Legal Responsibilities

Home PageLandlordsLegal Responsibilities

The following responsibilities are legal requirements and must be adhered to. Fines, prosecution or banning orders could be an extremely unpleasant result for Landlords failing to be compliant. If Landlords have employed our managed services, we ensure that all legal responsibilities are stringently met at the beginning and throughout the entire tenancy.

As a landlord it is your duty to keep the property you rent safe and free from health hazards as well as ensuring you are compliant to all other government required legislation. We have listed all landlord responsibilities below.

Gas safety

Landlords (or letting agent) must:

  • make sure gas equipment they supply is safely installed and maintained by Gas Safe registered engineer
  • have a registered engineer do an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
  • give tenants a copy of the gas safety check record before a they move in, or within 28 days of the check

Electrical safety

Landlords (or letting agent) must make sure:

  • the electrical system is safe, for example sockets and light fittings
  • all appliances you supply are safe, for example cookers and kettles

Fire safety

Landlords (or letting agent) must:

  • follow safety regulations
  • provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (for example a coal fire or wood burning stove)
  • check tenants have access to escape routes at all times
  • make sure any furniture and furnishings supplied are fire safe
  • provide fire alarms and extinguishers if the property is a large house in multiple occupation (HMO)

Smoke Alarm Testing

It is now a legal requirement to test all smoke alarms on the day of move in and evidence of this must be recorded.

Document checks

Landlords must gain proof that tenants have a right to rent property in England. There are specific required legal documents which must be checked and copied in the correct manner.

Landlords (or letting agent) must:

  • check your original documents to make sure you have the right to rent a property in England
  • check the documents of any other adults living in the property
  • make copies of your documents and keep them until you leave the property
  • return your original documents to you once they’ve finished the check

Landlords and Letting agents must not discriminate against prospective tenants for example because of nationality. If tenants cannot prove their right to rent by providing the acceptable documents, they will not be able to let the property.

Document Repeat checks

Landlords will have to make a repeat check if there’s a time limit on tenant’s rights to stay in the UK.

Landlords must ask to see the tenant’s documents again just before their permission to stay runs out, or after 12 months, whichever is longer.

Repairs

Landlords (or letting agents) are always responsible for repairs to:

  • the property’s structure and exterior
  • basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
  • heating and hot water
  • gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
  • electrical wiring
  • any damage they cause by attempting repairs

Deposits

Landlords (or letting agents) must register and pay tenants deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme and the prescribed information regarding the deposit must be given to the tenant within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

Deposit disputes

Landlords (or letting agent) must negotiate with the tenants any problems arisen after tenants have checked out of the property. If this cannot be amicably resolved, landlords (or letting agent) must prepare a case for dispute and put it forward to the relevant deposit protection scheme.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Landlords (or letting agents) must ensure there is a valid energy performance certificate in place for most the property. A copy of the certificate must be given to any tenant who moves in. In addition, landlords of properties with an EPC rating of F or under will not be able to rent out their properties.

Licensing

Any property may require a licence and landlords should check with their local authority or via the RLA's local authority network to see if they need selective, additional or mandatory licensing.

Data protection 

Landlords must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. In practice this means they must register with the Information Commisioner’s Office and prepare a privacy notice outlining why they are entitled to use the personal information of any tenants, guarantors, referees, etc.

How to Rent Guide

Landlords (or letting agent) are now required to provide the most up to date copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England

Prescribed information

Landlords are required to provide the tenants with the prescribed information for the deposit scheme they are using on the day of move in.

Illegal eviction/harassment

Landlords and letting agents must allow the tenant ‘Quiet Enjoyment’  of then property. This means that access is only permitted if prior consent from the tenant has been given and you have requested access with reasonable notice. It is unlawful to evict a tenant without a Court Order. You cannot evict a tenant because he is in arrears with his rent or breaking the terms of his tenancy. It is essential that you serve the correct notices to leave. You may also have to go to Court to get a possession order.  

Paying Your Taxes

Landlords are legally obliged to report their rental income to HMRC. Not declaring this income can lead to hefty fines as well as imprisonment.

If you own and rent out a property in the UK but live abroad, you will still need to declare rental income and pay any subsequent tax unless you have an exemption certificate.

Many of your expenses as a landlord are tax deductible, which will reduce the final amount of income tax you need to pay on your rental income.

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