Capital Properties | Useful information for tenants and landlords
Gas Safety Certificate
The Gas Safety Certificate (Installation and use) Regulations 1998 place a statutory duty on all landlords of residential property to ensure that all gas appliances, pipe work, and flues are maintained in a safe condition. They particularly seek to avoid the escape of carbon monoxide poison, which is silent, odourless and deadly and require that:
- All let properties must have at all times a valid Gas Safety Record, even if the gas supply consists only of capped off gas pipe where all other pipe work and appliances have been removed
- Before a Tenant takes occupation, the gas appliances and pipe work must be checked by a CORGI registered engineer who must provide the landlord with a Gas Safety Record (the landlord must provide the Tenant (s) with a copy of that safety record at the beginning of the Tenancy)
- A gas safety check must be carried out annually and the tenant(s) provided with a copy of safety record within 28 days of that check being carried out (this does not mean you have 28 days after the expiry date in order to issue a new record)
- Landlords must also keep a copy of each Gas Safety Certificate for at least two years.
Non-compliance with the safety regulations is a criminal offence and carries monetary penalties or imprisonment, or even both. In the event of death, charges could extend to manslaughter. If the property is found to be unsafe or in breach of any of the safety regulations the landlord and agent, depending on the circumstances, can be held responsible for the circumstances.
Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMO)
The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing for houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s). The act provides a detailed definition of HMO’s and sets and standards of management for this type of property.Under the new law there are two kinds of HMO licensing:
- Mandatory licensing
- Additional licensing.
Licensing is mandatory for all HMOs which have three or more storey and are occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households. The additional licensing is when a council can impose a license on other categories of HMOs in its area which are not subject to mandatory licensing. The council can do this if it considers that a significant proportion of these HMOs are being managed ineffectively, so as to give rise to one or more particular problems, either for the occupants of the HMOs or for members of the public.
As from 6th April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords for assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales ( the majority of tenancies), have had to be protected via the Landlords participation in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. There are three approved schemes; two of which are “insured” and one “custodial” in which the deposit is handed over for safe keeping.
Landlords/Agents have 30 days from the date they accept a deposit to register it with one of the schemes and provide tenants with details of the scheme they have protected the deposit with.
At the end of the Tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree how the deposit should be divided (if applicable), they will inform the scheme of their agreement and the money will be paid out accordingly. Should there be a dispute over the deposit, the scheme will hold the amount until the dispute resolution service or the courts have decided what is fair.
Energy Performance Certificate
Since October 2008, Energy Performance Certificates have been added to the documentation landlords are required to provide tenants with. Costs are in the region of £ 60 - £ 100 and certificates are valid for up to 10 years.
A new certificate is not required on each let of a rental property.
The requirement has been introduced to comply with the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which applies to all property, including rented property. This became law in 2003.