General Guidance & Information for Landlords

Below is some brief guidance which landlords may find useful. Please note that Bristol City Lets is not able to market a property without an Energy Performance Certificate, which is now a legal requirement. We are also not able to sign up tenants to a property which has a gas boiler or appliance that does not have a valid gas safety certificate. (However we are happy to organize these for you on your behalf)

Energy Performance of Buildings Regulation 2007

The European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) is a key part of strategies for tackling climate change. Nearly half of all carbon emissions in this country come from buildings.

Under Article 7 of the Directive, any building which is sold, rented out or constructed must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This must be issued by a qualified and accredited assessor in an independent manner. Once produced, an EPC is valid for 10 years. The certificate is accompanied by recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency however these do not have to be implemented.

Bristol City Lets can arrange for an accredited assessor to assess and issue an EPC on your property, if necessary, once instructed on the rental property, or recommend an assessor to you.

The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998

All gas installation pipe-work and gas appliances must be tested to prove being safe, prior to letting a property. This safety check must be carried out by a GAS SAFE Engineer who also has the necessary NACS (National Accreditation Certification Scheme) certification & ID.

We can arrange for a gas service and inspection to be carried out, if necessary, once instructed on the rental property, or recommend a gas engineer to you.

The Furniture & Furnishings (fire) (safety) Regulations 1988

The regulations were primarily introduced to control the danger from toxic fumes produced from foam. The regulations do not, however, only apply to foam fillings – they apply to ALL fillings. There are various tests which differing items must pass such as the ignitability, cigarette and match tests.

These regulations apply to any upholstered furniture i.e. sofas, armchairs, mattresses, divans, pillows. The do not apply to other furnishings such as carpets, curtains or bedding.

Any furniture manufactured prior to 1950 will be exempt; however, you will need to check that it has not been re-upholstered with an illegal filling.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The regulations for electricity are not as strict or as clear as other safety regulations. The main legislations covering this subject would be the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which states that anything supplied or hired to the consumer MUST be safe, and The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

There are also several items of secondary legislation directly relevant to the supply of electrical goods, including:

The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
The Plugs and sockets etc (safety) Regulations 1994
There is no statutory requirement for equipment to undergo a safety check by a qualified engineer but we would advise that such a check be arranged – especially if you are considering supplying a number of electrical items with your property. This is known as a PAT test – Portable Appliance Test and is usually carried out at the same time as a gas safety inspection, annually.

The Plugs & Sockets Regulations 1994

These regulations state that plugs must be ‘sleeved’ and sockets must comply.

Part “P” Building regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)

On the 1st January 2005, new rules came into force controlling who could carry out certain works on certain electrical installations in a property and the procedures around those works. Failure to comply with these Regulations is a criminal offence, which could result in a maximum fine of £5,000 and or imprisonment.

In very general terms these regulations require that works, repairs, maintenance etc, on “electrical installation” in certain areas of property, are now known as “notifiable” works and as such must only be carried out by a competent person.

The competent person can “self-certify” the relevant works and he (or she) then has a responsibility to provide the agent and the local authority building control department with a copy Certificate relating to the notifiable works.

Someone who is not a “competent person” could still do the works as long as appropriate approval is sought from the local authority Building Control department, before and after the works are carried out. In most cases an officer from the department will wish to visit the property and inspect the works and may require the contractor to submit suitable drawings or schematics.

Smoke Detectors

Under Building Regulations, properties built after June 1992 must have mains, interlinked smoke detectors on each floor. Although there is no specific legislation for older properties, Bristol City Lets recommends that any property being let should have battery operated detectors on each floor, as a minimum, to protect the safety of the occupants.

During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for ensuring the detector is in working order and the battery is replaced regularly.

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) intended to give Landlords mandatory possession, through the Court, at the end of the fixed term. An AST is a type of Assured Tenancy and as such must comply with many, but not all of the conditions imposed on an Assured Tenancy.

In order to create an Assured or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988, several important factors must be established. The main ones being:

  1. The Tenant(s) must be an individual
  2. The Tenant, or in the case of joint tenants, at least one of them, must occupy the property as their main home
  3. The annual rent must not exceed £25,000 but must exceed: a) £1,000 per year if the property is in Greater London, and b) £250.00 per year if the property is elsewhere and the figure must represent pure rent with no services included.
  4. The Landlord must not enjoy resident landlord status, i.e. the landlord must not be living in part of the property which, when constructed was constructed as one property but has since been converted, all of which are owned by the Landlord. It does not, however, encompass properties which have been extended or had an annexe added.

If you are unable to establish any one of the above facts, you cannot create an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy. In this case the Tenancy would automatically be a Non-Housing Act Tenancy.

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