You need to make sure your house is in good condition before renting it to a tenant.  This can take some time and effort but both you and your tenant will benefit.

Picture of lock and professional standards

What am I responsible for?

You need to make sure your property is safe before your tenant can move in.  There are laws and regulations to help you get things right that you must comply with.  If you fail to meet your legal obligations your tenant could claim damages or you may even be charged with a criminal offence.

When you’re landlord you are responsible for:

  • Making sure your property is fit for human habitation;
  • Maintaining your rented property to an acceptable standard inside and out;
  • Meeting health and safety regulations that apply to the building, the occupant and the visitors;
  • Securing permission from your mortgage lender before renting the property especially if the house wasn’t purchased as a buy-to-let;
  • Carrying out regular risk assessments and making necessary repairs; and
  • Finding out whether you need a license before you can rent your property.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

Newcastle City Council uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess housing conditions.  This is a legal standard based on the principle that “Any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor.”

HHSRS applies to all residential dwellings and we are required to review the conditions of privately owned property.  We must inspect properties if there is a reason to think there may be health and safety hazards.

Gas Safety Regulations

The law says you need to make sure that all gas appliances in the property comply with gas safety regulations.

You need to get these checked by a Gas Safe engineer who will give you a Certificated Annual Gas Safety Check.  You should give a copy of the certificate to your tenant.

Electrical Safety Regulations

The law says you need to make sure all fuses, electrical equipment and electric wiring comply with electrical safety regulations.

You need to get these checked by a qualified electrician who will provide you with an Annual Electrical Safety Certificate.  You should give a copy of the certificate to your tenant.

Furniture Safety Regulations

The law says you must leave the original manufactures safety labels on furniture and furnishings you provide to show that they comply with safety regulations.  The furniture won’t comply if you remove the labels even if it is made to the right specifications.

Energy Performance

The law says every rental property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to explain how efficient the building is.  Most private rented properties should have a rating of E or above.  If your property has an F or G rating you will need to either apply for an exemption or carry out the work to bring the property up to standard.

An approved Domestic Energy Assessor will check your property and give you an EPC.  You should include this information when you advertise the property and give a copy of the certificate to your tenant.

Smoke detection and Carbon monoxide detection

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require private rented sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have:

  • At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation.

and

  • A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used - after that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1 October 2015. After that the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms.

If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the landlord.