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.
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.”
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
New regulations came into force on the 1st June with regards to electrical safety standards in the private rented sector. These rules apply to all new tenancies started on or after 1st July 2020 and any tenancy renewals on or after 1st April 2021*.
These Regulations require private landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every five years. Landlords will have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and if requested provide a copy to the Local Authority. Breaches of the regulations could result in landlords facing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
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.
All private rented properties should have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which tells tenants how energy efficient a property is. You should have copy of this document ready and able to view while advertising the property.
For new tenancies, or tenancy renewals, that start after the 1st April 2018 the minimum EPC rating should be E or above*.
Properties with a rating below E should either not be rented out or the landlord must apply for and be granted an exemption before renting. From April 2020 all tenancy must meet these standards.
*Unless the property is exempt.
Smoke detection and Carbon monoxide detection
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 that is used as living accommodation; and
- A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.
Landlords must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. After they move in tenants should test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Monthly testing is usually appropriate for smoke alarms.
If tenants find an alarm is not working they should speak to the landlord to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm.
Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow.
All private landlords have a responsibility to ensure a property is safe and this includes a duty of care to the tenants with regards to legionella and the risk of contracting Legionnaires disease. Houses and flats are typically ‘low risk’ but a landlord should still have regard and carry out a simple assessment between tenancies.
For more information about Legionella and landlords requirements go to www.hse.gov.uk