LEGAL DUTY OF CARE
Under common law, a landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with Safety Legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution
1. Energy Performance Certificates (EPC's)
Effective from 1st October 2008, it is a Legal requirement for landlords letting residential properties to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property which must be renewed every 10 years.
It is a landlord's responsibility to provide, free of charge, a copy of an EPC prior to commencement of a tenancy.
An EPC will give a prospective tenant an insight into how energy efficient a property is.
An EPC is not required for any property that was occupied before 1st October 2008 and which continues to be occupied after that date by the same tenant.
Free advice is available to landlords on how to improve the energy rating on their properties at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
2. Gas Safety Records
Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998
All rented properties with a gas supply are subject to an annual inspection by law, to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords are required to furnish their tenants with a copy of the Gas Safety Record prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
Records of any repairs or maintenance to any gas appliance must be available for a tenant's inspection throughout the tenancy.
3. Electrical Supply and Testing
Although it is not a legal requirement to have the electrics tested and certified, as a landlord you have a legal duty of care to ensure all electrical installations and appliances are safe, as such you will be legally liable if your tenant, or their visitors are put at risk or suffer injury due to faulty electrical goods or wiring. We strongly advise you obtain an Electrical Equipment Safety Certificate (EESC).
4. Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
It is a legal requirement to ensure any soft furnishings in a rented property comply with this regulation (eg: mattresses, headboards, sofas, cushions and in fact any other furniture with ‘filling’). It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine and/or a prison term, to let premises with furniture or soft furnishings which cannot be proven to comply with the above fire safety regulations.