All Landlords are bound by a number of legal obligations when letting a property. Below we have briefly summarised the legislation relating to each field.
Electrical Equipment & Systems
To date there are currently no statutory regulations governing electrical equipment and systems in the UK. However you are obligated to ensure that the property is safe, as you could be held liable should something go wrong. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004 (Housing Health and Safety Rating System), The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets detail this.
Alexander Knight require that an Energy Performance Certificate is available by the time a Tenant is due to occupy a property. This provides an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), the same system used by kitchen appliances. It will detail energy use and costs, and recommendations to reduce energy usage.
The furniture supplied within a rental property must comply with fire resistance requirements as defined within The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended).
The regulations are applicable to complete beds (their headboards, frames and mattresses), sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in the dwelling, scatter cushions and seat pads, pillows, loose and stretch covers for furniture. The regulation does not apply to furniture made before 1950, bedclothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillow cases, curtains, carpets and sleeping bags.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require a gas safety check to be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. This will ensure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use. A certificate will be supplied by a Gas Safe registered engineer stating a pass or a fail, and the appropriate action will be required should the check fail. The certificate is valid for 12 months and must be provided to the tenants within 28 days of the check. Alexander Knight can not allow tenants to occupy a property without a valid certificate.
The Buildings Regulations Act 1991 states that all properties built after 1st June 1992 must have mains powered smoke alarms on each floor. If the property is built prior to this date it is not a legal requirement, however, it is strongly recommended that all properties provide at least one smoke alarm.
It is imperative that they are maintained. A clause within the tenancy agreement will inform the tenants of their responsibility to keep it well maintained and the battery to be replaced when necessary.
Tax and The Non-Resident Landlord Scheme
As a Landlord it’s likely that you will be subject to income tax during the rental period and capital gains when/if you sell your property. You must instruct an accountant to complete a self assessment tax return on your behalf, if you are unable to do so yourself.
If you reside overseas, Alexander Knight are required by HMRC to comply with the non-resident landlord scheme. This is unless the landlord provides a NRL form to HMRC, we will be required to deduct the basic rate of income tax from the rent.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Legislation requires security deposits for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies to be registered with a Government approved scheme. We can register the deposit on behalf of you the Landlord. We are members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, operated by The Dispute Service Ltd.