GAS SAFETY (INSTALLATION AND USE) REGULATION 1994

All gas appliances in rented accommodation such as cookers & boilers must be certified on an annual basis by a Gas Safe Registered installer. These regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. For further information on these regulations please call the free HSE Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300363

FURNITURE AND FURNISHING (FIRE) (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1988

Upholstered/part upholstered furniture is covered by regulations, including beds, mattresses, pillows and cushions. Bed clothes, carpets and curtains are not included, neither is genuine antique furniture made before 1950. Each piece of furniture/furnishing must comply with these regulations and have a rectangular label permanently attached to it with the heading "CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE".

THE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1994, MANDATORY SINCE 1 JANUARY 1997

All Electrical appliances within a rental property must meet specified criteria, and must be certified by a suitably qualified electrician. This applies whether these appliances are new or second hand and include toasters, immersion heaters, cookers washing machines, and showers.

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE LEGISLATIONS COULD CONSTITUTE A CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1987 - THIS CARRIES A MAXIMUM £5000 FINE OR 6 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE (EPC)

A property cannot be marketed without an EPC in place, or at least under order. In addition to the above legal requirements, all residential property advertised for rental after 1 October 2008 must have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place. Certificates remain current for 10 years from the time of issue and are required in the following circumstances:

All rental property advertised for the 1st time where the tenancy will commence on or after 1 October 2008
Existing rental property which is let to new tenants with a tenancy commencement on or after 1 October 2008

An EPC is not required in the following circumstances:

When a tenancy is renewed/extended beyond 1 October 2008 to tenants occupying the same property prior to this date
Where a property has recently been offered for sale and has a current Home Information Pack (HIP)
Where an EPC is provided by a developer/house builder when selling a new build for the first time

For those customers with Full Property Management, Gas and Electrical certification is scheduled automatically. For other Landlords, whether an existing customer or not, a good management company should be able to arrange your annual Landlord's Gas Certificate or Electrical Testing at your request.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

Many tenants in the private sector give their landlords a deposit against possible non-payment of rent or damage to property. When a tenancy comes to an end, there is usually no disagreement about the return of the deposit. But sometimes there is and this can cause much hardship and inconvenience to both landlord and tenant. The Housing Act 2004 (Chapter 4, sections 212-5; & Schedule 10) made provision for both the protection of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes over their return. The legislation came into effect on 6 April 2007. After that date, all deposits taken for Assured Shorthold Tenancies have to be covered by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Each management company should be a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and able to ensure full compliance with the requirements of this legislation.

Property Maintenance - Landlords’ Responsibilities

The Landlord's responsibilities are covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended by the Housing Act 1988.Section 10 - Fitness for Human Habitation, imposes certain obligations on Landlords to ensure that a dwelling house (which term includes whole or part of a house/flat) remains fit for human habitation. The areas where a property may be deemed unfit are where there are defects in the following:

State of repair
Stability
Freedom from damp
Internal arrangement
Natural lighting
Ventilation
Water supply
Drainage and sanitary conveniences
Facilities for the preparation of food and disposal of wastewater

Section 11 – Repairing obligations in short leases, specifically requires:

To keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)
To keep in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences but not other fixtures/fittings and appliances for making use of the supply)
To keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for space heating and heating water.

There may be other implied maintenance obligations for a landlord during a tenancy not covered by the above which, if not carried out, could result in a claim for damages by a tenant. It should be noted that the courts have generally found in favour of the tenant where the tenant is no longer receiving the full benefit offered by the property as at the commencement of the tenancy. It is recommended that arrangements are made for all maintenance/repairs of a significant nature to be carried out in a timely manner to ensure the property is in good order and retain the commitment of the tenant. Failure to do so may also make it more difficult to attract the best possible tenants in the future.

Property Maintenance - Tenants’ Responsibilities (for information)

The tenant's responsibilities are relatively straightforward in that they are under an obligation to use the premises in a ‘tenant-like manner’, as defined in the tenancy agreement. That is to say, they must look after the property and be responsible for the repair of damage that may be attributable to them, or their family or guest's misuse or neglect. However, tenants are not responsible for any damage not caused by them, or for reasonable wear and tear/ dilapidation due to the ageing of the fabric or the contents of the property.