Being an owner of rental properties brings with it certain legal responsibilities that must be adhered to. Landlords are bound by regulations that cover the rental sector which are aimed at making sure that both parties in any rental agreement have clearly defined rights and duties.
The law states that a landlord offering a property for rent must maintain the property and undertake any major repairs as and when they might be needed.
This includes work to the structure and exterior as well as the electrical, heating, hot water and sanitary conditions of the interior.
There are also rules covering various health and safety areas and landlords are expected to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their property in order to accommodate disabled tenants.
A landlord must give a tenant a notice period of at least 24 hours when access is needed to undertake any work and the visit must be at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and immediate access is needed.
As well as structural repairs, a landlord must provide good quality basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including all pipes and drains involved in the plumbing system. Heating/hot water, gas appliances, all associated pipes, flues, ventilation and electrical wiring also falls under the landlord’s remit for good maintenance and repair.
If repairs aren’t carried out a tenant can call on the local council’s environmental health department for help and legal action can be taken against landlords if the property contains health and safety hazards.
However, the tenant is expected to take good care of the property and to repair or pay for any damage that they might cause.
Property Expert Michael Liggan advised “A landlord is obliged by law to keep rental property safe and free from health hazards.”
This covers several main areas in detail, the first being gas safety. All gas equipment such as central heating and hot water boilers must be safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe-registered engineer and a registered engineer must be employed to carry out a gas safety check on each appliance and flue annually. A tenant must also be supplied with a copy of the gas safety check record before they move in or within 28 days of the check itself. The Gas Safe register replaced CORGI as the official UK gas registration body in 2009.
The domestic electrical system, including all wiring, sockets and light fittings are covered by ‘The Electrical Equipment and Safety Regulations’. Any supplied appliances such as cookers or washing machines must be safe to operate and operating instructions and safety notices should be supplied before a letting commences. Tenants also have the right to see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.
Fire safety regulations need to be followed and a landlord must ensure any furniture and other furnishings they supply are fire safe and comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations 1988.
Also, depending on the size of the property, fire alarms and extinguishers may need to be installed and maintained.
There are other rules covering Houses in Multiple Occupation, which involve requiring the property to meet certain extra fire and electrical safety standards and which also set a limit to the number of people who can occupy a property. These regulations vary according to each different council and the local housing department can provide more details.
Michael has a passion for real estate and is used to working hands on at all levels to ensure that projects run to schedule and produce the returns that his investors expect. Find out more about Michael Liggan by viwing his social profiles twitter, facebook, linkedin and Google Plus.