If you are a landlord then it is crucial that you keep up to date with your legal obligations. Here you will find a comprehensive, printable, checklist detailing the legal requirements for landlords. If we have not answered all of your questions then be sure to contact us for more information.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
A valid EPC is required for all new or extending tenancies and should be given to new tenants before a tenancy commences. From April 2018, any residential properties being relet or let for the first time should meet a minimum rating of ‘E’ or higher, and then from April 2020 ALL let tenancies should be at the minimum rating. An EPC for lettings purposes lasts for 10 years. We can arrange EPC’s on behalf of our clients.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
Any upholstered furniture provided by a landlord for a tenancy, such as a sofa or mattress, should comply with these regulations and have a fire-safety compliant label fitted to each furniture item.
The Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998
All gas appliances should be tested before a tenancy commences and annually by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered gas engineer.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
To install a working smoke alarm on every storey of a rented property and carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance in it (e.g log burning stove)
Electrical Safety Standards In The Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
These regulations commenced on 1st June 2020, requiring all new tenancies (brand new, extended or statutory periodic) from 1st June 2020 to have a relevant safety certificate or report issued by a qualified electrician valid for up to 5 years. This can be either a Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) with 'Satisfactory' outcome or a Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) IF the EIC is for a total brand new electrical installation / rewire. An existing valid report or certificate dated within 5 years can be used until its expiry. Any EICR which shows a 'Unsatisfactory' outcome should have the required remedial repairs to bring the installation to 'Satisfactory' carried out within 28 days of the initial test and then confirmation sent to the tenant. All tenants (new and existing) should be given a copy of the valid report or certificate.
From 1st April 2021 all existing let tenancies then apply under the same terms. Further Government guidance on these regulations can be read here.
Legionnaires / Legionella Risk Assessments
Landlords who provide residential accommodation have a legal duty to ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is properly assessed and controlled under ACOP L8 (as revised 2014). Risk assessments to monitor legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems should be undertaken and then renewed periodically. This risk is typically more common in properties which have old heating systems or properties with upgraded or changed heating or shower systems / pipework where standing or stagnant water may be present. However, the risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. We advise that a ‘competent person’ (which could be you or a third party specialist) undertakes a risk assessment and we can arrange legionella risk assessments for our clients where required.
For further information regarding this please see: here
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Section 11
A Landlord must maintain and keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property including drains, gutters and external pipes and to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation including sinks, basins, baths and sanitary conveniences.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
This Act is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen tenants’ means of redress against any landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe. There are no new obligations for landlords under this Act; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety under the Landlord and Tenant Act. The new Act came in to force on 20th March 2019 and applies to all new and renewed residential tenancies from this date, and then to all existing periodic tenancies from 20th March 2020. To ensure a property does comply for human habitation, landlords should follow the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and its 29 hazards. Read further here .
Tenancy Deposit Regulation
Any tenancy deposit paid under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be protected with a tenancy deposit scheme and the relevant associated documentation issued to the tenant. We are part of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) run by The Dispute Service Ltd and hold most deposits as stakeholder under this scheme. Landlords who let properties where there is a tenancy deposit and they do not properly protect it with a deposit scheme would be unable to regain possession of the property should they need to. From 1st June 2019, tenancy deposits for any new or renewing tenancies are capped at 5 weeks rent.
Immigration Act 2014 and Right To Rent Checks
Landlords/Agents must check specific ID documents for tenants of new tenancies to ensure that the tenants/occupiers have the right to live in the UK.
We will ensure any new tenants comply with this legislation on behalf of our clients (providing we are not instructed on a property Marketing Only basis. For Managed properties, we will also check up on any time limited permission granted tenants however this will be the Landlords responsibility for Introduction Only properties).
Tenant Fees Act
This Act came into force from 1st June 2019 and applies to agents and landlords concerning maximum holding deposit amounts, tenancy deposit amounts and what fees tenants can / cant be charged before and during a tenancy (including within tenancy agreement wording)
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO): Certain property types or tenant occupancy types may cause a property to become a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This is most common in shared or student housing however a converted house into self contained separate flats can also be licensable. From October 2018, minimum bedroom sizes in HMO's were introduced too. In these circumstances, it is law for the landlord or person in control of the property to obtain a HMO Licence from the Local Authority. This can be complex and must be considered before purchasing or letting a property to these types of tenants. We understand what it and isn’t licensable, and would be delighted to offer further advice regarding HMO’s.
Selective Licensing Schemes: Rented properties located in certain areas of the Nottingham City Council catchment, Sutton in Ashfield (Ashfield District area) and Netherfield (Gedling Borough area) may require a license from the Local Authority under Selective Licensing if they are rented out. The different Local Authorities impose different scheme requirements and costs. Please contact us for further advice regarding Selective Licensing if required.
Read further here regarding the Nottingham City selective licensing scheme: here
Read further here regarding the Netherfield Nottingham selective licensing scheme: here
Read further here regarding the Ashfield District selective licensing scheme: here
Consent To Let
Landlords should gain consent to let a property from their mortgage lender, buildings insurer and, if the property is leasehold, the freeholder/management company.
Some mortgage lenders stipulate in their conditions of letting (if not a buy-to-let mortgage) that the letting should be handled by a regulated agent such as a ARLA Propertymark agent, which we are.
Tax On Rental Income
Income tax is payable on rental income irrespective of where you live. Landlords must declare this income on a Self-Assessment Tax Return each year. As HMRC assesses your income individually, properties that are jointly owned require returns to be completed by each legal owner. Deductible expenses can be off-set against the gross rental income, such as letting agents fees, insurance premiums, maintenance expenditure and some mortgage interest (subject to recent legislation change). We can recommend knowledgeable Accountants to offer advice regarding tax if required.
HMRC Non-Resident Landlords Scheme
The Non Resident Landlords Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non UK resident landlords. The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct Basic Rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If Non resident landlords don't have UK letting agents acting for them, and the rent is more than £100 per week, their tenants must deduct the tax. When working out the amount to tax, the letting agent/tenant can take off deductible expenses. Letting agents and/or tenants don't have to deduct tax if HMRC tells them not to. HMRC will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if the non-resident landlord has successfully applied for approval to receive rents with no tax deducted. However even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it still remains liable to UK tax so non resident landlords must include it in any tax return HMRC sends them.
For more information regarding this please see: here