The Legal Responsibilities of Private Landlords
10th February 2017
As legislation continues to change, it is vital that Landlords have the correct legal advice to ensure that they keep on top of their legal responsibilities to their Tenants.
This can be a complicated area with a lot of information for a Landlord to take in and there are potentially significant fines and penalties for non-compliance. However, rest assured, Aston Brooke Solicitors are here to help.
For the ease of all Landlords out there, we have briefly outlined the 10 main legal obligations required below:
1. Gas Certificate:
The Tenant must be given a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) provided by a Gas Safety Registered engineer. The Landlord has a duty to renew this every 12 months.
2. Electrical Certificate:
The Landlord must ensure that the electrical equipment is safe and this can be proved by getting an electrical installation condition report (or EICR Certificate).
3. Energy Performance Certificate:
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is rented, and must be obtained before it is marketed. An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money. They are valid for 10 years. A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate should be given to the Tenant.
4. Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety:
Properties on rent must have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm installed on every floor that is being lived in by a Tenant.
5. Income Tax:
Landlords must remember to pay income tax on all rent profits.
6. Tenancy Deposit:
All Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that they place any deposit for a new tenancy starting after 6 April 2007 in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of its initial receipt (For example, this would be the date a cheque is received rather than when the funds clear).
More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview
7. Prescribed Information:
Various details must also be provided to the tenant within 30 days of the tenancy including:
- the address of the rented property in the TDP scheme
- how much deposit has been paid
- how the deposit is protected
- the name and contact details of the TDP scheme and its dispute resolution service
- the landlord’s (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
- the name and contact details of any third party that has paid the deposit
- why a landlord would keep some or all of the deposit
- how the tenant should apply to get the deposit back
- what to do if the tenant cannot get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
- what to do if there is a dispute over the deposit
This list is also available at: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/information-landlords-must-give-tenants
8. House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence:
If a Landlords property is a house in multiple occupation (e.g. a shared house or flat) they will need to check with the local council to confirm whether a licence is required. It is always advisable to check the local council’s definition of a house in multiple occupation, as the requirements for a licence can differ between councils.
9. Tenant’s Immigration Status:
Landlords have a responsibility to check the Tenant’s immigration status to ensure that they have the right to take tenancy. As a landlord, you must check original documents for both your tenant and any other adults living with them, to make sure they have the right to be in the UK. You must also make copies of these documents and keep them until they leave the property and return their original documents once you have finished the check.
More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents/how-to-check
10. How to Rent Guide:
All landlords must also provide their tenants with a copy of the How to Rent Guide available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
Landlords are constantly reminded to keep on top of legislation to ensure that they are not in breach. The above is a summary only, and other legal obligations can apply depending on the property, local authority and of course, the tenancy agreement.
Aston Brooke Solicitors are instructed by a large number of private and independent landlords to manage their tenancies and legal obligations, as well as house in multiple occupation (HMO) licences, rent deposits and landlord and tenant disputes.
If you wish to discuss any of the items above or feel that you require legal advice, you are encouraged to contact Aston Brooke Solicitors for a free, no-obligation, initial consultation.
Luckjit Kaur Sidhu is a Solicitor in the Property and Litigation Department at Aston Brooke Solicitors Please do not hesitate to contact Luckjit Kaur Sidhu on 020 3475 4321 for any queries that you may have in relation to any Landlord and Tenant matters.
This article does not present a detailed statement of the Law and does not constitute as legal advice. This is a summary only and legal advice should always be sought on an individual case basis.
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