What landlords and letting agents need to know
You’re a landlord if you rent out your property. This means you have responsibilities, including:
- keeping your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- making sure all gas and electrical equipment you supply is safely installed and maintained
- providing smoke alarms and, if there are solid fuel appliances, carbon monoxide alarms
- providing an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- protecting your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
Electrical safety legislation
From 1 June 2020, private landlords have to make sure that the ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, including permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors in their homes are safety tested by a qualified person. Landlords who do not comply with the new rules could face a fine of up to £30,000.
The new regulations require landlords to make sure that the electricity supply in their rented properties is safe - and this includes arranging for an electrical safety test report from a qualified person at least every five years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the report to their tenants, and to the council if requested.
The regulations will cover new tenancies from 1 July 2020, but will apply to all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.
What will be inspected and tested?
The ‘fixed’ electrical parts of the property, like the wiring, the socket-outlets (plug sockets), the light fittings and the consumer unit (or fuse box) will be inspected. This will include permanently connected equipment such as showers and extractors.
What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?
The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.
We recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice.
Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.
Tenants and landlords may consider registering their own electrical appliances with a product registration scheme.
Dealing with problems
New legislation means that from 1 October 2014 it is a legal requirement for letting agents and property managers in England to join one of three government approved redress schemes. This should allow tenants to resolve problems with their landlords without needing to involve the council. If conditions are such that the council has to use its enforcement powers, landlords' powers to evict tenants are reduced.
Right to rent checks
From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to make right to rent checks. This means checking that tenants have the right to be in the UK.
No more cold homes – new requirements for minimum level of energy efficiency
From 1 April 2018, all rented property (both domestic and non-domestic) which is to have a new tenancy (or renewal of an existing tenancy) must have an EPC rating of at least “E”.
From 1 April 2020, all domestic property (including existing tenancies) must have the minimum E rating.
There are a number of proposed exemptions for the minimum standard where the property is unable to be brought up to the standard or the tenant refuses consent.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
From October 2015 new regulations require landlords to fit a smoke alarm on each storey of the property that is adapted or used as residential accommodation and also to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which contains a solid fuel appliance.
Where a domestic property has been let which does not meet the minimum standard, the tenancy remains valid between the landlord and tenant but a fine will be payable by the landlord of up to £5,000.
The energy efficiency regulations are set out in full on GOV.UK.
Follow the council's 'Guidance on fire precautions' (pdf 771KB).
What happens in North Devon?
We provide advice and, where necessary, use legal powers to resolve problems in the private rented sector. We have a duty to serve enforcement notices in some instances.
The council works closely with the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that fire protection and alarm systems are provided where necessary, especially in multi storey buildings that contain several dwellings.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used to identify hazards and risks to health where action may be required. The HHSRS applies to all residential premises, regardless of tenure or property type. Common problems include inadequate heating and insulation, dangerous electrical systems, and failure to maintain solid fuel appliances.
- Electrical Safety First - provides information for landlords about electrical safety obligations