Landlord Legal & Safety Advice

Ensuring your property is safe

Property

There is various legislation in place relating to safety in rented properties, and Landlords have a duty of care to ensure the home they are renting meets current legislation and safety regulations, and their tenants have a safe environment in which to live. Failure to observe these regulations could lead to a fine, a claim for damages by an injured party, prosecution or worst case a prison sentence.

Marriotts take safety very seriously and we strive to uphold the best possible standards for landlords and tenants, our experienced and knowledgeable team will guide you through the necessary requirements, please contact us for free help and advice.

A guide to legal & safety requirements when letting your property

EPC

The Energy Performance of Building Regulations 2007.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G and is valid for 10 years. The EPC must be available to any prospective tenant and a copy provided to the tenant when they sign the tenancy agreement.

Gas safety

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for the safety of your tenants in relation to gas safety. By law you must:-

  • Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition
  • Ensure an annual gas safety check is carried out on each appliance and flue
  • Keep a record of each safety check and provide a copy to the tenant

Electrical safety

There are a number of areas of legislation which relate to electrical safety, including the supply and maintenance of electrical equipment and household appliances, along with the cables, plugs and sockets which connect them.

The Landlord has an obligation to ensure that any electrical item in the property, including the mains supply to the property, is 'safe', and whilst there is no specific requirement placed on the Landlord to prove that such items are regularly checked, Marriotts strongly recommend that Landlords have the fixed wiring in the property checked every 5 years, and any portable electrical appliance checked annually by a qualified electrician and a written record be provided.

Electrical safety is of paramount importance in preventing accidental injury to any occupant of your property, and fire prevention.

Furniture and furnishings

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations were introduced in 1988, and subsequently amended in 1993 setting levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. Any furniture supplied as part of new letting after March 1993 must comply with the regulations and it is an offence to supply any item that does not comply.

The regulations apply to sofas, arm chairs, cushions, seats pads, pillows, bean bags, futons, furniture covers, mattresses, bed heads, nursery furniture and garden furniture that could be used indoors.

Most items manufactured after 1990 are likely to comply, and a visible label should be present. If items do not comply they should be removed from the property before it is let.

Further guidance is available from www.opsi.gov.uk.

Smoke alarms & carbon monoxide alarms

All new homes built after 1992 must be fitted with mains operated smoke alarms on each floor of the building, and as of 1st October 2015 landlords are required to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their property, these can be battery operated or mains wired.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be provided in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). However, as gas appliances can emit carbon monoxide, Marriotts strongly encourage landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with gas appliances.

These alarms must be tested at the commencement of every tenancy. For more information: 'Gas safety - landlords and letting agents'.

Consent to let

If you have a mortgage on the property you are renting you should obtain consent from your lender.

If your property is leasehold you may also require consent from your landlord prior to sub-letting.

Legionella

Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella, and water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow.

Landlords are responsible for the assessment, prevention and control of the risk from bacteria, like Legionella, in their property and you should understand how to:-

  • Identifying and assess any risk in the property
  • Manage the risk and take precautions to reduce the risk
  • Prevent and control the risk
  • Keep and maintain records

Marriotts advise you carry out a risk assessment of your property if you are competent to do so. If you do not feel you are able to undertake this yourself, we can arrange for an assessor to complete this on your behalf.

For more information: 'Legionnaires - What you must do' and 'Legionella and landlords' responsibilities'.

Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation require a higher level of safety and we advise you check the current requirements with the local authority requiring a license.

Insurance

In most cases standard homeowner building insurance policies are invalid if the property is rented out and we recommend you take out a specialist landlord building policy.

You may also want to consider a rent and legal expenses policy that will pay the rent should your tenant default and stop paying and to cover the expenses should the need to evict your tenant occur.

We are able to obtain specialist insurance quote for buildings or rent guarantee insurance. Please ask us for more details, or click here.

Deposit protection

Since 6 April 2007 it has been a legal requirement for landlords letting their property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement to protect any monetary deposit they take from a tenant in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.

Failure to do this can have an impact on being able to evict the tenant should the need arise and could also result in a court instructing the deposit be paid back to the tenant and a fine to the landlord of up to 3 times the deposit.

Marriotts will collect the deposit from the tenant when they move into your property and protect it in either the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) or Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), dependent on the service we provide for you.

For more information: 'Tenancy Deposit protection'.

Tax on rental income

All rental income arising from property in the UK is taxable, tax is payable on the profit generated by the letting of your property.

You should declare your rental income to HM Revenue & Custom (HMRC) by way of a self-assessment tax return.

There are certain deductible allowances that can be offset against your tax liability, some being:

  • Mortgage Interest
  • Letting agents fees
  • Insurance, ground rent and service/maintenance charges
  • Legal and accounting costs
  • Cost of repairs, redecoration and maintenance whilst the property is let
  • Wear and tear on furnished properties

Marriotts can be asked to provide HM Revenue & Customs with details of the income received by any landlord for whom we act.

Overseas landlords

If you live outside of the UK you are liable to pay tax on rent received in the UK. Marriotts are obliged by law to deduct tax at source from rent received on your behalf and pay this to HMRC, unless we receive authorisation from them to pay the income to you without deduction.

If you are going to be living outside of the UK whilst your property is let you should fill in the appropriate form, NRL1 (for individuals) NRL2 (for companies) and send it to HMRC. We can supply you with a copy of either form on request, or you can download it and seek further details from www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad/rent.

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