Only just over a week remains before the end of the formal consultation on the government’s proposal to ban letting fees applied to tenants in England. If agents want to participate in the formal consultation, they have to submit their online responses by June 2 - only a short time, especially...Read more
Important Safety and Legal Requirements
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 say landlords must ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe for tenant’s use and that installation, maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a technician registered with the Gas Safety Register (which superseded CORGI on 1st April 2009).
The landlord must keep a record of the safety check for two years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.
While there isn’t a legal obligation on landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical appliances, there is, however, an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – Part P, and the British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets.
All electrical certification should be carried out by an electrician who is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installers and Contractors (NICEIC). There are two types of electrical certificate:
- Periodic Inspection Report
- Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993) sets minimum fire resistance standards for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery that remain in a dwelling during the course of a tenancy.
These include any of the following which contain upholstery:
- furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children's furniture
- beds, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size)
- sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
- nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling
- scatter cushions, pillows, seat pads and loose and stretch covers for furniture
The Regulations do not apply to:
- furniture made before 1950
- sleeping bags
- bed-clothes (including duvets)
- loose covers for mattresses
For items that do apply, a suitable label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a potential purchaser of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease. Examples of these labels can be seen above.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide
All properties built since June 1992 must have interlinked mains-connected smoke detectors / alarms on each floor of the property. Smoke alarms must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in full working order. A carbon monoxide detector should also be supplied. These can be purchased for around £5 from most DIY shops.
Energy Performance Certificate
With effect from 1st October 2008, all new tenancies require an Energy Performance Certificate. Their purpose is to determine how energy efficient homes are on a scale of A-G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A. The certificate uses the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The average property in theUKis in bands D-E for both ratings.
The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save money and help the environment.
Please note that we are not allowed to advertise your property without an EPC.
Overseas Landlords and Income Tax
The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If non-resident landlords don't have UK letting agents acting for them, it is their responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Non-resident landlords can apply at any time for approval to receive rent with no tax deducted.
If your intention is to reside abroad then we can offer the following services:
- Arrange for annual rental accounts to be prepared by a local firm of chartered accountants and be submitted to the Inland Revenue at the end of each tax year. Details available on request.
- Tax saving schemes relating to earned income abroad and the possibilities of re-investing your income to receive tax-free interest. Again we have the expert advice of a firm of financial consultants on hand, details are available.
The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 every landlord or letting agent that takes a deposit for an Assured Short-hold Tenancy in England and Wales must join a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The new regulations came into effect from April 6, 2007. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure good practice. The secondary purpose of the new regulations is to try and keep disputes between landlords and tenants out of the courts by encouraging Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In November 2006 three companies were awarded contracts by The Government to run Tenancy Deposit Schemes:
- The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)
Insurance backed schemes
- Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) (now trading as my deposits) which is the scheme that we use.
- The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
Our Latest News
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme says the end of May usually triggers the annual movement of students from their rented properties - but warns that 40 per cent of students who rent don’t get their full deposit back, sometimes unnecessarily. “The number one contributing factor behind disputes over the return of deposits...Read more