Landlord Responsibilities & Safety Regulations
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property that is being let is compliant with a number of safety regulations. Below are some of the regulations and legislation which landlords should be aware of when looking to rent property within the UK. The landlord’s responsibilities can be split into a number of categories;
- Electrical safety
- Gas safety
- Furniture and furnishing
- Building regulations
- Energy Performance of a Property
- Overseas Landlord Tax Liability
- Non resident landlords
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Electrical supply and appliances within a property must be ‘safe’.
- All electrical appliances must be checked at regular intervals for defects (e.g. frayed wiring, badly fitted plugs etc).
- Any unsafe items should be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent.
- No statutory checking procedure or timescale exists. However, we strongly recommend that all landlords have an annual inspection of electrical appliances including an annual electrical supply safety check, by a qualified electrical engineer. Records of these checks conducted at the property should be retained and provided for inspection if required.
- Smoke alarms are advised to be fitted to all let properties and should be regularly checked to ensure that they are in full working order.
The Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Consumer Protection Act 1987)
- Any plug, socket or adapter supplied which is intended for domestic use, must comply with the appropriate current regulations.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
- All gas appliances and associated pipework and flues should be maintained to ensure they are safe to use. An annual inspection by a qualified registered Gas Safe gas engineer is now a requirement of law.
- A Gas Safety Record (GSR) must be kept with the dates of inspection and any defects identified. This record must be provided to the tenant upon signing the tenancy agreement.
- A gas appliance with an open flue should not be installed in a bedroom.
- Where the gas meter is installed in a meter box, you should supply the tenant with a suitably labelled key to the box.
- After work on any gas appliance, a defined series of safety checks must be performed.
- Instructions for any gas appliance must be left for the tenant.
- Any gas appliance that is suspected or known to be faulty or incorrectly installed must not be used by anyone and should be removed/replaced or repaired immediately.
- Ventilation is needed for gas appliances to work correctly and safely. You should take care not to block vents and air bricks.
The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
- These regulations were amended in 1993 and it is now an offence to install any furniture in let properties which does not comply with the regulations.
- The regulations apply to beds, mattresses and headboards, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture, children’s furniture, garden furniture and any items of similar type fillings, all of which must carry the appropriate labels of compliance.
- Upholstered furniture must have fire resistant filling material and must have passed a cigarette resistance test.
- Permanent covers must have passed a match resistance test.
- Furniture in any property which qualifies for the transitional period (i.e. was let prior to 1st March 1993 and continued to be let), does not have to comply until the tenant who occupied the property prior to 1st January 1997, vacates the property.
Any furniture added to the property since 1st March 1993 must comply with these requirements whether new or second-hand.
The regulations do not apply to:
- Antique furniture or any made before 1st January 1950
- Bedclothes (including duvets and pillowcases)
- Loose covers for mattresses, curtains
- Carpets, sleeping bags, cushion covers
Building Regulations – Part “P” Electrical Safety in Dwellings
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the onus on landlords to ensure the Building and electrical installation in their property is safe when the tenancy begins, and that it is maintained in a safe condition throughout that tenancy. From 1st January 2005, all domestic electric installation work (particularly in kitchens and bathrooms) must be carried out by a government “approved” contractor. In addition, electrical contractors will have to verify the work complies with British Standard Safety Requirements (BS7671). Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence and could result in fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.
Summary of Landlord Responsibilities:
- Only use “Competent Approved” contractors.
- Ensure that cracked/damaged sockets or plugs and frayed wiring is made good (1994 Plugs and Sockets Act).
- Ensure all appliances are safe to use prior to any let – ie cooker/kettle/toaster etc. Property should be inspected and tested at least every 10 years by a “Competent Person”.
- All socket outlets which may be used for equipment outdoors (e.g. a lawnmower) should be protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD).
- Retain copies of any certificates of electrical works carried out
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s)
From October 2008 Landlords wishing to rent their property will need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) by law. Anyone letting a property must advise potential tenants of its energy performance rating (A – G), with “A” being the most energy efficient and “G” being the least.
We recommend to landlords that an EPC should only be carried out by an accredited assessor and CityLets York has an in-house Elmhurst accredited assessor that can provide a professional cost-effective report. Landlords are reminded that the cost of EPC’s are tax deductable and must be produced prior to the property being marketed.
The EPC assessment will suggest improvements to make a building more energy efficient. The more energy efficient the property, the more attractive it will be to potential tenants, as they will enjoy reduced energy bills.
The Non-resident Landlord Scheme
If you have rental property in the UK but your usual home is outside the UK, your tenants or the letting agents you use will need to operate the Non-resident Landlord (NRL) Scheme. They need to deduct basic rate tax from rental income before they pass it onto you. You can set this tax off against your own tax bill at the end of the year.
The Non-Resident Landlords (NRL) Scheme is a scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords.
The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If non-resident landlords don’t have UK letting agents acting for them, and the rent is more than £100 a week, their tenants must deduct the tax. When working out the amount to tax, the letting agent/tenant can take off deductible expenses.
Letting agents and/or tenants don’t have to deduct tax if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tells them not to. HMRC will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if non-resident landlords have successfully applied for approval to receive rents with no tax deducted. But even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it remains liable to UK tax. So non-resident landlords must include it in any tax return HMRC sends them.
Applications by non-resident landlords for approval to receive rent with no tax deducted.
Non-resident landlords who are eligible can apply at any time for approval to receive their UK rental income with no tax deducted. This includes applying before they have left the UK or before the letting has started.
Applications should be made by:
- An individual – NRL1i notes are incorporated
- A company – NRL2i notes are incorporated
- A trust – NRL3i
Please visit: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/international/nr-landlords.htm for full details and forms.