Part of the service we provide for our clients is to offer friendly advice and to ensure that they stay on the right side of both the law and their bank manager.
We would therefore like to draw your attention to the following points which all landlords should be aware of –
Gas Safety Checks
As per our terms of business, all properties with a gas supply must – by law – be tested every 12 months to ensure they are safe. We will arrange this for you automatically and the cost will be deducted from your rent – should a property ever fail a check, we will have to instruct repairs immediately if the property is occupied (to avoid disconnection of the supply). We will always keep you informed of any repairs which are being carried out.
Electrical Safety Checks
Legally, this is a bit of a grey area – the law does not state that you MUST have an electrical safety certificate. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is “safe”.
We choose to interpret “safe” as inspected by a qualified electrician who issues an inspection report confirming the state of wiring and appliances – whilst you may choose not to have this carried out, we would strongly recommend you do so, especially in any property over five years old. In the worst case scenario, if your house burns down and your tenants die, this is your evidence of due diligence which will keep you out of prison. Please let us know if you would like us to arrange an inspection.
As landlords and letting agents, there is a requirement to take care of tenants safety and to exercise due diligence to prevent your property burning down in the event of a fire. It is therefore necessary to fit at least one battery operated smoke detector on each floor of your property – they cost a few pounds each and can easily be DIY installed or alternatively we can arrange for a contractor to supply and fit them to your property for a small charge.
Energy Performance Certificates
In our opinion this is pointless bureaucracy, as in the last twelve months no tenant has ever asked to see one – however, the law says you must have one before the property can be marketed by the agent and if you don’t both landlord and agent receive a large fine. As we would rather this did not happen, we will always arrange one for any property we are instructed to market unless you supply us with one at the outset – they are valid for ten years, so the good news is that you won’t need another in a hurry.
Unfortunately, things do break down over time – carpets become worn, walls become marked, boilers break down and electric showers burn out. New legislation which is relevant to landlords is also being constantly introduced by the government. Sadly, all these things cost you, the landlord, money. Whilst we cannot be expected to police the financial situation of our landlords, we would advise you to keep 20% or so of the rent you receive for a rainy day, as well as ensuring that you have adequate savings to cover any emergencies. If a boiler breaks down it has to be fixed straight away, it can’t wait until your next pay day.