With over 170 pieces of legislation covering landlords in the private rental sector, you can face hefty fines or penalties if you breach your obligations. Here are some of the common laws and the penalties for landlords who do not comply.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Gas safety is exceptionally important and you need to ensure that all gas appliances such as boilers and ovens are fully maintained and annually inspected for their safety and suitability. By law, a landlord’s gas safety certificate MUST be carried out by a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer annually or at a change of tenants. A copy of this certificate MUST be given to EVERY INDIVIDUAL TENANT and the landlord must keep proof of receipt of this certificate. Records MUST be kept for a minimum of 6 years and, where possible, a copy should be put up in the property for all to see.
Penalty for non-compliance: 6 months imprisonment and/or £6,000 fine (per item).
Faulty electrics in the home is the biggest cause of fire with one of the highest mortality rates.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are now in force and new tenancies (including renewals) which commenced on or after 1 July 2020 must comply with this legislation. From 1 April 2021 the regulations will be extended for all existing tenancies, regardless of when they commenced.
The main requirements are:
- Every fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested by a qualified person at lease every 5 years
- The test should be carried out according to the 18th edition of the wiring regulations BS 7671:2018
- The report should include the test date, results of the inspection and date of next inspection
- The report should be provided to each existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and a copy held by the agent or the landlord
- The local authority can request a copy of the checks and must receive it within 7 days of making the request.
- Any prospective tenant can request a copy of the report which must be provided within 28 days of the test.
Portable Appliance Testing or a Visual Inspection should take place annually or at the change of tenancy.
Penalty for non-compliance: 6 months imprisonment and/or £30,000 fine.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 all private rental sector landlords, since 1st October 2015, must have:
- At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property, which is used as living accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation, where solid fuel is in use
- Landlords MUST make sure that the alarms are in working order on the 1st day of each new tenancy.
- Landlords, please arrange for a carbon monoxide detector to be installed at your rented property because CO is a silent killer and it is vital that you take all precautions to prevent your tenant from being seriously injured or worse! The most reliable way of checking CO levels in your house is to install an audible CO alarm. However, you should never rely on them entirely as they are a warning system and not a replacement for regularly servicing appliances.
Penalties for non-compliance are a civil penalty with a fine of up to £5,000.
The legal duty for landlords who provide residential accommodation to consider, assess and control the risks of exposure to Legionella to their tenants is not new. This requirement stems from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1989; Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 makes provision for the legislation to apply to landlords of both business and domestic premises. Government Resource.
All water systems require an assessment of the risk, which they can carry out themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is. In most residential settings, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary.
If the assessment shows the risks are low and are being properly managed, no further action is needed but it is important to document your findings and ensure that a copy of your assessment is provided to your tenant or managing agent. You must review the assessment regularly in case anything changes in the system.
Penalties for non-compliance: unlimited fine.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation applies if there are 3 or more occupiers forming 2 or more households, who share basic amenities within either a converted building or self-contained flat. At least one of the occupiers must be paying rent, and the property must be used as a main home. HMOs must meet all of the requirements under the HHSRS of the Housing Act 2004. There are also additional safety measures required for water, drainage, common parts, fixtures and appliances, waste disposal and occupier needs.
Penalties: Local authorities can serve notices including prohibition orders, hazard awareness notices, management orders or overcrowding orders. Landlords can be struck off and not allowed to operate in some circumstances.
For any information or to book your safety procedures, please contact the lettings & property management team on 01494 685518.