THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR LANDLORDS
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The law regarding the landlord’s obligations to repair
Under Section 11 of the of the Landlords and tenants act 1985 the landlord is responsible for keeping good repair of the structure and exterior of the property such as walls, roof, windows and external woodwork this also include supply of fresh drinking water, gas, electricity, WC’s, space heating, hot water, food preparation areas and ventilation. This is a Statutory Duty, and cannot be avoided (e.g. by stating in the AST the tenant is responsible).
Note that if the landlord fails in this Statutory duty the tenant can arrange the repairs themselves, and withhold rent to pay.
Under a new law (the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Act) the tenant can now report a landlord direct to a court. This includes the situation where the landlord is an RSL (Registered Social Landlord) or the Council.
Your tenants are responsible for changing bulbs, unblocking sinks and other minor maintenance.
Note that your tenant has to also act in a ‘tenant like manner’ by reporting problems to you.
Housing Quality Standard/Decent Homes Standard, states that a property
has to be fit to live in
must be in a reasonable state of repair
must have reasonably modern
must have a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
Gas Certificates (CP12) – annually
Legal requirement brought in 1998, all rented property MUST HAVE a valid gas safely certificate BEFORE* tenants move in. All gas appliances must thereafter be checked annually, and a copy of the certificate must be left at the property. This can only be done by a Gas safe qualified contractor (Gas Safe Register replaced the CORGI gas register on 1 April 2009). The landlord must also keep a copy of each record for at least two years. The gas certificate is mandatory.
* this is a little known fact that the CP12 must be served before a new tenant occupies the property. If it is not any subsequent Section 21 will be invalid. See our news item on this.
Landlords have a duty of care to ensure the chance of Legionnaires Disease is kept to a minimum through the water supply.
It is not required to have an external audit done, but can be if you require.
Landlords are required to carry out a visual inspection between tenancies and ensure that all electric outlets are fit for the purpose, fixed in placed and do not present a danger. If electric goods are supplied, they must be inspected, preferably PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) tested every year.
With the introduction of part P of the building regs on 1st January 2005 it is now a requirement to have the electrics certified by a suitably qualified person.
Housing Act 2016 allows for the electrical cert to become mandatory for all lets – date still unknown
The landlord has a duty of care to ensure the risk of fire at the property is kept to a minimum. So whilst there is (currently) no legal obligation to carry out a fire risk assessment it is a good idea to do so.
The steps to be taken are:-
1. Identify the Fire Hazards
2. Identify People at Risk
3. Evaluate, Remove and Reduce Risks
4. Record, Plan, Inform, Instruct and Train
There is a useful template here
Furniture check on all soft furnishing
This law came into effect 1988 and was amended 1993. The regulation applies to all soft furnishings but not to carpets or curtains. Compliant furniture is identified by labels attached by the manufacturers. A book produced by the DTI called ‘A Guide to the furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) regulations’ is very useful and can be obtained on-line, or from your local trading standards office.
Smoke and CO alarms
From OCT 2015 all rental properties have to have smoke alarms on every residential floor, and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in any room with solid fuel heating – also recommended where there is gas. Failure to do so can result in a £5,000 civil penalty.
Landlords/agents will be responsible for testing them on tenancy changeover. It remains the tenant’s responsibility to test them on a regular basis.
Note that a tenant can now complain direct to a court if they believe they have a problem.