Prior to the start of a tenancy it is the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the necessary consents for letting have been granted, these include: –
Ownership: Authority to let the property should be obtained from any joint owner(s) who should be named on the Tenancy Agreement. Where any party comprises more than one person the obligations and liabilities of that party shall be joint and several.
Mortgages: Where the property is subject to a mortgage, it will normally be a condition of the mortgage that the property owner or mortgagor cannot let the property without prior permission of the Mortgage Company or lender. Most lenders are prepared to allow the mortgagor to let the property but many will ask to see a copy of the tenancy agreement and associated documentation before agreeing to the tenancy (and may charge an administration fee for these checks). Some lenders will also insist that the mortgagor pays a higher interest rate whilst the property is let. Most mortgage lenders will also require that the property is covered by an appropriate buildings insurance policy. Special clauses may have to be added to the Agreement if requested by the Lender.
Leasehold Properties: If you are a leaseholder (normally the case if the property to be let is a flat) you will normally require the consent from your Superior Landlord/Freeholder or their Managing Agent before you can sub-let the Premises to an applicant. In giving consent the Landlord or their Managing Agent will normally require you to provide references for your Tenant and for you and your Tenant to enter into an agreement to observe the covenants contained in your Lease. We will therefore need a copy of this Lease together with any schedules referred to therein so that we can attach a copy of this to our Tenancy Agreement.
Power of Attorney: A Power of Attorney is a deed, or legal agreement by which a person confers power of another to act on behalf of the person granting the power. A Power of Attorney is often granted when a person is abroad or difficult to contact, for example a Landlord living overseas for an extended period or to look after the affairs of elderly people who are, or may become, incapable of handling their own affairs. If Power of Attorney has been granted, a copy of the documentation must be supplied to Gilyard Scarth Lettings.
Insurance: The landlord is responsible for insuring the buildings and the contents, other than the contents introduced by the tenant (for which the tenant is responsible for arranging insurance). The Landlord should advise their insurance company that the property will be let to ensure continuity of cover and inform us of any specific conditions their insurer may impose such as eg the maximum length of time the property can be occupied whilst remaining insured. The Buildings Insurance policy should also cover Public Liability cover.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC):
The Energy Act 2011 includes provisions to ensure that from 1st April 2018, it is unlawful to rent out a residential property that does not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard, this is set to an ‘E’ rating currently, so with effect from 1st April 2018 privately rented properties must have a minimum EPC rating of E for new tenancies and renewals of tenancies (by April 2020 for existing tenancies). Where a property qualifies for an exemption, this must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
There are a number of regulations that govern the letting of residential property to which all Landlords must comply. The penalties for failing to do so are severe and could result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment. It is our duty, as your letting agent, to advise you of your obligations, the implications of the regulations and to assist you in ensuring you are fully compliant.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1993): Upholstered furniture in rented accommodation must meet the flammability requirements in the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Items manufactured pre-1950 are not affected and new items purchased since 1990 must carry the appropriate label. The range of items covered by the Regulations includes: beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture which is suitable for use in the dwelling, pillows, loose and stretch covers for furniture. The regulations do not apply to the following: sleeping bags, bed clothes, pillow cases, curtains and carpets. If any item does not comply then they must be removed from the property before it is let.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998: As a Landlord you are legally responsible for the safety of your tenants in relation to gas safety. The regulations state that the Landlord must maintain and repair any gas appliances, fittings, pipework and flues in a safe condition and ensure that an annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. At the commencement of any tenancy, a copy of a gas safety record must be given to the tenants before they move into the property. Annual checks are required thereafter and a new gas safety record must be given to the Tenants within 28 days of certification. You are also obliged to show your tenant how they can turn off the gas supply in the event of a gas leak.
With effect from January 2013 Gas Safety Inspections must include visual inspections of gas flues every 1.5 meters or at bends in the flue. To comply, hatches will have to be fitted to enable the engineer to inspect the flues. A gas flue takes the waste from a gas boiler to the outside. If the flue has a break in it or your boiler is not operating correctly, carbon monoxide could enter the property. You do not have a flue in a void if the boiler is fitted to an external wall and directly vented to the outside.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994: Landlords have a legally enforceable duty of care to ensure that the wiring and all appliances provided are safe, whilst it is not compulsory, we strongly advise that a Periodic Inspection Report is carried out by a qualified registered electrician. A Periodic Inspection is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify any deficiencies against the National Standard for the safety of electrical installations. The Inspection should reveal if any of your electrical circuits are overloaded, find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in the electrical installation and identify any defective electrical work and any lack of earthing or bonding that does not meet the National Standard. The electrician will score recommendations with a Code 1 to 4 with 1 and 2 being serious and urgently requiring remedial work. Many Landlord Insurance policies will only pay out on electrical appliance claims and related accidents if an Electrical Safety test has been done. We also recommend having a Portable Appliance Test which is valid for 1 to 2 years.
In January 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced that mandatory five-year electrical installation checks on private rented housing in England will be introduced in a phased approach.
Whilst the implementation date has not yet been clarified, MHCLG has stated its intention to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows, with Letting Agents and Landlords being given at least six months to familiarise with the new legislation before it comes into force.
A transitional period will apply for two years. In year one, all new private tenancies will be affected and in year two all existing tenancies will come within scope.
Smoke Detectors: With effect from October 2015, legislation was introduced making it a requirement for Landlords in England to install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all rented property. Smoke Alarms have to be installed on each floor of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. Landlords are expected to check that the smoke alarms are in working order at the start of any new tenancy and specifically states that each alarm must be tested on the day of the tenancy commencing. Regular checks can easily be carried out as an integral part of the check in and check out procedures with a note in the Inventory/Schedule of Condition that a check has been carried out. Further checks to ensure that smoke detectors are in working order should be carried out during regular property visits and recorded on management systems.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance such as a wood burner or open fire. We also advise that carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in rooms where there is a gas appliance.
Oil and Solid Fuel: Although there is no statutory obligation for a Landlord to test these forms of heating, as a duty of care to all tenants it is advisable that all installations are serviced annually by a qualified heating engineer.
Legionella:Legionnaires Disease is an illness contracted by inhaling droplets of water which are contaminated by Legionella bacteria. The bacteria are found in most water systems, but the risk is in places where the bacteria can multiply and increase to dangerous levels. The bacteria can survive low temperatures and thrive in stagnant waters with temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius. The bacteria are killed in temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius. Landlords are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to Legionella in their property is properly controlled. Control measures can include: –
A Landlord has the duty to assess the risk from exposure to the Tenant and, where a risk is identified, take appropriate steps to remove or minimise the risk. This risk assessment can be carried out by a third party, but the ultimate responsibility is the Landlord’s. Records of assessments should be kept and follow up checks need to be carried out periodically.
Asbestos: If there is asbestos in your property or outbuildings, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to inform Gilyard Scarth Lettings. We have a duty of care to contractors to inform them so that they can take the necessary precautions when carrying out any repairs at the property.
Blinds: New European regulations now apply to the installations for raising and lowering blinds and the movement of curtains across windows. This means that new blinds and curtains being installed by a contractor will have fixed cords or ball bearing pulls to prevent any danger of asphyxiation to a young child; and a warning notice with the purchasing material. Existing blinds and windows may need to be fitted with safety features to ensure compliance and to ensure safety. Throughout the Agent’s period of management, it will check all blinds and curtains on a management visit and if necessary arrange for the relevant safety feature to be fitted at the Landlord’s expense. If Gilyard Scarth Lettings are not managing the premises at any time, it will be your responsibility to make such checks and arrange the fitting of any necessary safety feature
Health and Housing Safety Rating System (HHSRS): is a housing condition rating system for residential properties which took effect on 6th April 2006. The Act states that the Landlord will be responsible for the exterior of the dwelling, the structural elements of the property and the inside facilities which are part of that property be it a flat or a house. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the Landlord must ‘keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)”. It also covers responsibility to “keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity) and to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.