As you might expect, a landlord has legal responsibilities. But there are also some, what you might call ‘considered responsibilities’, such as courtesy satisfaction calls and undertaking repairs quickly, which should lead to happier tenants and a healthier rental business!
Landlords’ responsibilities, by Law, in England
Gas: Annual gas safety checks must be carried out on any gas appliances in the property that are provided by the landlord. They must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer and a copy must be given to the tenant prior to moving in. The next check must take place within 12 months and so on, going forward. As of 1st October 2015, if a landlord fails to do this they may lose their Section 21 rights in England.
Electrics: The Law states that shared houses, flats in multiple occupation, bedsits, hostels and some particular converted blocks of flats must have an electrical safety check carried out every five years by a registered electrician. Where a property is rented with electrical appliances included, it is the landlords responsibility to make sure that they are safe from the start of the letting period.
Fire Safety: A landlord must have a written risk assessment in place to comply with the Fire Safety Order 2005. Landlords must also provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with a usable fireplace or woodburner, check tenants have access to escape routes at all times and make sure any furniture and furnishings they supply are fire safe. If the property is a large house in multiple occupation, they must also provide fire alarms and extinguishers.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs): Most types of properties need an energy performance certificate in place before occupancy begins, with available for tenants.
Legionella: Landlords must have a risk assessment for Legionaire’s Disease undertaken or they can face a fine.
Repairs: A landlord is always responsible for repairs to the property’s structure and exterior, all sanitary fittings including pipes and drains, heating and hot water, gas appliances, electrical wiring, pipes, flues and ventilation. Environmental health can get involved if they think any problems could harm a tenant or cause a nuisance to other people.
Deposits & payments: Deposits from assured shorthold tenants must be protected under one of the three tenancy deposit schemes (Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits, or The Dispute Service (TDS)) and information provided to the tenant within 30 days of the landlord receiving the deposit. Landlords should always make it clear to tenants what money is being taken for, including admin costs, and whether it is un-returnable, an advance payment or similar.
Information for tenants in England: Since 1st October 2015, landlords are now required to provide the most up to date copy of ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England‘ to all tenants.
Eviction/harassment: A landlord must not harass their tenants or evict a tenant without a Court Order. A tenant cannot be thrown out because he/she is behind with rent or is breaking the terms of the tenancy; a landlord must obtain a possession order from the Court and have it enforced by the Court Bailiff.
Landlords’ responsibilities can extend further, legally, to certain types of accommodation so do check for a comprehensive list.