Your legal duties

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

The regulations require private rented sector landlords from 1 October 2015, to 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 used - after that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

Gas Safety Certificate

  • Ensure that any gas equipment you have supplied is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • You must have a registered engineer to do an annual gas safety check on each appliance
  • You should provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to your tenants

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Prior to marketing a property for rent, a landlord must order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) from an accredited assessor who will assess the property and produce a certificate. The EPC must then be shown to the prospective tenant. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most effective) to G (least effective) and it is valid for 10 years.

From 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of an E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches, for further information visit the government website.

Legal updates

The government has announced its intention to expand the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, with the changes due to come into force 2017, subject to parliamentary approval. The proposed changes would remove the storey rule, which would mean that not just 3 and more storey houses but also 1 and 2 storey houses occupies HMO's, would fall within the mandatory licensing requirements. The new legislation would mean that any rental properties that housed five or more people from two or more households would require a licence. For HMO’s to be granted a license, the proposed legislation suggests that each bedroom within the property would need to be a minimum size of 6.52 square metres

Banning orders introduced to crack down on rogue landlords and property agents and stop them operating have been set out by government. These will be put in place when landlords commit serious offences against tenants. This could include failing to carry out work required by the council to prevent a health and safety risk to tenants, threatening tenants with violence, or illegally evicting them. If a landlord or property agent is subject to a banning order they could be prevented from letting or managing a property indefinitely. Their name would also be included in a national database of rogue landlords and property agents.

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

Find out more about licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's) in our Housing Advice section.

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