There are a number of things which landlords need to be aware of when renting properties out these include.
From 21st May 2010 any property that is marketed for sale or put up for rent in England and Wales will need an EPC.
All gas appliances at a rented property, including portable appliances such as LPG heaters, must be tested prior to the start of any tenancy and then annually by a Gas Safe registered plumber who will provide you with a certificate. We will need to have a copy given to us and to the tenant before we can start any tenancy.
It is a legal requirement that the mains wiring and any portable electrical appliances left in a rented property must be safe for the tenants use. These should be tested by a suitably qualified electrician. We recommend that the mains electric wiring is tested every five years, and any portable appliances tested annually.
Upholstered furniture left in a letting property must comply with these regulations and they apply to all upholstered furniture. The safety provisions require that any upholstered or soft furnishings have a suitable, permanent safety label attached. As these could be removed by a tenant it is also wise to keep a copy of the purchase receipt. Bedding, Carpets, Curtains and Furniture made before 1st January 1950 that are not foam filled (for example horse hair) are also excluded from the regulations.
Again any oil or solid fuel appliances must be safe for the tenants use and therefore they need to be checked on annual basis by a suitably qualified or experienced engineer, with an appropriate certificate or service record issued.
It is not yet a legal requirement to have smoke detectors fitted in a rented property although we would strongly recommend that mains wired smoke detectors are fitted on each floor of a rented property by a suitably qualified electrician. We do however insist that at least one battery operated smoke detector is fitted on each floor of a rented property. We will check the smoke detector at the start of each tenancy and we make it a condition of the tenancy that the tenant checks the smoke detectors on a regular basis replace the batteries when necessary and inform us, if they go wrong.
It is not a requirement to install either battery or mains wired carbon monoxide protectors but they do offer extra peace of mind for both the landlord and tenant and if installed should be situated close to any gas or oil appliances.
The 1985 Housing Act definition of "House in Multiple Occupation" was a "house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household". This is a very complex Act and the definition of a single household is measured on a number of criteria which the local authority will use to determine whether a house is an HMO or not. If you are unsure we would suggest contacting the local authority for clarification.
This document is not meant as an exhaustive guide to the legislation and if you are likely to be affected we strongly recommend you investigate the legislation further and do not rely on this information alone.