Preparing your property to let – the legal essentials. Our experienced lettings team will provide the latest information and guidance to ensure you meet all your legal obligations as a Landlord.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE
All properties for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before any marketing or viewings can take place. An EPC rates energy efficiency and its environmental impact and is valid for ten years for rental properties.
A copy of the EPC must be made available to tenants before entering into a tenancy agreement. Legally you cannot rent your property if the EPC rating is below E, energy efficiency improvements will need to be made. If you do not have an EPC for your property, Rubex Lettings can arrange this for you.
• Gas Safety
Gas Safety Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords have a legal obligation to make sure all gas pipework, appliances, fittings and flues are safe to use and maintained in a safe condition. Every gas appliance and flue must be tested for gas safety every 12 months.
A Gas Safety record must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days of the annual safety check, or to new tenants before they move in, and you must keep copies yourself for two years. All installation, maintenance and safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We can arrange this for you.
• Furniture and Furnishings
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 Upholstered furniture and soft furnishings supplied in a rented property must comply with current regulations. This includes, but is not limited to, bed frames, mattresses, headboards, sofabeds, pillows, cushions, seat pads and any garden furniture that may be used indoors.
Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. All non-compliant items must be removed before a tenant moves in. Bedding, carpets, curtains and any furniture made before 1950 are exempt.
• Electrical Safety
Landlords are required to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition. Although not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that you have the property inspected and tested by a registered electrician every five years and arrange Portable Appliance Testing (PAT test) once a year to ensure.
• Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
If you own a property and rent it out, your local council may decide to do an HHSRS inspection. Inspectors look at 29 health and safety areas.
• Smoke Detection
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors New regulations introduced in October 2015 require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their rental property and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.
Landlords are required by law to take out buildings insurance for rental properties. We advise our clients to also consider contents insurance and policies to cover rent guarantee and legal expenses.
Consent To Let
If your property is mortgaged, you must obtain written consent to let from your mortgage lender. If it is leasehold, your lease may require written consent from your landlord before you can sub-let.
You should provide at least one set of keys for each tenant. Where we will be managing the property for you, we will also require a full set which will be coded for security purposes. We can arrange to have duplicates cut.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
If your property is let to at least three tenants, who share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities but are not from one household or family – sometimes called a ‘house share’ – it is a House in Multiple Occupation’ (HMO). Depending on the size of the property, the number of tenants and the area, you are likely to need an HMO licence from your local council plus an HHSRS inspection.
Inventory / Schedule of Condition
All of the inventories produced for Rubex Lettings clients contain a full written description of the property, its contents and schedule of condition inside and out including the walls, flooring and all fixtures, fittings and furnishings provided with photographic evidence. This provides a crucial legal reference in case of any discrepancy or claim against a tenant’s deposit at the end of a tenancy.
This is a legally binding agreement, setting out the rights and obligations of both Landlord and Tenant. Most residential property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for an initial fixed term of 6 or 12 months. We can advise on all options available to help you make an informed decision on areas of responsibility, conditions of tenancy, how and when the rent will be reviewed and notice terms. We will prepare all the paperwork and draw up a comprehensive legal document for signing.
A deposit is paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy to safeguard against damage. Since April 2007, all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be registered with a government-backed tenancy deposit protection (DPS) scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.
Self-managing landlords need to register the deposit with a DPS scheme. Failure to do so will result in significant penalties and difficulties in issuing a section 21 to end the tenancy agreement.
We normally collect a deposit from the tenant which is equal to six week’s rent.
We will register deposits on your behalf and liaise with their dispute service should the need arise at the end of a tenancy. We will also provide your tenant with the name and contact details of the DPS scheme and its dispute resolution service, which is a legal requirement.