Legal Requirements For Landlords
Tenants Deposit Protection
A deposit against dilapidations on the property is collected from the tenant at the start of the tenancy and registered by the agent as stakeholder through out the tenancy. The deposit is equivalent to one months rent plus 20% for an unfurnished property, one months rent plus 50% for a furnished.
Since April 2007 virtually all new tenancies must be registered with one of 3 deposit schemes within 30 days of receipt of deposit. Failure to comply will affect your ability to remove your tenants with a Section 21 notice, and could result in you having to pay substantial compensation to your tenants. The scheme also includes a dispute resolution service.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s)
October 2007 saw the introduction of EPC’s.
This is an extension of the HIP scheme introduced for house sales. All properties that are on the market to let must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which must be available for inspection by prospective tenants. Once an EPC has been obtained it will be valid for 10 years. Charles Harding employs its own qualified Energy Assessor.
Gas Safety Testing
All gas appliances must be services and tested every year. These regulations have been in force since 1994. Charles Harding can arrange this on your behalf via a qualified GAS SAFE Engineer.
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 place a statutory duty on all landlords of residential property to ensure that all gas appliances, pipe work and flues are maintained in a safe condition. They particularly seek to avoid the escape of carbon monoxide poison which is silent, odourless and deadly and require that:
All let properties must have at all times a valid Gas Safety Record.
Before a tenant takes occupation, the gas appliances and pipe work must be checked by a GAS SAFE registered engineer who must provide the landlord with a Gas Safety Record (the landlord must provide the tenant(s) with a copy of that safety record at the start of the tenancy).
A gas safety check must be carried out annually
Fire & Furnishings (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993
All upholstered furniture and furnishings
(i.e. mattresses scatter cushions, loose fittings
and permanent and loose covers but not carpets and curtains) manufactured after 1950 are required to be fire resistant. This means that furniture, which can be shown to be manufactured before 1950, is exempt because dangerous materials were not used in the manufacture of furniture prior to this date.
This law applies to all let properties.
The law relating to the manufacture of furniture is quite clear. All materials used must meet the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Amended) Regulations 1993. The manufacturer must carry out various tests to ensure their compliance. These are destructive and therefore cannot be carried out after the furniture is made up for sale.
Manufacturers are required to affix permanent labels on to their products such that the removal would cause damage to either the label or the product. Furniture suppliers of either new or second hand furniture must ensure that any item they sell carries the correct label and each item (e.g. 3 piece suites) carries the relevant label.
Taxation of Income from Land (Non –Residents) – Regulations 1995
Any landlord who is considered non-resident for taxation purposes is liable to pay tax on the rental income arising from letting his or her property.
When a landlord is resident abroad and the agent is collecting rent from the tenant from the tenant on his or her behalf, the agent is obliged to deduct tax at the basic rate (less allowable deductions) and each quarter to account for and pay to the Inland Revenue this tax deducted. However, overseas landlords may apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption from this requirement.
Where a tenant pays rent direct to a landlord who is resident abroad, the liability to deduct income tax as outlined above remains the same, except that becomes the responsibility of the tenant. Non-resident status includes those living in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland.
The Building Regulations - Smoke Alarms
The smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarm (Elngland) Regulations 2015 have been approved by parliament and will come into force as planned on the 1st of October 2015. Private sector landlords are required from the 1st October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that the Landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.