Recent Legal Changes:
Five Yearly Electrical Checks
From 1st July 2020, private landlords in England will be required to have the electrical installation in their rental properties checked by a qualified electrician to ensure that they are safe.
This means that:
- Electrical installations must be inspected and tested prior to the start of a new tenancy from 1st July 2020.
- Checks must be carried out on any existing tenancies by 1st April 2021.
- These checks must then be carried out on a five yearly basis.
A copy of the most recent electrical safety condition report (EICR) must be provided to both new and retained tenants.
The landlord is responsible for making sure that the person who completes the check is suitably competent. Using an electrician or firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognized body will give you the confidence that this has been achieved.
Bespoke Property can arrange the required Electrical tests on behalf of our Landlords.
Tenancy deposits: CAP from 1st June 2019 – The Tenant Fees Act
From the 1st of June 2019 a refundable tenancy deposit is to be capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is below £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above. You may ask a tenant to pay a tenancy deposit as security for the performance of any obligations, or the discharge of any liability arising under or in connection with the tenancy for example in case of any damage or unpaid rent or bills at the end of the tenancy. You are not legally required to take a deposit. In any case, you must not ask for a deposit which is more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000. If the annual rent is £50,000 or greater the tenancy deposit is capped six weeks’ rent. Any amount above this will be a prohibited payment.
There is no requirement to refund deposit amounts exceeding the applicable five- or six-week limit, where a Fixed Term agreement entered into before 1 June 2019 becomes a Statutory Periodic Tenancy. NB: Where a tenant renews their tenancy by signing a new Fixed Term agreement on or after 1 June 2019, any amount of their existing deposit which exceeds the applicable five- or six-week limit must be refunded.
Landlord legislation includes requirements for:
Blinds – New European regulations now apply to the installations for raising and lowering blinds and the movement of curtains across windows. This means that new blinds and curtains being installed by a contractor will have fixed cords or ball bearing pulls to prevent any danger of asphyxiation to a young child; and a warning notice with the purchasing material. Existing blinds and windows may need to be fitted with safety features to ensure compliance and to ensure safety. Throughout the agent’s period of management, it will check all blinds and curtains on a management visit and if necessary arrange for the relevant safety feature to be fitted at the landlord’s expense. If the agent is not managing the premises at any time, it will be your responsibility to make such checks and arrange the fitting of any necessary safety feature.
Landlords Legal Responsibilities Guide
All landlords have a duty of care to ensure their tenants are safe. The following guide outlines the regulations and responsibilities that you have as a landlord in order to stay compliant.
Your local Reeds Rains lettings expert can answer any questions you may have.
Gas and Electrical Safety
The law requires that all appliances are safe and strongly recommends that everything should be independently tested, on a regular basis, particularly at the point at which the property becomes available to let. We recommend only fully qualified contractors to carry out electrical and gas safety checks and will happily handle this on your behalf. Failure to comply with regulations can result in hefty fines and in some extreme cases, imprisonment.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state that all let and managed properties must be tested annually for safety. Only Gas Safe registered businesses with Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) qualified engineers are authorised to carry out work on gas appliances and piping.
Fire and Furnishings Regulations
Since 1st January 1997, all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation – houses, flats, bedsits – must meet the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998.
- The regulations apply to any of the following upholstered items:
- Beds, mattresses and headboards.
- Sofa beds, futons and any other convertibles.
- Loose and stretch covers for furniture.
- Nursery furniture.
- Scatter cushions, seat covers and pillows.
- The regulations do not apply to:
- Sleeping bags or loose covers for mattresses.
- Bedclothes – including duvets and pillowcases.
We cannot let any property containing non-compliant furniture. All items must carry a permanent label as proof that items are compliant with the regulations. If you need help, your Reeds Rains consultant will be able to advise you.
We also recommend battery operated smoke alarms are installed. (Once installed, responsibility for replacing the battery passes to the tenant.)
Energy Performance Certificate
All private residential property available for let is required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is a legal requirement for new lets and is valid for 10 years. From 1st April 2018, the property must have a minimum rating of E on its EPC. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches this requirement with a penalty of up to £4,000.
All tenants must be provided with a copy of the EPC at the start of the tenancy. Grants may be available to tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance for some of the improvements mentioned in the report.
Landlords are not under obligation to act on the EPC, but doing so may make your property more attractive to potential tenants. If you would like to instruct us on your EPC, simply call us on 01260 294 680 * and we will make the necessary arrangements.
More information is available in our EPC section, or on the Government’s EPC website – www.direct.gov.uk/EPC.
Legionella Risk Assessment
Legionella is a potentially fatal illness like pneumonia which can be caught by inhaling bacteria generated by hot and cold water heating systems including storage tanks which are not functioning properly or have been stagnant for some time. The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the control of Substances Hazardous to Health 1999 have recently changed and the Control of Legionella bacteria in Water Systems Approved Code of Practice (“ACOP L8”), now applies to domestic living. It is recommended that all landlords of residential rental properties have a Legionella Risk Assessment completed every two years to comply with the law.
Tenants over the age of 45, smokers or heavy drinkers, or those suffering from respiratory or kidney disease or immune system problems, might be considered particularly vulnerable.
If you have instructed Bespoke Property to Manage your property then we will provide a full Legionella Risk Assessment within your management package. If you are opting for the let only service then we can arrange a Legionella Risk Assessment at an additional cost.
Mandatory HMO Licences
If you own a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – a rented property with shared facilities, you may need a licence to let. The mandatory licensing criteria regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), which came into effect in all local authorities in England on 01 October 2018, includes the following:
1. Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Criteria
Any property occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households, who also share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom, regardless of the number of storeys is subject to the HMO licensing criteria.
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
married or living together – including people in same sex relationships
relatives or half-relatives, for example: grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
step parents and step children
2. Minimum room size for sleeping
National minimum room sizes for sleeping are:
- Minimum 4.64 square metres – one person under 10 years
- Minimum 6.51 square metres – one person over 10 years
- Minimum 10.22 square metres – two people over 10 years
- Any room where the ceiling height is less than 1.5 metres cannot be used towards any minimum room size
3. Waste/Refuse disposal in accordance with the relevant local authority scheme
The HMO Licensing criteria is the requirement to comply with whatever the relevant local authority’s scheme is for the storage space provided for and / or the disposal of any domestic refuse.
Please be assured the local authority cannot apply any commercial refuse collection charging as waste collection is a service routinely available to any residential property.
Right to Rent checks
The Right to Rent scheme, which helps to make sure that people renting property in the UK have a legal right to be here, was rolled out across England in February 2016.
This law means that landlords or their letting agents must carry out identity checks on every tenant before they sign a tenancy agreement. If we don’t currently handle tenant checks for you, we’d be very happy to discuss how we can help you with this.
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Where we are
Our registered trading address:
Kinraigie, Ledbury Road, Ross-On-Wye, HR9 7AU.
A small office is also based in a rural setting on the outskirts of Hereford and should you wish to visit us here – please contact for details.