Landlord Regulations

Know the Law

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Gas Safety

The Gas Safety (Installation and use) regulations 1998 stipulate that all properties rented out with gas appliances must be inspected annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A valid gas safety certificate must be issued each time (with a copy given to the tenants) and updated every twelve months. Non–compliance is a criminal offence with serious penalties. Where requested we will appoint a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out a Landlord Gas Safety Inspection.  If your property is managed by us we can automatically arrange for this to be carried out annually. 

Electrical Safety
Whilst it is not law to have an Electrical Safety inspection carried out prior to letting your property, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 require that all electrical equipment including wiring is safe. It may be prudent therefore to arrange for a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) or a more detailed full Electrical Inspection, to be carried out regularly and all electrical testing must be conducted by a qualified and registered engineer. Where requested, we will appoint a qualified and registered Electrician to carry out the works for you.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
On the 6th April 2012, changes to the legislation on EPCs were introduced, whereby an EPC must now be commissioned before marketing a property for rent or sale, unless there is already a valid EPC available for the property. The EPC must be made available to prospective viewers within 7 days of the property first coming on to the market. If this is still not possible however, despite making reasonable efforts, then the property owner must ensure it is available before the end of a further 21 days. Failure to produce a valid EPC on request could result in the local trading standards officer issuing a property owner with a fixed penalty of £200. Further to this from October 2015 landlords in England that failed to show prospective tenants a valid EPC would not be complying with the new Section 21 rules, and therefore would not be able to serve a valid Section 21 notice.  Landlords must serve a valid Section 21 notice to tenants if the wish to legally terminate a tenancy, making it crucial to comply with the legislation.  If you do not yet have a valid EPC, then we will arrange for an Energy Assessor to carry out an inspection of your property and issue the required Energy Performance Certificate which will last for 10 years. 

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
From 1st October 2015, landlords in England are required to:

- have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation
- have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel appliances are (e.g. a wood burning stove, coal fire)
- check that each alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins (applies to new tenancies that started on or after 1st October 2015)

Tenancy Deposit Protection
The Housing Act 2004 introduced tenancy deposit protection for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken.

There are currently 3 government approved schemes where Landlords can protect a tenant's deposit:

- Deposit Protection Service (DPS) www.depositprotection.com
- MyDeposits www.mydeposits.co.uk
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) www.tds.gb.com 

From 6th April 2012, all deposits paid under an AST must be protected within 30 calendar days of receipt by the landlord (Localism Bill 2011). 

There are some situations where deposits do not need protecting, for example:

- resident landlords 
- landlords of tenancies with rent of over £100,000 per annum 
- company lets 
- student accommodation let directly by universities or colleges
  
Following the Superstrike court case, it would be prudent for Landlords to issue Prescribed Information to tenants at every tenancy renewal, whether renewing on a Fixed Term tenancy or moving onto a Statutory Periodic. 

Right to Rent
From 1st February 2016 landlords will have the responsibility of checking the identification of everyone who is over 18 and expected to occupy their property.  Right to Rent simply means that the occupier has a right to rent a property in the UK.  People who have a right to rent will fall in to one of two groups, those with a permanent right to rent, and those with a time limited right to rent. 

Taxation of Income
When you start renting out property, you must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and you may have to pay tax.  If you don't you could be charged a penalty.  You may also have to pay National Insurance if what you do counts as running a property business.  HMRC have been increasingly their efforts in chasing down landlords who try to dodge these taxes, however remember that their are costs you can claim back to reduce your tax bill, which includes amongst other things; maintenance and repairs (but not improvements), letting agents fees, building and contents insurance.

If you need some free advice or are in any doubt at all about your legal requirements as a Landlord then please do not hesitate to contact us at Redstones Letting Agents Hale on 0161 883 1778.
                             
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