Renting a property is never a simple affair. If you think it is all about finding a property and handing the keys over then you are severely mistaken. As a law abiding and responsible landlord you need to provide your tenants with few important pieces of information in the process as per the law. Let us explore those points in the following sections.
EPC or Energy Performance Certificate
Having an ‘up to date’ Energy Performance Certificate for your property is a must to rent it out. An EPC rates a property on energy efficiency. The rating ranges from A, which is the best to G or least efficient. Thus prospective tenants can calculate and determine the relative running cost to rent your property.
Now the question is would you get an Energy Performance Certificate? For this you have to pay for the service of an accredited assessor as the professional is eligible to carry out an EPC. Properties across England and Wales have to achieve the minimum property rating of E before those can be let out or be continued to let.
An EPC remains valid for a span of 10 years. Every new and prospective tenant must be handed over a copy of this inspection certificate.
Electrical Safety certificate
You must be aware that a new regulation came into effect since 01 June 2020 by virtue of which landlords have to get the electrical installations across their rented properties tested and inspected. The inspection has to cover the following electrical installations –
- Plug sockets
- Fuse box
- Fixed components like electrical showers and extractors
The inspection is to be done by a qualified electrician every five years. Furthermore, as the landlord it is your responsibility to share a copy of the report with all the existing tenants in your property within 28 days following the inspection. A copy of the report is also to be given to any new tenant before they move in. if the report mentions any remedial work, that has to be completed within 28 days. A written confirmation of completion of the remedial work is to be requested from the concerned electrician by the landlord. A copy of that confirmation is to be provided to the tenants within 28 days following completion of the remedial work.
Portable electric appliances like fridges, TV sets and cookers are not covered by the regulation. Yet it is a good habit for landlords to carry out a PAT or portable appliance testing on every electrical appliance that is provided to tenants.
Gas safety certificate
A safety check has to be conducted annually on every gas appliance and flu in your property. The check has to be performed by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. The check can be made any time between the tenth and the twelfth month following the previous check. If the check is done beyond the time mentioned above, the new deadline will be set which is also 12 months from the date of the last check. Within 28 days following the gas safety check you have to share a copy of the record with every existing tenant. As far as new tenants are concerned, they must get a copy of it at the start of their tenancy. To be on the safer side you should retain these copies or records for at least two years. Although it is better to retain the records till two further checks down the timeline.
Risk assessment of Legionnaries bacterial disease
Legionella bacteria cause the Legionnaries disease which is a version of pneumonia. The harmful bacteria lives in water storage tanks and water systems of residential properties where water is stored typically between 20 and 45 degrees Centigrade. It is the landlord’s responsibility to assess the risk of the Legionella bacteria inside a rented property. A simple test may prove there is no such risk and hence no corrective measures are to be taken. The Legionella risk is slightly higher if –
- The cold water is not stored in water tanks and directly comes from the mains.
- Low volume water heaters are used that store water at a temperature above 50 degrees Centigrade.
- The hot water is directly sourced from instantaneous heaters like electric showers and combi boilers.
You can run the Legionella risk assessment for your rented property yourself if you do not want to hire a professional agency for this service. In that case you have to create (or can download one online) a template, complete it and share a copy with the tenants.
Risk assessment on fire safety
As per law, landlords must have a smoke alarm installed on every floor of a rented property. Moreover there also has to be a carbon monoxide alarm in every room that stores a solid fuel burning appliance, like a stove that burns on wood or an open fire. Furthermore it is also the landlord’s responsibility to make sure the alarms are in fine working condition at the beginning of every new tenancy. As a smart move you should better retain the records and evidences of such checks to reassure tenants as well as to protect yourself.
For Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMOs there are enhanced rules on fire safety. Landlords of HMOs can conduct the fire risk assessment themselves as well as can hire third-party agencies for the job. But according to the Regulatory Reform Order 2005, it is mandatory to carry out a fire risk assessment in common areas of multi occupied residential buildings. This ensures necessary precautions and procedures are in place to protect the people living in the property in case of a fire. The responsibility of conducting the assessment lies with the owner or the person who manages the property.
Paperwork for deposit protection
Licensed electricians in London providing electrical safety certificates for rented properties have some suggestions in this context. According to them, landlords must place a tenant’s deposit in a TDP or tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days from receiving it. Then share the following information with the relevant tenant –
- The deposited amount
- The property address
- The name, address and contact details of both the landlord and the tenant who contributed to the deposit
- Details about the tenancy deposit scheme in which the deposit is held
For properties across England and Wales you may use any of the following schemes – MyDeposits, Deposit Protection Service and Tenancy Deposit Scheme.