Health and Safety, and other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are managing the property they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the landlord.
Annual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a CORGI registered gas installer).Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are 'supplying in the course of business'. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation - 'Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care', or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules apply. Learn more here: http://www.propertylicence.gov.uk
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities. For further information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents will be able to choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. Learn more here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people's rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and commonhold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises. Learn more here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/dda_factsheet4-premises.pdf Insurance: We are able to suggest a variety of insurance policies for both landlords and tenants, including the following -
Covers the rebuilding of your property following loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons (including tenants), accidental damage to bathroom fixtures & fittings and glass, lightning, explosion, collision or impact, falling trees and earthquake, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage and loss of rent up to 20% of the sum insured following damage. Also includes property owner's liability.
CoverWhere the property is let unfurnished limited contents cover is available; this generally provides cover for the following items: Carpets, Curtains, Sun Blinds, Light Fixtures & Fittings, and Kitchen White Goods. Cover an be on a new for old basis and also includes landlord's liability.Contents InsuranceCover can be on a new for old basis for loss or damage caused by fire, aircraft, smoke, malicious persons, lightning, explosion, impact, theft (by forcible means), subsidence, riot/civil commotion, storm, flood, escape of water or oil leakage, breakage of mirrors or glass in furniture, replacement of locks following theft of keys, and loss of rent up to a given percentag of the sum insured following damage. This can also includes landlord's liability.
You may be unable to collect the rent, your tenants may damage or remove your personal possessions, or they may cause a nuisance to your neighbours. All these problems can be resolved by legal action but this is expensive. You can get cover to include all of your legal expenses up to a set figure and even with no policy excess to pay.
This policy provides total peace of mind for landlords. Cover includes the rent you are expecting from your property until vacant possession is obtained for up to 12 months (excluding the first month's lost rent). Additionally, cover includes 50% of the rent for up to 3 month's after possession is obtained whilst a new tenant is found. All related legal expenses are included. Investment: With typical returns of up to 10% achievable on capital investment in residential property to let in much of the UK, the buy-to-let market provides a highly efficient long-term investment medium.
Our considerable local experience in this field, together with our independent status, means that we are able to provide practical and impartial advice on such matters as the type of property and the area that you should consider, and also on a choice of lenders to approach to suit your circumstances. Pre-purchase guidance is available free of charge.
From minor works to complete refurbishment, we are able to assist in the process of preparing the property for letting in a variety of ways, including the arranging and supervising of redecoration and repairs, carpeting, curtaining and furnishings. Our relationship with local suppliers and tradespeople ensures competitive pricing and quality workmanship. Our fees for arranging and supervising refurbishment works are a minimum of 10% of the total expenditure.
We hope that you will find the above information useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.