The law says that landlords are responsible to maintain and repair certain things. You should make sure you understand what your landlord is responsible for before signing a Tenancy Agreement.
General Safety Requirements
The law says all landlords must maintain their property to standards outlined in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The system covers 29 areas of potential hazards such as cold and damp, overcrowding and security.
If you are worried that there are hazards in your home which are detrimental to your health and safety you should contact Newcastle City Council on 0191 2787878.
Your landlord could be liable to pay damages to a tenant or resident for personal injury or death caused by an unsafe property.
The law says landlords need to make sure that all gas appliances in the property comply with gas safety regulations.
They need to get these checked by a Gas Safe engineer and give you a copy of the Annual Gas Safety Check Certificate.
The certificate should include the date of inspection, any defects identified and the action taken. You should keep a copy of the certificate for two years from the date of inspection.
The law says landlords must make sure all electrical equipment and electric wiring are safe throughout the tenancy.
Your landlord should give you a certificate of electrical safety that has been supplied by a member the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA). Inspections should be carried out every five years. If any alterations are made between inspections the work should be carried out by an approved contractor and must be re-inspected.
Your landlord should also give you an up to date Annual Electrical Safety Certificate for electrical items provided at the start of your tenancy. Depending on their age these may need an annual safety test.
Energy Performance Certificates
The law says that landlords must have an Energy Performance Certificate from an approved Domestic Energy Assessor for every property they advertise that explains how energy efficient the house is.
You should check the EPC when you view a house as it will help you work out how much it might cost to heat the property. Your landlord should give you a copy of the EPC at the start of your tenancy.
Minimum Energy Efficency standards
From the 1st April 2018 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally* have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The regulations affect all new and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption.
If the property you rent has a EPC rating of F or G you should as your landlord if the property is exempt and if not if they are willing to do the works recommend to bring the property to a minimum E rating. If your landlord refuses or you have more questions you should contact your local council.
*Some properties may be excluded from this legislation
Furniture and Furnishing Regulations
If a landlord supplies any furniture or furnishings the law says they must comply with fire safety regulations. It is illegal to bring any furniture into the property that does not comply with these regulations.
The law says the original manufactures safety labels must be left on furniture and furnishings to show it complies with safety regulations. If the labels are removed the furniture won’t comply even if it is made to the right specifications.
Smoke detection and Carbon monoxide detection
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require private rented properties 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.
If the property is an HMO, there are special standards that need to be taken into consideration, you should contact the Local Authority for guidance.
It is important to look after your home and keep it in a good condition. Your Tenancy Agreement should state who is responsible for maintaining which parts of your home.
The law says that your landlord is responsible for repairs to the:
- Structure and outside of the property
- Drains, gutters and pipes
- Water, gas and electricity supply installations
- Sanitary installations such as the toilet, bath and hand basin
- Fires, radiators and wall heaters
- Furniture that they provide
If the last tenant has left behind any items that you don’t want you should ask your landlord to remove these before you move in.
Once your landlord is aware that the property needs repairs they have the right to come in to carry out the repair. They should agree dates and times with you first. Unless they need to enter in an emergency the landlord should give you 24 hours’ notice in writing before carrying out inspections or repairs.