Things you need to know

There’s more to being a landlord than handing over the keys and collecting the rent. A detailed set of legal obligations applies to every rental property. At best, it takes time and effort; at worst there could be serious consequences for failing to meet standards.

Many private landlords are happy to manage their legal responsibilities and have done so successfully for years. Others lack the time or expertise needed. For those landlords we can offer a fully managed service.

If you’re a new landlord, or thinking about taking on a buy to let property, here are some (but not all) of the things you need to consider.

Fire Safety

Soft furnishings must meet the standards set out in The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993. This includes beds, headboards, mattresses, pillows, chairs, sofas, sofa beds, cushions, futons as well as conservatory and garden furnishings. The only way to be certain of compliance is to check the manufacturers’ tags.

Many landlords prefer to let unfurnished properties due to the difficulties and risk of meeting these regulations.

Gas Safety

Private landlords are legally responsible for all gas pipework, flues and appliances meeting the required standards under the The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Annual inspections must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered technician.

Tenants should be issued with a safety certificate as soon as they move in, or less then 28 days after the renewal inspection if they’re already living at the property.

We’re required to keep a current certificate for properties we’re managing, so we insist on arranging inspections and certification.

Electrical Safety

Landlords are required to make sure all plugs, sockets, wiring, electrical supply and appliances are safe and meet statutory standards. This is detailed in the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations, 1994.

There’s currently no legal obligation for landlords to carry out annual safety checks, but you do have to be able to demonstrate the property’s safe under the broader Consumer Protection Act 1987.

We’d recommend testing at least once ever five years, subject to any changes in legislation and can arrange this if you require.

Energy Performance Certificate

All tenants in England and Wales must be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate for their rented property. The certificate shows how energy efficient a home is, rated from A as very good, to G as very bad.

The better the rating, the less energy needed to live there. Most UK homes are rated D or E.

The certificate, which is valid for ten years, also gives information on how to improve a property’s efficiency, and so cut tenants’ energy bills.