New European regulations to the installation for raising and lowering blinds, and the movement of curtains, mean that any installation of blinds and curtains in a rental property must have fixed cords or ball bearings, and any existing blinds must be fitted with safety features to ensure compliance. This is to prevent the asphyxiation of young children.
All rental properties must have a landlord’s gas safety certificate on an annual basis, conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A copy of this must be provided to the tenants in accordance with the Gas Safety Regulations.
The 2004 Housing Act means that landlords must hold the deposit in a registered and protected deposit scheme. There are different schemes, each with their own benefits, and we can provide further advice on which may be the best scheme for you.
It is strongly recommended that all portable electrical items are tested regularly to ensure that they reach acceptable safety standards. Electrical Installations An electrical installation should be tested before the beginning of your first tenancy, and every 5-10 years thereafter.
EPCs present the efficiency of a property, and how many carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions the property emits. The measurements are graded on a scale of A to G, with the most efficient homes (such as new homes) being in band A. Since April 2016, regulations state that a tenant can apply for the consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties, subject to approval. Since April 2018 it is a requirement for any rented property to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations apply for new lets and renewals with effect from 1st April 2018. From 1st April 2020, it will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches this requirement, unless there is an applicable exemption, and a civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
All soft furnishings in a rental property must comply with these regulations. Any unlabelled furniture is deemed non-compliant (unless it is antique horsehair filled and has not been reupholstered), and letting a property with non-compliant furniture is a serious offence which can lead to prosecution. Most soft furnishing manufactured after March 1990 will comply, but they must have the relevant labels. If you have the receipt for the furnishings, you should be able to contact the manufacturer and purchase new labels.
Legionella is a type of bacteria growth and all hot and cold water systems are potential sources of this growth. All landlords and agents are required to protect their tenants against the risk of contracting Legionnaire’s Disease by having a Legionella Risk Assessment conducted on the property.
The Immigration Act 2014 says that since the 1st February 2016 all landlords in England must check that their new tenants have the right to be in the UK before the tenant can rent the property. If a tenant fails a Right to Rent check then, by law, you are unable to allow a tenancy to commence. For tenants who have a time-limited tight to remain, you must conduct follow up checks; normally this is twelve months from the initial check or at the expiry of the tenant’s right to be in the UK (whichever is later).
Since the 1st October, 2015 landlords have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of the property that has a room which is wholly or partly used as living accommodation. You will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where solid fuel is burnt. These alarms must be tested and working on the day a tenant moves into your property.