Legal Requirements

Landlords Legal Requirements

 

The world of lettings can be a confusing one. With the ever changing legislative landscape, ensuring your investment, your tenants and your legal obligations are cared for can seem like a very difficult juggling act. At Adore Cardiff, we ensure our landlords fulfil their legal obligations while maximising the rental return as part of our management service. If however you are landlord simply looking for a bit of advice and a place to start on navigating the minefield legal minefield, read on! If you have any questions, we’re only a call away.

 

Gas Safety Certificate (CP12)

By law, under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it is a landlord’s responsibility to obtain a valid gas safety certificate (CP12) for any property they rent where gas is used. This certificate must be completed by a Gas Safe Registered engineer every twelve months for all pipe work, gas appliances & flues installed at your property. A record of each safety check must be kept for at least two years.

Gas Top tips

  • Legally you only have to carry out a gas safety inspection every twelve months, but it’s a good idea to get appliances checked between tenants too. Then you’ll be sure your appliances are in tip-top condition before your new tenants move in.
  • Installing a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm comes highly recommended – not just by us, but by HSE too. It’s the best way to make sure your tenants are safe from dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. But an alarm should never replace regular maintenance and safety checks.

Adore Cardiff can arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to service any appliances and carry out the necessary safety checks as required. Please contact us for further information, or submit your request now

Electrical Safety

It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings, including plugs and socket within the property are safe, comply with current regulations and are in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is not a law that stipulates you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. However, as a landlord you have an obligation to ensure the electrical supply and any appliances are safe. Should any electrical fitting or appliance within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable under The Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Consumer Protection Act 1987) and The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Electrical Top tips

  • Annual visual inspections by landlords or agents are recommended. Also 5 yearly inspections by a qualified electrician to ensure electrical safety is a worthwhile expense.
  • Ensure tenants know their responsibility and that the electrical goods they bring into the property have been correctly tested.

Adore Cardiff can offer advice and arrange for a qualified electrician to carry out an electrical inspection and periodic testing of a property/ appliances. Please contact us for further information and costs, or submit your request now

Energy Performance

Under the Energy Performance of buildings (Certificates & Inspections) Regulations 2007 it is illegal to market a property to tenants without holding a valid energy performance certificate (EPC). An EPC lasts for 10 years and details the findings of an energy performance assessment. This document also provides a breakdown of the energy efficiency of a property with potential areas of improvement.

EPC Top tips

  • Ensure that whoever is advertising your property, whether yourself or an agent, is able to provide a copy of the EPC before the property is marketed.
  • Schemes such as The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme operate in Wales and with grants of up to £3600 offered it is well worth checking to see if your property is eligible. Please visit www.heeswales.co.uk for more information.

Adore Cardiff use a qualified assessor who can undertake energy performance assessments at a competitive rate. If you require an EPC for your property, please contact us for further information, or submit your request now

Houses in Multiple Occupations (HMO’s)

HMO’s can often become complicated, especially in converted properties. The simple definition of a HMO is “A house which is occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who do not form a single household” – this definition is supported by Sections 254, 257 and 258 of the Housing Act 2004

There are currently two licensing schemes for private rented property operating in Cardiff;

  • Mandatory HMO licence – this applies to HMOs across the city
  • Additional HMO licence Cathays – this applies to HMOs in the Cathays area only.
  • Additional HMO license Plasnewydd – this applies to HMOs in the Plasnewydd area only

HMO Top tips

  • If you think that your property may be a HMO, speak to an expert (like your agent), many a landlord has fallen foul of this part of Housing Law resulting in costly fines and even prosecution
  • Become a member of the Landlord Accreditation Wales Scheme to receive a reduced HMO license fee.

Repairs

One of the most hotly debated topics in private rented accommodation is the issue of repairs. The Landlords and Tenants Act 1985 explains that landlords are required to keep internal installations, the structure & exterior of their rental property in good repair. The landlord is responsible for maintaining installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and water heating but not appliances. The landlord would be required to repair any external structural problems to the roof, the guttering, drains, exterior pipes, exterior walls, windows and doors.

Repairs Top tips

  • Ensure you have good communication with your tenants – after all this is how you will find out about problems and chase them in the event of rent being late! When the communication channels are open, tenants tend to feel happier and looked after, happy tenants tend to pay their rent on time and keep the property in a better condition. When it comes to repairs, it may be worth asking yourself a simple question - Shall I spend £100 now or risk losing good tenants and having the property empty? Good tenants who stay at length are the best way of ensuring your investment is as profitable as possible; you want a regular income to pay the mortgage/ re-invest/ save, not a 6 monthly turn over with frequent periods where it is empty.
  • Find a cost effective and trustworthy handy man that will fix small jobs for a low cost, this will prove beneficial to you and your tenants.

Adore Cardiff have a range of contractors to carry out any necessary repairs or maintenance. All our contractors are competitively priced, insured and trusted by us. Please contact us for further information and costs, or submit your request now.

Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993

Furniture and furnishings act as a fuel in the event of a fire. If the materials are non-fire-retardant they can have a catalytic effect, greatly increasing the rate at which a fire spreads. When putting furniture and furnishings in a rental property, landlords must ensure that they meet the fire resistance standards (whether the item is new or second hand). These standards apply to upholstery and upholstered furniture including beds, mattresses, pillow, sofas, cushions etc.

Top tips

  • All landlords should familiarise themselves with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended 1989/1993)
  • It is also a good idea to make future tenants aware of the risks. Ensuring that all furniture brought into the property is correctly checked.

Smoke Alarms

If your property was built post June 1992 as part of the Buildings Regulations 2011 it must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke alarms with at least one detector per floor level. In older properties it is strongly recommended that they are fitted with battery operated smoke alarms on each floor, at the very least (although not technically a legal requirement).

Top tips

  • It is best to make sure all smoke alarms are fitted by a qualified electrician and tested regularly
  • If you have elderly tenants then making sure that these alarms are tested regularly by someone capable is crucial.

Adore Cardiff can provide advice and arrange for qualified electricians to install smoke alarm systems. While not a legal requirement, we could not recommend this more strongly. Please contact us for further information and costs, or submit your request now

Tenancy Deposit Protection

As part of the Housing Act 2004 all landlords and letting agents letting properties with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement must ensure that deposits are registered with a Government-authorised Deposit Protection Scheme.

Top Tips

  • Always ensure that tenant deposits are protected, whether through insurance or custodial holding
  • In the event you wish to claim from a tenants deposit for anything except rent (such as damages) a comprehensive inventory will be crucial. This will provide a record from which a comparison between the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy can be drawn and damages awarded accordingly. All disputes resolved by the Deposit Protection Schemes are legally binding.

Adore Cardiff is a member of the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS). Please contact us for further information, or submit your request now.

Legionnaires' disease

As the responsible person, landlords of residential property are responsible for ensuring risks posed to tenants while living in the property are kept to a minimum. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria and, where necessary, maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.

Top Tips

  • Inform the landlord/letting agent if they believe the hot water temperature is below 50°C or the hot water tank/boiler is defective in any way
  • not adjust the temperature of the hot water
  • advise landlord/letting agent if they believe the cold water temperature is above 20°C
  • flush through little used outlets for 2 minutes at least once a week
  • clean, disinfect and descale shower heads at least once every 6 months
  • notify the landlord/letting agent if they notice any debris or discolouration in the hot or cold water
  • For further information please visit the Health & Safety Executive website at: www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires.

Please contact us for further information

 

Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS)

The housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.

Top Tips

  • HHSRS involves the assessment of 29 potential hazards and scoring of their severity to decide whether improvements are needed.  If more serious Category 1 hazards are found, the Council’s Environmental Health team has the power to issue improvement notices to ensure the work is carried out. Failure to take action upon receipt of an improvement notice can lead to substantial fines and even imprisonment.
  • This can be a complicated and quite tricky part of housing with serious repercussions if carried out incorrectly. We would suggest speaking to an expert, like Adore Cardiff to avoid the common pitfalls.

Please contact us for further information

 

For advice on all of these topics please visit the websites below.

Gas - www.legislation.gov.uk and www.hse.gov.uk/gas

Electricity - www.legislation.gov.uk

Energy Performance - www.legislation.gov.uk and www.communities.gov.uk

HMOwww.legislation.gov.uk and www.cardiff.gov.uk/privaterent

Repairswww.legislation.gov.uk

Furniturewww.legislation.gov.uk and www.firesafe.org.uk

Smoke Alarms – www.legislation.gov.uk

Overseas Landlordswww.hmrc.gov.uk/nonresidents

Tenancy Deposit Protection - www.direct.gov.uk/tenancydeposit and http://www.depositprotection.com/

 

This guide is designed to give you an idea of the sought of legal requirements expected from you, as a landlord when renting a property. This is provided to give helpful advice but is by no means an exhaustive list. We suggest speaking to a property professional.

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