SAFETY LEGISLATION APPLYING TO LANDLORDS
Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive and you should seek independent legal advice.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
It is a criminal offence to let the Property with upholstered furniture or soft furnishings, which cannot be proven to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Fire and Safety Regulations. The Regulations require furniture and furnishings to be match resistant, cigarette resistant and to carry a permanent label. The Regulations apply to all of these items inter alia: upholstered furniture; three-piece suites; beds and divans, including upholstered bases; padded headboards; sofa-beds; furniture with loose or fitted covers; children’s furniture; cots and other items used by a baby or a small child; cushions; high-chairs; mattresses of any size; pillows; and garden furniture which may be used indoors. By signing this Agreement, the Landlord authorises Regent to remove any item from the Property that does not have the relevant fire label attached to it proving compliance with the Regulations.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Landlord is responsible for providing instruction books for all items of electrical equipment and for ensuring that all electrical appliances within the Property comply with the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations. The Landlord must ensure that all electrical installations are safe and have these checked regularly. If Regent needs to arrange for a safety check under the Regulations, Regent will charge an administration fee as shown under its list of Additional Services, in addition to the cost of the safety check itself.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
It is a criminal offence to let a property with gas appliances, installations and pipe-work that have not been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The Landlord must provide Regent with a GSR carried out within the last twelve months. If a GSR is not sent to Regent when the Landlord returns this Agreement the Landlord gives Regent authority to arrange for the required gas safety check to be carried out. The GSR must be renewed at least every 12 months but can be completed after 10 months and will preserve the original renewal date. If Regent arranges a gas safety check there will be an administration charge at the Additional Services Rate, in addition to the cost of the safety check. Regent needs to give the Tenant documentary proof of the Landlord’s compliance with these Regulations at the start of the Tenancy and within 28 days of the GSR being renewed. If the Landlord uses their own contractor to obtain a GSR, Regent will need proof of the contractor’s Gas Safe registration. No Tenancy can begin until Regent is in receipt of a valid GSR.
Part “P” Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)
Only qualified personnel may carry out certain electrical work. To ensure compliance with the Regulations Regent will only use a competent certified person to carry out electrical work at the Property. If the Landlord wishes to use their own contractor Regent will need written proof that the designated contractor is currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme before issuing instructions to that contractor. In the absence of such proof Regent will instruct its own certified contractor where Regent is managing the Property.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
From 1st October 2015 the Landlord is required to install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in any room with a solid fuel appliance. The Building Regulations 1991 require all newly built property from June 1992 to have mains fitted smoke alarms with battery back-up. Legislation applies the same criteria to a House in Multiple Occupation. All Tenanted properties are required to have a smoke alarm on every habitable floor by law and these must be tested before the Tenancy starts, even if the Tenant does not move in on that day. If Regent, or the inventory clerk, is unable to reach an alarm to test the alarm is in working order, Regent will arrange for a contractor to visit the Property and test the alarm instead. The cost of such a visit is the responsibility of the Landlord and the charge will be deducted from the initial Rent payment. Regent advises all Landlords to consider the installation of CO alarms or detectors where there are gas appliances to protect their tenants. If the Landlord wishes, Regent to arrange the fitting of alarms at the Landlord’s expense, the Landlord must advise Regent in writing.
The Tenant has the legal right to have a water meter installed at the Property under the Water Act 2003. The Landlord cannot object. If the Tenant exercises their right to have a water meter installed, Regent will manage this process and charge the Landlord at the Additional Services Rate.
Energy Performance Certificates (“EPC”)
All properties being marketed for letting must have an EPC with a minimum rating of an E, with a copy given to the Tenant on or prior to the first viewing. The Landlord must provide Regent with an EPC when first giving instructions, as the Property cannot be marketed without an EPC. Regent can arrange for an EPC on the Landlord’s behalf and the EPC should be valid for 10 years.
The Housing Act 2004 – Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
An HMO is defined as a property that is let to three or more persons who form the Tenant (i.e. three or more sharers) and who share a kitchen or bathroom. Such properties are not subject to mandatory licensing, but the Landlord should check with the relevant Local Authority before entering into a Tenancy Agreement, as many Local Authorities require all HMO’s to be licensed. If the Property is occupied by five or more people in two or more households who share basic facilities the Property will be subject to mandatory licensing. It is the responsibility of the Landlord to apply for and obtain the relevant license and to comply with all requirements of that license before the Tenancy starts. The criteria and requirements vary; therefore, we recommend that the Landlord contact the relevant Local Authority or visit the following website: https://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/
Where a building has been converted into self-contained flats and the conversion work does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations and less than two thirds of the flats are owner-occupied, this type of building is an HMO and may need to be licensed. Again, the Landlord must check with the relevant Local Authority.
Failure to obtain a license from the relevant Local Authority may attract an unlimited fine. If a license is required, a Tenancy cannot be allowed to commence until the Landlord has obtained the requisite license.
Local Authorities may require a rented property to be licensed where there are fewer than 5 persons living in the property. Where this is the case the Landlord will need to apply for a license before renting out the property and will need to ensure all of the conditions of the license are complied with.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
With effect from the 20th March 2019 the Home (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018 will give your Tenant the right to take legal action against you for any “defects” in the property that are not addressed. Defects are anything that may be a risk of harm to the health or safety of anyone living in the property. Tenants will be able to apply directly to court to get a Landlord (or agent) to do works and / or pay compensation where defects are not addressed promptly.
Where the property is let to a family or two sharers then the Tenants must tell Landlords about internal defects, but external defects need to be identified by Landlord or their agents. If the property is let to 3 or more sharers (an HMO or House in Multiple Occupation) then Tenants do not need to tell a Landlord (or agent) about internal defects, which means Landlords and their agents need to inspect HMO properties more frequently.
Water and Bacterial Control – Legionnaires’ Disease
In order to comply with the Health and Safety Executive’s Code of Practice (www.hse.gov.uk) landlords are advised to carry out a risk assessment of their Property prior to letting, especially if there are open water tanks, cooling systems or a swimming pool. A copy of any written risk assessment must be provided to Regent upon instruction. By signing these Terms of Business, the Landlord acknowledges it is the Landlord who is responsible for the safety of the Tenant at the Property and the Landlord confirms the Landlord has considered all risks regarding Legionnaires Disease. At the Landlord’s request and expense, Regent can arrange for an independent risk assessment of the Property if needed.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulation 2008
Regent is legally obliged to ensure that all marketing information about the Property is accurate, not misleading and does not omit material information. The Landlord must verify any aspect of the Property which, Regent cannot be certain and tell Regent if the Landlord is aware of any matter that may be material to a Tenant.
Flood and Water Management Act 2010
If Regent no longer manages the Property at the end of a Tenancy, the Landlord should endeavour to obtain a forwarding address from the Tenant at the end of the Tenancy and to notify the water company accordingly in order to comply with the legislation, which makes payment of the final water account the liability of the Landlord if no such forwarding address is provided. Regent cannot be held liable if the Tenant does not provide a forwarding address or the Tenant gives an address that is not deemed to be acceptable by the water company.
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and Retaliatory Eviction
If a Tenant writes to a landlord regarding lack of condition of a property, the Landlord must reply to the Tenant within 14 days. If a tenant has complained to the Local Authority regarding any lack of condition or repair and notice has been served on a landlord to carry out certain work, then a Section 21 Notice cannot be served on the Tenant for six months. Regent has no liability in such circumstances if the Property is not managed by Regent; or if it is managed by Regent and sufficient Cleared Funds are not held to carry out any works required.
Section 46 of the Consumer Protection Act 1994
It is an offence to let a property with a cooker which is damaged in any way. Regent can assist the Landlord to replace a cooker at its normal scale of charges for repairs.