Buy-to-let properties – Your legal responsibilities

Find out what your landlord responsibilities are as a buy-to-let investor and how to keep on the right side of the law.

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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.

Gas Safety

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).

Electrical Safety

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.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

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.

Smoke Alarm Regulations

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.

The Furniture and Furnishing Regulations 1988

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.

If you are thinking of renting your property and have any questions, we are very happy to help. Visit your local branch today or call 01903 213 111 to speak with one of our friendly team.

Summary

  • 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.

"Really happy with the service I receive from the lettings department. Very fast and efficient in my replies too, I never have to wait long for a response! Thank you Sue Harris and team."

Sammy Jessey

Tenant

Talk to one of our experts for friendly advice on your legal responsibilities.

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