Understanding your legal responsibilities
Becoming a buy-to-let landlord comes with important legal responsibilities towards your tenants. Get these obligations right from the beginning of your investment journey and you’ll have built a strong foundation that’ll help you overcome any unforeseen issues and make it easier to adapt to future landlord rules.
A valid Gas Safety certificate needs to be in place before the start date of any new tenancy and must be renewed annually. We can arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to produce a Gas Safety certificate for £90 (inc. VAT) or a Gas Safety certificate and a service for just £108 (inc. VAT).
It is now mandatory for all tenanted properties to have a valid and “satisfactory” Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in place. The certificate lasts for five years and must be completed by a qualified electrician.
We can instruct an electrician to provide an EICR for £180 (inc. VAT). Please bear in mind that any category 1 or 2 faults identified on the report, must be address before letting the property.
As of 2020, all properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of an E or above. New tenancies and existing lets must also meet this requirement. The EPCs need to be renewed every ten years. If your property’s rating is below E, you would need to make efficiency improvements to boost the rating before it is re-let.
Regulations introduced on 1st October 2015, require you to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your rental property which is used as living accommodation. Where there is a solid fuel burner (such as log burner or fireplace), a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted.
When letting a property that is part or fully furnished, you need to ensure that the furniture that is left in a property complies with The Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1988. The regulations were introduced to ensure that manufacturers did not use certain types of foam/padding when filling soft furnishings as certain materials create toxic smoke if set on fire and result in a higher death rate than other materials when breathed in.
The regulations state that certain items, such as armchairs, sofas, beds, mattresses, pillows, and scatter cushions must have a fire label on them to show that they meet specific safety tests. They also prevent the resale of items that do not comply. Excluded items include duvets, mattress covers, pillowcases, sleeping bags, carpets, curtains, and furniture manufactured before 1950.
Failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence that can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. If you are unsure whether an item of furniture must have a safety label, but one is not present, then it should be removed from a property before it is let.
- A valid Gas Safety certificate needs to be in place before the start date of any new tenancy.
- You must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in place.
- It is a requirement that landlords and letting agents protect deposits.
- All properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of an E or above.
- At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your rental property.
- A furnished property must complies with The Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1988.
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