If you are planning to become a landlord for the first time then you need to be aware of your legal responsibilities regarding any properties that are let.
Here are your main responsibilities detailed under the various categories.
Electricity - Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Electrical supply and appliances within a property must be 'safe'.
- All electrical appliances must be checked at regular intervals for defects (e.g. frayed wiring, poorly fitted plugs). Although there is no statutory checking procedure or timescales, it is strongly recommended that an annual check is carried out by a qualified electrical engineer, records of the checks should be kept and available for inspection if required.
- Any unsafe items must be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent.
- It is advisable to fit smoke alarms to all properties and include these in the annual check to ensure they are working.
Gas - Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
- All gas appliances and associated pipework and flues should be maintained to ensure they are safe to use. An annual inspection by a qualified Gas Safe gas engineer is now a requirement by law.
- A Gas Safety Record (GSR) must be kept with the dates of inspection and any defects identified. This record must be provided to the tenant upon signing the tenancy agreement.
- A gas appliance with an open flue must not be installed in a bedroom.
- Where a gas meter is installed in a meter box the tenant should be supplied with a suitably labelled key to the box.
- After work is carried out on any appliance, a specified series of safety checks must carried out by a qualified Gas Safe gas engineer.
- Instructions on how to operate all gas appliances must be provided to the tenant.
- Any gas appliance that is known to be faulty or wrongly installed must not be used and should be repaired/repaired or removed immediately.
- All gas appliances require ventilation to work correctly and safely, so care must taken to ensure vents and air bricks are not blocked.
- Failure to comply with the safety regulations above is a criminal offence and could result in a large fine or even imprisonment.
Furnishing - Furniture and Furnishings (Fire and Safety) Regulations 1993
- All beds, mattresses, headboards, scatter cushions, pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture, children's furniture, garden furniture must carry the appropriate labels for fire compliance.
- The regulations do not apply to furniture manufactured prior to 1950, bedclothes, loose covers for mattresses, curtains, carpets, sleeping bags and cushion covers.
- Any tenant's deposits must be paid into a Government approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt.
- Failure to comply could result in a financial penalty of up to three times the amount of the deposit.
If any landlord flouts the above regulations then they leave themselves vulnerable to any, or all, of the following
- Civil damages claim by a tenant
- Potential manslaughter charges
- Invalid insurance
- Criminal record