Landlord News

6 Landlord Responsibilities to Their Tenants – Required By The Law

Emily Morley - June 11, 2019

Tips from a property professional

Renting a property comes with its benefits, such as not having to deal with any refurbishment and repair issues, which are down to the landlord. If a pipe bursts or any device stops working, a renter only needs to make a call to the property owner to fix the problem.

But the landlord’s responsibilities don’t stop here. Below, we are going to discuss the common landlord property obligations that are required by the law:

  • Obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property;
  • Protect the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme;
  • Keep the rented properties safe and free from health hazard;
  • Make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safe;
  • Inspect if the tenants have the right to rent in England;
  • Give the tenant a copy of the ‘How to rent’ checklist at the start of the tenancy;

Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property

A landlord is obligated to provide EPC to buyers and tenants before they market their property, be it to sell or rent.

EPC contains:

  • Recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption and save money;
  • Information about typical energy costs of the property.

From 1st of April 2018, properties rented out in the private sector are required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

It is illegal to rent a property, which does not meet the minimum requirements of an E rating. A fine of up to £4,000 can be charged in case of violation of the rule.

This means that if the property is with a rating of F or G, it cannot be rented out.

Protect the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme

Letting agents or landlords are required to protect the tenant’s deposit and provide proof of its protection within 30 days. When the tenancy ends, the landlord must return the deposit within 10 days. in compliance with the law.

Landlords can choose between two categories of deposit protection schemes:

  • Custodial

Landlords hold the entire deposit, using the custodial protection scheme, for the duration of the rental period. At the end of the tenancy, the deposit must be returned according to the agreed amount and the property condition.

  • Insurance-based

With this scheme, the landlord holds on to the deposit during the tenancy, but he (or she) can’t use this money to cover expenses, because the funds legally belong to the tenant. If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy, the landlord must forward the disputed amount to the insurance protection scheme.

According to Dean Davis, a spokesperson of the tenancy cleaning team at Fantastic Services, there is a rise in landlords being sued over unprotected deposits at both the start and end of the lease. Although landlords are bound by law, many still fail to comply.

Keep the rented properties safe and free from health hazards

Low housing standards lead to illness and injury to almost half of UK tenants, according to new studies.

Hazards are rated according to how seriously they are going to affect someone, with category One being the most serious.

Examples of category Оne include:

  • Exposed wiring or overloaded electrical sockets;
  • Dangerous or broken boiler, a faulty gas boiler;
  • Bedrooms that are very cold;
  • Leaking roof;
  • Mould, both visible or invisible;
  • Extremely cold conditions;
  • Fire risks;
  • Rats or other pests;
  • Risk of falling down on stairs, floors or outside paths;
  • Lack of security due to badly installed doors or locks;

The council can take legal action against the landlord if there is category 1 danger in the property.

Ensure that all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained

By law, the landlord must keep all gas appliances in good condition. The landlord should arrange a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out a gas safety check every 12 months and provide a copy of the landlord’s gas safety record to the tenant.

Landlords must also make sure that the electrical system and all electrical appliances in the property are safe to use.

Check that the tenant has the right to rent a property

The new legislation that came in power in 2016, requires all landlords and agents in England to check the tenant’s right to rent. Neglecting these checks might lead to landlords facing penalties of up to £3,000 per every tenant living in the property.

Landlords can rent property only to a person who has the right to rent. This could be a British citizen, people from the European Economic Area, or a Swiss National. This also includes Non-EU citizens who have a visa.

Landlords must be provided with original and genuine documentation, which proves that the tenant has a right to live in the UK and they should also check the authenticity in the presence of the holder.

Provide the tenant with a copy of ‘How To Rent Checklist’

As part of the new Section 21 legislation for landlords in England that rolled out in October 2015, landlords must provide an up-to-date version of the “How to rent” brochure at the outset of the original tenancy. Landlords are also obligated to give a new copy at the outset of any subsequent tenancy. The checklist can be sent via email to the tenants.