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Checklist for Landlords

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Although there is no specific training required to become a landlord in England there is a lot of legislation that if not followed could result in serious consequences, both in relation to the health and safety of the occupants and potential legal issues for a landlord. Therefore, we have produced a checklist to help you ensure that you are fully aware of your responsibilities and how to comply with all relevant legislation.

This checklist is not exhaustive and legislation is likely to change at any time so if in doubt contact the Private Sector Housing Division or a Solicitor.

  • Before renting out a property get permission from your mortgage lender.
  • Check with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate protection and advise tenants to obtain contents insurance
  • Have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available for prospective tenants to view.
  • Have a written tenancy agreement suitable to your lettings, see GOV.UK
  • Provide tenants with a copy of How to Rent; the checklist for renting in England.

 

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

New regulations require private sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel appliance is used.

A landlord must also make sure that there are adequate working alarms at the start of each new tenancy and throughout the tenancy.

Our Private Sector Housing Team are responsible for enforcing these regulations and are required to issue a remedial notice to a landlord where they believe that a property does not have the required smoke and/or carbon monoxide detection. If the landlord fails to comply with the notice, we must if the occupier consents arrange to have the appropriate smoke and/or carbon monoxide detection fitted in default of the notice. We can also issue a landlord with a fixed penalty notice of up to £5,000 where a notice has not been complied with.

The council recently approved a fee structure for the fixed penalty notices served in relation to this legislation. Please refer to the Statement of Principles below for further details.

Statement of Principles

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

The Government have issued guidance Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for landlords 

Further information may also be found via the following links GOV.UK website. 

Cleveland Fire Brigade has a limited number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors available when booked through their Home Fire Safety visits, which can be booked via the Cleveland Fire Brigade website.

 

Restrictions on the use of Section 21 Notice

For any assured shorthold tenancy created from 1 October 2015 landlords cannot use a Section 21 Notice for possession unless they have provided the tenants with:

  • The prescribed information under a Government Approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
  • Valid Energy Performance Certificate
  • Valid Gas Safety Certificate
  • A copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) booklet entitled ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England'. Landlords can print off copies to give to tenants or email the following GOV.UK link to the document if the tenant agrees to receive the document in an email 

As you may have to evidence compliance with the above, it would be considered good practice to have the tenant sign to acknowledge receipt of the information listed above as part of their tenancy agreement. You can get a copy of a model tenancy agreement from www.gov.uk

Retaliatory Evictions

The term retaliatory eviction refers to landlords that choose to evict tenants in response to a complaint about repairs or the condition or management of the property. Landlords should also be aware that where a tenant has made a complaint in writing regarding the tenants housing conditions, then a landlord must have provided an adequate response (within 14 days) otherwise they will not be able to serve a valid Section 21 Notice.  For further information see Guidance note: Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015.

Further information regarding the use of Section 21 Notices visit the Residential Landlords Association website. The Council are not responsible for the content of external websites.

Additionally, there will be a new Section 21 form, Form No. 6A, available from the Legislation.gov.uk website. It must be used for any new or replacement tenancy issued after 1 October 2015.

Please note that the information provided was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, however further changes or amendments may affect this information. If that happens we will do our best to update you, but you should look to confirm the accuracy of any information which you may later rely on and seek legal advice if in doubt.

 

Handbook for Landlords

Renting out properties can unearth a minefield of problems. A useful handbook for landlords has been issued to help you keep on the right side of the law, protect your property and maintain your reputation as a good landlord.

The book covers issues such as:

  • Welfare reform and the Local Housing Allowance
  • Changes to tenancy deposit protection
  • Property inspections
  • Responsibilities and liabilities of the landlord
  • Setting up a tenancy
  • Ending a tenancy  

Take a look at the handbook to get all the information you will need to be a great landlord.