property to agree a new let or to extend a current let. The certificate lasts for 10 years once completed and the energy rating must be E or above (some exemptions can be applied for through the local council).
If the property is furnished a landlord must make sure any soft furnishings left in the property comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations
1988. Any soft furnishings (mattresses, sofas, window seats, bean bags etc…) should have a fire safe label. If manufactured after March 1989 it will comply with the regulation.
For larger properties where 3 or more unrelated people share facilities you may require a licence from the local authority for this 'house of multiple occupancy’. If the property has 5 or more unrelated sharers you will require a licence.
When a let is agreed prospective tenants are asked to provide identification to comply with ‘right to rent’ checks (Asylum and Immigration Act 1996) making sure the tenant has the right to reside in the UK.
When a tenant moves in they must be provided with the certificates relating to the property and the latest version of the government ‘How to Rent’ and ‘How to Rent a Safe Home’ guides (Deregulation Act 2015).
Please note, the above article is not an exhaustive list of the legal requirements for landlords. The brief information contained in this article is believed to be accurate, however, it should not be relied upon in place of formal legal advice.
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