Compliance and Legislation
We are fully compliant with relevant legislation and make sure that all legal aspects of letting your property are up to date, understood and taken care of.
Gas Safety (Installation and use) Regulations.
As a landlord your property, by law, needs an annual gas safety inspection. This includes gas supply to the property and all gas appliances which must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer. We must as your agent and by law provide this certificate to your tenants and always at sign up for a new tenancy and at renewal of a tenancy. Failure to comply with these regulations carries a penalty and can lead to prosecution.
Electrical equipment and safety regulations
Landlords have a legal duty of care to ensure that electrical equipment supplied and installed is safe and maintained. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) 2020 came into force on the 1st June 2020 and applies to all properties in the private rented sector. Landlords are required to carry out an of the electrical installations in their property every 5 years and a report must be given to the tenant. This regulation has always been in place for houses that operate as an HMO (house in multiple occupation) but now extends to all properties.
The inspections will test the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket, the socket outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the fusebox. This includes permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors. The regulations do not cover electrical appliances (eg ovens, washing machines and other white goods) only the fixed electrical installations.
The report, usually an Electrical Conditioning Report or EICR, will show whether the electrical installation is safe for continues use. If the reports finds that remedial work will need to be done to bring the electrics up to the required safety standards, there is a period of 28 days by which this work must be completed and written confirmation supplied to the tenants or local authority as requested. Breaches of the regulations could result in financial penalties of up to £30,000.
The Furniture and Furnishings Safety Regulations
If your property is furnished then all soft furnishings must comply and have a visible compliance label (excluding furniture manufactured before 1950). Our inventory clerks will check and record this on the inventory before your property is let out and we will advise you prior to marketing your property.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations.
A smoke alarm must be fitted for each storey of your property where there is least one room (a bathroom or lavatory is included as a room). These must be regularly checked to ensure they are in proper working order and on the day the new tenancy starts.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms are mandatory in properties with a solid fuel appliance or flame (wood burning stove/ open fire/ gas fire). Any property that is under full management with us will be fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm regardless of whether there is a solid fuel appliance and these will be checked annually with the gas safety inspection. Failure to comply with this regulation can lead to a civil penalty of up to £5000.
Energy Performance certificate
Energy Performance Certificates are required, by law, if you are either renting or selling a property. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be made available to tenants when we advertise a property and hard copy is given to a tenant when they sign an agreement to let. It allows tenants to see how energy efficient your property is and make an assessment on their domestic energy bills. This is done on a grading system A-G with A being most energy efficient and G being least. Any property that is being rented must be an E grade efficiency or higher. If your property does not have an EPC we can organise this on your behalf before your property goes on the market to let. Failure to have an EPC on your property carries a £200 fine. To be in breach of EPC regulations for rented property carries a maximum penalty of £5000.
Right to Rent checks
From the 1st February 2016 it became mandatory for landlords or their letting agents in England to check the immigration status of all adult tenants before the start of a new tenancy to determine whether they have the right to live in the UK legally. To comply with this legislation prospective tenants have to present an original identification document to either landlord or letting agent who will retain a copy. We obtain copies of all original identification documents from tenants which are sited and certified by a member of our admin team before being sent off for referencing. Relevant dates and visas stamps are then recorded prior to a tenancy commencing and followed up at the point when a tenant renews a contract. Failure to comply with the right to rent checks is a criminal offence with unlimited fines and prosecution leading to imprisonment.
There are several categories of HMO. Some automatically require a licence and some only require a licence at the discretion of a local authority.
The simple definition of an HMO is any dwelling that is occupied by three or more people consisting of two or more households who share facilities; they occupy it as their main and principal home and rent is payable. If your property sits within Oxford City Council local authority and you are looking to rent it to three or more people who are unrelated to each other, your property will require an HMO licence.
In addition to this a new mandatory licencing criteria came into force on 1st October 2018 and applies throughout the UK. In essence this states that any property regardless of local authority it falls under will require a licence if it is rented to five or more people forming three or more households where there are shared facilities (eg kitchen / bathroom/ toilet).
We have a dedicated member of staff who can advise and assist you with any aspect of an HMO or HMO licencing and manage this on your behalf. We are fully versed with the legalities around Houses in Multiple Occupation and have trusted contractors who will carry out the relevant checks required to ensure your property is fully compliant under the licencing scheme.
For further information or to have an informal chat about any of the above legal aspects of renting your home give us a call on 01865 242 634.