IMPORTANT INFORMATION: OBLIGATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LANDLORDS
It is important that, as a prospective landlord, you understand the extent of your responsibilities.
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 & Money Laundering Regulations 2017
The Proceeds of Crime Act imposes on us, as agents, legal requirements to report any suspicions that we may have concerning money laundering (including money that may be the proceeds of crime) and terrorist financing.
As a result we will undertake due diligence checks on you and your identity and therefore require you to provide us with proof of identity (including residency). This should ideally be a full passport or photographic driving licence as well as a current utility bill. We must see the original documents.
Please note also that such legal requirements may also override our usual duties of non-disclosure of personal information that we hold about you.
Consent to Let
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have obtained all necessary consents to rent your property. This would include your mortgage lender (if relevant) and your freeholder (if relevant).
Right to Rent: the Immigration Act 2014 and the Immigration Act 2016
As a landlord you have a legal responsibility, under the Immigration Act 2014, to ensure that any adult seeking to occupy your property under a tenancy agreement (either as a tenant or as a permitted occupier) has a right to rent in this country or has been granted permission by the Home Office to rent. This can only be done by checking original documents in the presence of the proposed occupier. This does not apply to any person under the age of 18 although the responsibility falls upon you to satisfy yourself that any such person is actually under-18 on the day the tenancy starts.
In addition you have an on-going responsibility to make further checks of those occupiers with a time-limited right to rent. In the event that those checks show that the right to rent has expired you have a duty to inform the Home Office and to act on their instructions.
Flood and Water Management Act 2010
When section 45 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is implemented the owner of a property will become jointly and severally liable with the tenant for the payment of the charges for the water supply and sewerage charges in the event the departing tenant has not provided a forwarding address.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Regulations
It is a requirement that any property to be rented has a valid Energy Performance Certificate in place and that the property must have an energy efficiency rating of E or above (E to A). This means that it will not be possible to market any such properties or allow any existing tenancy to be renewed or allowed to go into a statutory periodic tenancy if it has a rating of F or below.
We will therefore require that you provide us with a current EPC, showing that the property has the required rating (which remains valid for ten years and therefore can be used for successive tenancies). If the property has no EPC at all we will require that you provide us with proof that you have commissioned (i.e. ordered) one. If you prefer we can commission one on your behalf.
Please note that we will be unable to proceed with marketing if, following commissioning, the EPC is still not available after 28 days. In addition if the commissioned EPC shows that the property has an energy efficiency rating of below E (i.e F or G) we will cease marketing immediately. In these circumstances you will still be liable for any agreed costs that we have incurred on your behalf.
There are exemptions and if your property falls into one of the exemption categories it is your responsibility to register your property on the Exemptions Register and provide us with the documentary evidence of registration.
If your property has an EPC rating that is below E we will discuss your options and obligations with you.
Energy Act 2011 - The Green Deal
You confirm that you will advise us in writing before the start of a tenancy if there is any Green Deal Plan on the property approved or in operation where the cost of the improvements will be met through the payment of the energy bills for the property. We will then include an appropriate clause within the tenancy agreement
Please note that if you wish to enter into a Green Deal Plan or similar scheme during a tenancy you must obtain the written consent of the tenant before the plan can be entered into. Advise us in writing of your intention to do so and obtain the written consent from the tenant before the plan can be entered into.
Please be aware that as a landlord you have a statutory obligation to repair and maintain your property under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This includes the fabric and structure of the property, the supply for the installation of services, sanitary ware and the provisions for space heating and hot water. In general you have a duty to ensure that the property is fit for habitation and free from identifiable risks at the beginning of the tenancy and also throughout the duration of the tenancy. For the avoidance of doubt this would include any public, shared or common areas of the property.
In addition the requirements of the Defective Premises Act 1972 place a liability on you for any occurrence originating from defect or lack of repair that you knew or should have known of. If the tenant suffers a loss due to a defect you, as the landlord, may be liable to compensate the tenant.
It is important that you fully understand your responsibilities and to this end we will provide you with a copy of our standard tenancy agreement which outlines your obligation to the tenant. In addition we will provide you with a copy of the government leaflet 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England' which must be provided to tenants. Further information is also available at www.communities.gov.uk/housing (the section entitled 'Repairs, a Guide for Landlords and Tenants.)
HMO Property - Housing Act 2004 and Licensing
If a dwelling is considered an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) property, as defined under the above Act or as designated by the Local Authority, certain requirements must be fulfilled to comply with health and safety even if the HMO does not need to be licensed. If the property is managed we will advise you of any requirements that may arise during the tenancy however it is your obligation to deal with this matter during the tenancy if it is not fully managed by us.
If the property requires a licence (either because it falls under any mandatory requirements or because the Local Authority has imposed additional or selective licensing requirements) it is a requirement that you must have applied for and gained the required license.
We will be able to advise you on any licensing requirements that may apply and on the requirements for you to be granted that license. It may be that the requirements of HMO legislation limit the number of or the status of tenants that you will be able to let the property to (e.g. you may not be able to offer it to sharers). In consequence this may restrict the way in which we will be able to market your property.
Statutory regulations place obligations upon the Landlord in relation to the safety of the tenant. If you are unsure of your responsibilities relating to any of the items below please contact us for further information or seek independent legal advice.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
All gas appliances, fittings and pipe work in a property that is to be let out must be checked on an annual basis to ensure they are in a safe condition. In the process of this check the engineer will also need to examine the entire length of gas flues until they exit the building. If he is unable to access flues for any reason he will not be able to certify the system as safe and to do so it may be necessary to construct access panels at appropriate points.
We as agents must be in receipt of a current, or a new Gas Safety Record that lists all appliances and confirms that these and the associated fittings etc are safe prior to the commencement of any tenancy. This Record must be completed by an approved Gas Safe Register contractor and a copy given to the tenant at or before the start of the tenancy. Records must be kept for a minimum of two years and renewed annually. A copy of the renewed record must be given to the tenant within twenty-eight days of the check having been carried out. If a landlord is found guilty of a failure to comply with this regulation he will have a criminal record and face imprisonment a fine or both. In addition, any Section 21 notice seeking possession will not be valid if it cannot be evidenced that the tenant received a copy of the Gas Safety Record at the beginning of the tenancy. As agents we will not allow a tenant to take occupation of a property that has gas appliances that do not have a current satisfactory Gas Safety Record. We can make arrangements to have a Gas Safety Record obtained for your property prior to the commencement of a tenancy for which there will be an additional charge. Charges are outlined in our Schedule of Fees and Charges at the end of this document.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 and Electrical Installation Requirements
These regulations make it a criminal offence to supply electrical equipment or an electrical supply that is not safe. Whilst there is no mandatory requirement for an annual check the obligation to ensure that the items are safe remain. Therefore we require you as a Landlord to either provide us with a written report from a suitably qualified electrician confirming the safety of the electrical installations and equipment or a written confirmation of your warranty of safety and full responsibility for such for both the electrical installations and equipment. Failure to provide equipment that is safe is a criminal offence and, if found guilty, the landlord may face imprisonment a fine or both. We can make arrangements to have an electrical check on your property prior to the commencement of a tenancy for which there will be an additional charge. Charges are outlined in our Schedule of Fees and Charges at the end of this document subject to terms as below.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (as amended)
These Regulations require the 'responsible person' to carry out a fire risk assessment and then to implement all appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire. It is also a requirement to keep the assessment up to date. Please be aware that as the landlord you are the 'responsible person' and it is your sole responsibility to determine what your obligations are under the Fire Safety order. We do not carry out any of the functions of the 'responsible person'.
As agents we will not allow a tenant to take occupation of a property where, in our opinion, a serious risk of fire exists.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended 1993)
All soft furnishings must comply with these regulations and if they do not they must be removed from the property. Furnishings that comply may have a regulatory label attached at the point of sale and if such a label is not present at time of marketing we will require evidence that the said furnishings comply with the regulations. Please do not offer to give or sell non-compliant furniture to the tenant as this is still considered supplying. As with the other regulations failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence and the Landlord may face imprisonment a fine or both.
As agents we will not allow a tenant to take occupation of a property that contains furniture which we are not satisfied is compliant with safety regulations.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarms
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require that tenanted properties are required to have a smoke alarm fitted on each storey of a property where there is a room that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in any room used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. Please note that a hall or landing is classed as a room and bathrooms and toilets are classed as living accommodation.
It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure and to evidence that each alarm is in working order on the first day of the tenancy.
In addition we strongly recommend that carbon monoxide detectors are also placed in any room that contains a gas or liquid fuel burning appliance.
Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
In addition to the above requirement concerning carbon monoxide, any solid fuel burning appliance installed after October 2010 must comply with Building Regulation requirements. It is the responsibility of the landlord for the ongoing maintenance and, if necessary, repair of the appliance. In addition chimneys should be swept at least once in a twelve month period and preferably before the start of the tenancy.
Providers of residential accommodation are now responsible for ensuring that the risk from exposure to legionella in premises is properly controlled.
For further information we recommend you read the guidance published by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 'Legionnaires Disease: Part 2. The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems'' www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires together with the Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that landlords not on our management service will have an on-going responsibility.
Internal Window Blinds and Curtain Fittings
New Regulations were introduced in 2014 requiring that all new blinds and curtain tracks supplied and fitted by a professional must pass the new standard regarding safety where there is a danger, particularly to young children, from loose cords and loops. While these regulations are not retrospective those responsible for properties are urged to make sure that existing fittings do not pose a danger of strangulation by fitting a safety device such as a snap connector or cleat. We reserve the right to refuse to allow the tenancy to commence where we feel that any such internal blinds without any safety fittings may represent a hazard to the occupiers or visitors to the property.
Fixed Glass Panels
The Building Regulations 1991, as amended, require that all glass panels in critical locations, i.e. where human impact can occur (doors, adjacent to doors, low level panels in walls, mirror doors on wardrobes etc.) must be of suitable safety glass. This only applies to any such glass installed since the Regulations were introduced OR to any non-safety glass installed before that date but which is now damaged (cracked or chipped). It is your duty as a landlord to make sure that all glass panels in your property comply with the Regulations.
In carrying out our obligations under any contract with you it is likely that we will provide you with personal data of an applicant or a tenant. Please note that this is likely to impose legal obligations on you with regard to that data and it may be necessary for you to register with the Information Commissioners Office under the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.