There are around 150 laws for Letting. We have listed the basics below, but although it may seem like a minefield please remember we are ARLA Propertymark Agents who are experienced and trained professionals, that understand and comply with complex legislative changes and best practice. Able Estates attend regular training courses and conferences to keep our skills and experience up-to-date.
Gas Safety Test
- Landlords are legally responsible for the gas safety of their properties.
- They must make sure gas equipment is safely installed & maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- An annual gas safety check (CP12) is required on each gas appliance and any.
- A copy of the Gas Safety certificate must be given to each of the tenants BEFORE they move in, and within 28 days or any subsequent annual check.
Fire Safety, Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
- Make sure that any furniture and furnishings supplied are fire safe – if there is no label present, we will ask you to remove the item.
- Since 1 October 2015, a Landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of the property of which is used as living accommodation.
- A Carbon Monoxide alarm needs to be in any room where a solid fuel is burnt (e.g. wood burning stove or coal fire)
- Checks must be made by the Landlord to make sure that each alarm is in proper working order on the first day of the tenancy. Proof of working should also be included within any inventory.
Right to Rent
- From the 1st February 2016 a Right to Rent check needs to be completed on any tenant and any other adults living at the property, before the tenancy starts.
- Make copies of the documents and keep them until the tenant leaves the property.
- Should any document expire within the tenancy term, you will need to request the new documents and carry out a further Right to Rent check.
- An Energy Performance Certificate or EPC is the product of an energy survey that is carried out by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).
- The certificate provides two separate ratings to indicate the overall efficiency of the property and the associated CO2 impact. The certificate also includes recommendations on how to improve the overall energy efficiency of the property.
- Landlords need an EPC with a minimum rating of E, before you can allow a tenancy to start and a copy need to be issued to the tenant BEFORE they move in and within 28 days of any renewal.
- Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their property, and any electrical equipment provided, is safe BEFORE a tenancy begins
- Landlords must ensure the electrical system (sockets, switches and light fittings) and any appliances supplied (cooker, hob, fridge, dishwasher, kettle etc) are safe
- On the 1st July 2020 it will become mandatory for all Landlords to have a fixed electrical installation inspection/test at least every five years by a qualified person.
- The Regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, & supply a copy of it to EACH tenant BEFORE the tenant takes occupation and within 28 days of any re-test.
- Upon request, the report must be provided to the local housing authority within 7 days & they will have the power to arrange remedial action.
- Proven breaches of the Regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
Houses in Multiple Occupation
- HMO’s are usually properties in which unrelated people share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom.
- A Tenancy will become an HMO if there are 2 or more households within one property or more than 5 persons.
- Large HMOs (more than two floors and more than four unrelated people) need to be licensed. The landlord will need to contact their local council to apply. Licenses are generally valid for five years and landlords need a separate licence for each HMO they run.
- Whilst carrying out our periodic visits for our managed Landlords we will look for signs of the property being used in this way, and will bring it to your attention and provide further assistance on what the next course of action would be.
At present Bexley Borough does have a licence requirement. Able Estates will know if your property is in the license area. You will need to apply to the council direct and the following would be required:
- Landlords need to be accredited if they don’t wish to employ a managing agent.
- The council will need to receive your application and the initial payment and provide proof of this to the Agent before the Agent can allow a tenancy to commence.
- Certain documents will then need to be forwarded to the council.(Tenancy agreement, Satisfactory Electrical Certificate less than 5 years old, EPC, Gas safety (if there is a gas supply, fitment of a fire blanket in the kitchen, copy of floor plans & a Portable Appliance Test etc.
- A draft licence is issued and then the full licence usually arrives a month later
- Licenses are generally valid for five years
- The licence needs to be attached to a wall/door in a prominent place at the property and the council will follow up with spot checks.
- From 6th April 2007 it became law that all deposits need to be registered with a government backed scheme within 30 days of the receipt of the funds. A copy of the certificate and prescribed information also needs to be issued to the tenant. The Tenancy Agreement also needs to state the details of where the deposit is held.
- Able Estates register all deposits with the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme).
- Landlords who do not register the deposit can be fined up to 3x the amount of the deposit and the deposit itself, so it’s very important that this doesn’t get forgotten.
Non Resident Landlords.
If you spend more than 6 months outside of the UK then you are considered to be an non-resident Landlord.
If you are a 1st time Landlord you will need to contact the HMRC and complete an NRL1 form (we do have an Agent reference number which will provided to you upon request).
The HMRC will then process your request to have rent paid to you with no tax deduction. The tax amount is 20% of the income being paid over and we are legally bound to deduct the tax until we have received the exemption certificate.
Any tax deducted is forwarded to the HMRC on a quarterly basis at their request. If tax is paid to the HMRC whilst you are waiting for the certificate to arrive you will need to claim back the funds from the HMRC direct.
If the property is jointly owned with others and they are also overseas, then you would all need to apply separately.
The exemption certificate is not transferable between agents, so you will need to re-apply if you do change agents.
Failure to declare your overseas status with the HMRC and your Letting/Managing Agent could lead to you having to pay tax on rental income for the past 20 years, be charged a penalty of up to 100% of that tax amount, and also be subject of a criminal investigation.