If you consider your rented property to be ‘just an investment’, think again.
To the authorities, renting property is a service industry provided to consumers.
Which is why there are so many laws and regulations – to safeguard consumers’ rights and give them protection.
Some of the most important relate to the condition of the property.
As a landlord, it is in your interests to comply with these as it will make it considerably easier to enforce your rights.
Here are the main laws / regulations you need to be aware of:
1 The landlords statutory repairing obligations
These are set out in section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 and provide that it is the landlord’s obligation to keep in repair
- the structure and exterior of the property and
- the installations for the supply of
- sanitation and
- space and water heating
There is a lot of law on the interpretation of these. For example in 2011 there was a case which said that ‘structure and exterior’ includes the plasterwork.
There have also been cases which say it includes the steps leading up to the front door of a property.
2. The Gas Regulations
Gas can be a killer and not surprisingly there are regulations that provide that gas appliances need to be inspected annually.
This needs to be done by an installer regulated by the Gas Safe Register and a certificate provided which must be given to the tenant before the tenancy starts.
The landlord is responsible for any repair work not the tenant (and the landlord cannot require the tenant to do this).
3 Other health and safety regulations
These include the furniture regulations and regulations regarding the condition of things like gas cookers and plugs and sockets as well as general safety.
General safety will include things like slippy carpets, broken stair banisters and the like.
Note also that once they are in tenants can call in the Local Authority to do a Housing Health & Safety Rating Inspection which can, if they find any ‘category 1 hasards’, result in an improvement notice being served on you.
So best to make sure that there is no reason for the tenants to do this.
3. General cleanliness
There is no legal obligation specifically to rent out a property which is clean.
However just bear in mind that unless you are in a position to prove that a property was clean when it was rented out, you will not be able to insist that tenants leave a property in a clean state when they vacate.
Or claim for professional cleaning from the tenants deposit.
4. Extra requirements
Sometimes a landlord may be subject to other regulations or obligations.
For example if you are renting out an HMO you will need to comply with the HMO Management Regulations (which include extra obligations regarding electricity and fire safety).
Even if your property is not an HMO, your Local Authority may have additional obligations you need to comply with – so checking with them before renting is a good idea.
If you are a member of any accreditation scheme, they will also have additional standards you will need to comply with.