Tag: landlord regulations

Understanding Your Gas Safety Duties (pt. I)

Understanding Your Gas Safety Duties (pt. I)

Staying on top of the gas safety in a property you’re renting out may seem like extra hassle but as a landlord you have a number of responsibilities to take into consideration. Cutting corners on gas safety in your properties can have serious impacts, so it pays to understand what your obligations are.

The following is intended for Landlords of properties.

We are keen to highlight that, as set out below,  Landlords are responsible for their properties and have a duty of care to their tenants. This means that Registered Gas Engineers are not responsible for Landlords Gas Safety Checks being in place or up to date.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for landlords ​

The HSE have provided specific guidance for landlords, to help them with understanding their responsibilities during the pandemic. https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/landlords/.

What are your landlord responsibilities for gas safety?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three main legal responsibilities:

1. Gas safety checks

To ensure your tenants’ safety, all gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check – and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 months after the last check, without affecting the original check expiry date. If it’s less than 10 or more than 12 months after the last check, you’ll end up with a new deadline date – 12 months from the most recent check.

Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility – although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues, unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.

2. Gas Safety Record

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check – and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.

For rental periods of less than 28 days, just make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out..

3. Maintenance

You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t got access to these, we’d recommend an annual service – unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.

Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:

  • Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
  • Visually examine the pipework (so far as is reasonably practicable)

There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.

How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?

The cost of your Landlord Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business who carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the check to be carried out. You can find a registered business in your local area on our Check The Register page. 

Additional information

It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.

In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking.  In Northern Ireland, a CO detector is required when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.

Last but not least, make sure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer that’s carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case – and it’s the most important step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.

Any issues?

We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access you must show you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explaining that safety checks are a legal requirement in place for their own safety. Keep a record of any action you take; you may need this at a later date.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.

Tenant Fees Act

Tenant Fees Act

Documents related to the Tenant Fees Act, which sets out the government’s approach to banning letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector.

The Tenant Fees Act bans most letting fees and caps tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England.

The ban on tenant fees applies to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019.

The government guidance on the Act for tenants, landlords and letting agents helps explain how this legislation affects them. You might also find the ‘How to Rent’ and ‘How to Let’ guides useful.

The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy. Tenants will be able to see, at a glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs.

The party that contracts the service – the landlord – will be responsible for paying for that service, helping ensure the fees charged reflect the real economic value of the services provided and sharpen letting agents’ incentive to compete for landlords’ business.

Local enforcement authorities have primary responsibility for enforcing this legislation. The Tenant Fees Act created an independent lead enforcement authority to provide advice and information to local authorities on the Act. Bristol city council has been appointed as the lead enforcement authority for lettings.

From 1 June 2019, the only payments that landlords or letting agents can charge to tenants in relation to new contracts are:

  • rent
  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  • payments capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) for the variation, assignment or novation of a tenancy
  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
  • a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement

Tenant Fees Act Guidance

What Is Landlord Boiler Cover?

What Is Landlord Boiler Cover?

If you’re a landlord and wondering whether you need landlord boiler cover, or if it’s even worth it, we’re here to help make up your mind. Taking out landlord boiler cover is essential to make sure your tenants stay warm and cosy and avoid those unexpected boiler breakdowns. Boiler cover, also known as gas boiler cover or boiler breakdown cover, is a type of insurance that protects your boiler if it were to breakdown or encounter a fault. If something was to go wrong with the boiler, the boiler cover will help cover the costs of engineer call outs and labour, as well as an annual boiler service, which is vital to keep the manufacturer warranty valid and the boiler in full working order.

Do I need landlord boiler cover? Is landlord boiler cover worth it?

As a landlord, it’ll be your responsibility to cover the costs associated with a broken or faulty boiler, as well as arranging for an engineer to sort the issue. Your tenants won’t be able to take out boiler cover themselves or arrange the repair themselves, which is why cover is also important in your absence. With your permission and with cover in place, the tenant may be able to arrange an engineer call out or repair if the boiler was to break down in your absence. If you already have landlord home insurance, you may have boiler cover in place as part of your buildings and contents insurance.

Most modern boilers will come bundled with a manufacturer warranty of up to 10 years depending on the installer. If you’ve chosen an installer that’s approved by the manufacturer, you’re more likely to have your boiler protected by an extended warranty. If you’re looking to install a Vaillant or Worcester Bosch boiler, keep a lookout for Vaillant Advanced and Worcester Accredited Installers to take full advantage of an extended warranty. If the boiler is older than 15 years, you may have to pay more for cover as it’s more likely that the boiler will break down due to its age. Some cover products will also have specific terms around whether they can cover you if the boiler has already broken down.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, what’s the point in landlord boiler cover if I have a manufacturer warranty? Your boiler’s manufacturer warranty shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on if your boiler was to run into a fault or break down. The warranty is only there to cover you if your boiler fails or breaks down within a certain number of years. However, if the fault or breakdown is caused by physical damage or limescale, this may void your warranty. It’s important to double check your manufacturer warranty to double check what is actually covered.

Landlord boiler cover takes the stress out of boiler breakdowns and repairs. You’ll avoid having to pay a large sum of money to repair your boiler, as well as a regular annual service scheduled to keep your manufacturer warranty valid. With the cover you’ll also get access to a helpline, unlimited call outs, and the added bonus of repairs to the boiler’s controls should they develop a fault. With cover, it’s always best to double check you’re getting the best deal possible.

What’s the difference between homeowner boiler cover and landlord boiler cover?

Boiler cover for a homeowner will usually include repairs for both your boiler and controls, an annual boiler service, and several call outs included in the monthly price. The main difference with landlord boiler cover is that you’ll get a Landlord Gas Safety Record, which is a legal document that shows that you have had your gas appliances checked annually.

CP12’s & Gas Safety Regulations

CP12’s & Gas Safety Regulations

What are your landlord responsibilities for gas safety?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three main legal responsibilities:

1. Gas safety checks

To ensure your tenants’ safety, all gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check – and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 months after the last check, without affecting the original check expiry date. If it’s less than 10 or more than 12 months after the last check, you’ll end up with a new deadline date – 12 months from the most recent check.

Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility – although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues, unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.

2. Gas Safety Record

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check – and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.

For rental periods of less than 28 days, just make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out..

3. Maintenance

You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t got access to these, we’d recommend an annual service – unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.

Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:

  • Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
  • Visually examine the pipework (so far as is reasonably practicable)

There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.

How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?

The cost of your Landlord Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business who carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the check to be carried out. You can find a registered business in your local area on our Check The Register page. 

Additional information

It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.

In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking.  In Northern Ireland, a CO detector is required when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.

Last but not least, make sure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer that’s carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case – and it’s the most important step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.

Any issues?

We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access you must show you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explaining that safety checks are a legal requirement in place for their own safety. Keep a record of any action you take; you may need this at a later date.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.

APRIL: Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard – landlord guidance

APRIL: Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard – landlord guidance

Guidance for landlords of domestic private rented property on how to comply with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard (EPC band E).

This guidance provides information on the main aspects of the regulations. If your particular situation is not covered, we have more detailed guidance including case studies.

Find out if your property is covered by the Regulations

The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties.

The Regulations apply to all domestic private rented properties that are:

  • let on specific types of tenancy agreement
  • legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Answer these questions to find out whether your property is covered by the Regulations

1. Is your property let on one of the following types of domestic tenancies:

  • an assured tenancy?
  • a regulated tenancy?
  • a domestic agricultural tenancy?

2. Is your property legally required to have an EPC?

If the property you let has been marketed for sale or let, or modified, in the past 10 years then it will probably be legally required to have an EPC.

If you answered Yes to both these questions, and your property has an EPC rating of F or G, you must take appropriate steps to comply with the requirements of the MEES Regulations. We explain how to do this below.

If you answered No to one or both of these questions, your property is not covered by the Regulations, and you don’t need to take action to improve the property rating. You may let it with an EPC rating of F or G.

Find out how to get a rating on your property

Find out more about EPC requirements for homes

When you need to take action to improve your property to EPC E

Since 1 April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the MEES Regulations if they have an EPC rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place.

If you are currently planning to let a property with an EPC rating of F or G, you need to improve the property’s rating to E, or register an exemption, before you enter into a new tenancy.

If you are currently letting a property with an EPC rating of F or G, and you haven’t already taken action, you must improve the property’s rating to E immediately, or register an exemption.

If your property is currently empty, and you are not planning to let it, you don’t need to take any action to improve its rating until you decide to let it again.

Funding improvements to your property

The cost cap: you will never be required to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) on energy efficiency improvements.

If you cannot improve your property to EPC E for £3,500 or less, you should make all the improvements which can be made up to that amount, then register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption.

There are 3 ways to fund the improvements to your property:

Option 1: Third party funding

If you are able to secure third-party funding to cover the full cost of improving your property to EPC E, you can use this and you don’t need to invest your own funding:

  • the cost cap does not apply
  • you should make use of all the funding you secure to get your property to band E, or if possible higher. Funding can include:
  • Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
  • local authority grants
  • Green Deal finance

Find out more about funding opportunities for landlords

Option 2: Combination of third-party funding and self-funding

If you can secure third-party funding but it is:

  • less than £3,500, and
  • not enough to improve your property to EPC E

you may need to top up with your own funds to the value of the cost cap.

Please note

  • you can count any energy efficiency investment made to your property since 1 October 2017 within the cost cap
  • if your property can be improved to E for less than the cost cap, that is all you need to spend

Option 3: Self funding

If you are unable to secure any funding, you need to use your own funds to improve your property. You will never need to spend more than the cost cap.

You do not need to spend up to £3,500 if your property can be improved to EPC E for less. If you can improve your property to E for less than the cap, you will have met your obligation.

If it would cost more than £3,500 to improve your property to E, you should install all recommended measures that can be installed within that amount, then register an exemption.

If you have made any energy efficiency improvements to your property since 1 October 2017, you can include the cost of those improvements within the £3,500 cost cap.

Selecting energy efficiency measures

Your EPC report will include a list of recommendations detailing measures which should improve the energy efficiency of your property. It will include both a short list of top actions you can take, and a more detailed list further down setting out all recommended measures. The recommendations will help you choose which measure or combination of measures to install.

Sample table of recommendations from the EPC report

These measures will improve the energy performance of your dwelling. The performance ratings after improvements listed below are cumulative, that is, they assume the improvements have been installed in the order that they appear in the table.

Recommended measuresIndicative costTypical savings per yearRating after improvement
Room-in-roof insulation£1,500-£2,700£837E39
Internal or external wall insulation£4,000-£14,000£195E45
Solid floor insulation£4,000-£6,000£122E49
Increase hot water cylinder insulation£15-£30£142E54
Draught proofing£80-£120£18D55
Low energy lighting£20£21D56
High heat retention storage heaters / dual immersion cylinder£1,200-£1,800£319D67
Solar water heating£4,000-£6,000£57C69
Replace single glazed windows with low-E double glazed windows£3,300-£6,500£123C73
Solar photovoltaic panels£5,000-£8,000£287B83

The MEES Regulations refer to the concept of ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’. This is a measure, or package of measures, recommended in your EPC report, which can be purchased and installed for £3,500 or less (including VAT) – the cost cap.

Other types of energy efficiency reports may contain the recommendations list from the EPC report, for example, a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR), or reports produced by qualified surveyors.

If you have installed all ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ for your property, but your property’s EPC rating is still below E, you can register an exemption on the grounds that ‘all relevant improvements have been made and the property remains below an E’.

You are free to install any energy efficiency measure(s), but:

  • if your chosen improvements do not appear in the list of ‘recommended energy efficiency improvements’
  • and they fail to improve your property to EPC E

you will not be able to let the property or register an ‘all relevant improvements made’ exemption. You will then need to make further attempts to improve the rating to a minimum of E, in order to let the property.

Registering an exemption

There are various exemptions that apply to the prohibition on letting a property with an energy efficiency rating below E.

If your property meets the criteria for any of the exemptions, you will be able to let it once you have registered the exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register.

Information required for all exemptions

  • address of the property
  • type of exemption you are registering
  • copy of a valid EPC for the property

‘All relevant improvements made’ exemption

Register this exemption if the property is still below EPC E after improvements have been made up to the cost cap (£3,500 incl VAT), or there are none that can be made.

This exemption lasts 5 years. After that it will expire and you must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to E. If it is still not possible, you may register a further exemption.

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • if you didn’t rely on your EPC report to select measures appropriate for your property, and instead opted for a report prepared by a surveyor for example, you must provide a copy of that report
  • details, including date of installation, of all recommended improvements you made at the property (unless none were recommended)

‘High cost’ exemption

Register this exemption if no improvement can be made because the cost of installing even the cheapest recommended measure would exceed £3,500 (including VAT).

This exemption lasts 5 years. After that it will expire and you must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to E. If it is still not possible, you may register a further exemption.

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • 3 quotes from qualified installers for purchasing and installing the cheapest recommended measure, demonstrating that the cost would exceed £3,500 (including VAT)
  • written confirmation that you are satisfied that the measure exceeds £3,500 (including VAT)

Wall insulation exemption

Register this exemption if the only relevant improvements for your property are:

  • cavity wall insulation
  • external wall insulation
  • or internal wall insulation (for external walls)

AND

you have obtained written expert advice showing that these measures would negatively impact the fabric or structure of the property (or the building of which it is part).

This exemption lasts 5 years. After that it will expire and you must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to E. If it is still not possible, you may register a further exemption.

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • a copy of the written opinion of a relevant expert stating that the property cannot be improved to an EPC E because a recommended wall insulation measure would have a negative impact on the property (or the building of which it is part)

Register this exemption if the relevant improvements for your property need consent from another party, such as a tenant, superior landlord, morgagee, freeholder or planning department, and despite your best efforts that consent cannot be obtained, or is given subject to conditions you could not reasonably comply with.

This exemption lasts:

  • 5 years
  • or, where lack of tenant consent was the issue, until the current tenancy ends or is assigned to a new tenant

In either case, once the exemption comes to an end, you need to try again to improve the EPC rating of the property, or register a further exemption.

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • copies of any correspondence and/or relevant documentation (such as a letter from your tenant, or a planning department decision notification) demonstrating that consent for the recommended measure was required and sought, and that this consent was refused, or was granted subject to a condition that you were not reasonably able to comply with

Property devaluation exemption

Register this exemption if you have evidence showing that making energy efficiency improvements to your property would devalue it by more than 5%. In order to register this exemption you will need a report from an independent surveyor. This surveyor needs:

  • to be on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) register of valuers
  • to advise that the installation of the relevant improvement measures would reduce the market value of the property, or the building it forms part of, by more than 5%

This exemption lasts 5 years. After that it will expire and you must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating to E. If it is still not possible, you may register a further exemption.

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • a copy of the report prepared by an independent RICS surveyor that provides evidence that the installation of the recommended measures would devalue to property by more than 5%

Temporary exemption due to recently becoming a landlord

If you have recently become a landlord under certain circumstances (see section 4.1.6 in Chapter 4 of the full Guidance document for details of those circumstances) you will not be expected to take immediate action to improve your property to EPC E. You may claim a 6 months exemption from the date you became a landlord.

This exemption lasts 6 months from the date you became the landlord. After that it will expire and you must have either:

  • improved the property to EPC E
  • or registered another valid exemption, if one applies

To register this exemption, you need to provide this additional information:

  • the date on which you became the landlord for the property
  • the circumstances under which you became the landlord

How to register an exemption

  • create an account
  • enter the address of your property
  • state the type of exemption you want to register
  • upload all the required evidence, including a copy of a valid EPC for the property (the Register can accept pdf, png, jpg, jpeg, doc or docx files, with a maximum size of 4 MB per file)

Exemption data cannot be amended once the data has been submitted. Make sure you have checked everything carefully before submitting.

All exemptions apply from the point you register them.

If you improve an exempt property to E after having registered an exemption (or stop renting the property out) you can cancel the exemption by going to your account ‘dashboard’ page and selecting ‘View or manage my exemptions’.

Register an exemption

Assisted digital to register an exemption

If Assisted Digital support is required to register an exemption please get in touch by email PRSRegisterSupport@beis.gov.uk or call the digital helpline on 0333 234 3422.

The Assisted Digital service provides digital support in lodging an exemption on the register, but it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that their property meets the eligibility criteria for an exemption. The service is not able to provide advice on whether individual properties meet the criteria for an exemption.

Members of the public can:

Enforcement and penalties

The MEES Regulations are enforced by local authorities, who have a range of powers to check and ensure compliance.

The Regulations mean that, since 1 April 2018, private landlords may not let domestic properties on new tenancies to new or existing tenants if the Energy Efficiency Certificate (EPC) rating is F or G (unless an exemption applies).

From 1 April 2020 the prohibition on letting F and G properties will extend to all relevant properties, even where there has been no change in tenancy.

If a local authority believes a landlord has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES Regulations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If a breach is confirmed, the landlord may receive a financial penalty.

Non-compliance with the Regulations

Your local authority may check for different forms of non-compliance, including one or more of the following:

  • from 1 April 2018, you let your property in breach of the Regulations
  • from 1 April 2020, you continue to let your property in breach of the Regulations
  • you have registered any false or misleading information on the PRS Exemptions Register

Compliance notices

If a local authority believes a landlord may be in breach, they may serve a compliance notice requesting information to help them decide whether a breach has occurred. They may serve a compliance notice up to 12 months after a suspected breach occurred.

A compliance notice may request information on:

  • the EPC that was valid for the time when the property was let
  • the tenancy agreement used for letting the property
  • information on energy efficiency improvements made
  • any Energy Advice Report in relation to the property
  • any other relevant document

Penalties

If a local authority confirms that a property is (or has been) let in breach of the Regulations, they may serve a financial penalty up to 18 months after the breach and/or publish details of the breach for at least 12 months. Local authorities can decide on the level of the penalty, up to maximum limits set by the Regulations.

The maximum penalties amounts apply per property and per breach of the Regulations. They are:

  • up to £2,000 and/or publication penalty for renting out a non-compliant property for less than 3 months
  • up to £4,000 and/or publication penalty for renting out a non-compliant property for 3 months or more
  • up to £1,000 and/or publication for providing false or misleading information on the PRS Exemptions Register
  • up to £2,000 and/or publication for failure to comply with a compliance notice

The maximum amount you can be fined per property is £5,000 in total.

Right of review and right of appeal

If you do not agree with a penalty notice, you may ask your local authority to review its decision. They can withdraw the penalty notice if:

  • new evidence shows a breach has not occurred
  • a breach has occurred, but evidence shows the landlord took all reasonable steps to avoid the breach
  • they decide that because of the circumstances of the case, it was not appropriate to issue a penalty

If a local authority decides to uphold a penalty notice, a landlord may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if they think that:

  • the penalty notice was based on an error of fact or an error of law
  • the penalty notice does not comply with a requirement imposed by the Regulations
  • it was inappropriate to serve a penalty notice on you in the particular circumstances

Full compliance and enforcement process

The Local Authority (LA) checks if a property is in breach of Regulations where:

a. from 1 April 2018 it as been privately let to new or existing tenant; or
b. from 1 April 2020 it is privately let; or
c. the landlord registered an exemption and provided false or misleading information

If the property appears to be in breach of the Regulations, the LA may serve compliance notice on the landlord requesting further information.

If the property is in compliance, no further action will be taken.

If satisfied that the landlord is in breach of the Regulations, the Local Authority may serve a penalty notice on the landlord and publish details of the breach:

a. either the landlord accepts the penalty notice and pays the penalty
b. or if the landlord disagrees with the notice, they can request a review of the penalty notice decision.

The LA reviews the decision:

a. either they find in the landlord’s favour and the penalty is quashed
b. or they uphold the penalty notice

If the penalty notice is upheld, the landlord can appeal the decision to the First-tier Tribunal which will review the decision:

a. either the Tribunal finds in the landlord’s favour and the penalty is quashed
b. or the Tribunal rejects the landlord’s appeal, and the penalty is affirmed

The landlord then:

a. either pays the penalty
b. or does not pay the penalty, in which case the enforcement authority may take debt recovery action

More detail and examples

To find the full detail and case studies, read:

Legal disclaimer

Please note that BEIS cannot provide legal advice or a definitive interpretation of the law, as this is a matter for the courts. If you have questions that aren’t covered here, you will need to seek independent legal advice.

Setting long-term energy performance standards

Government has committed to look at a long term trajectory to improve the energy performance standards of privately rented homes in England and Wales, with the aim for as many of them as possible to be upgraded to EPC Band C by 2030, where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

Landlord Acts & Regulations Introduction

Landlord Acts & Regulations Introduction

Acts and regulations impose duties and responsibilities on landlords to ensure that the property is completely safe and that all electrical appliances installed are safe throughout the life of the tenancy…

You’ll need to inspect your appliances regularly and ensure that you keep records of all periodic inspections. It is important to be aware of them to ensure that you are compliant and to avoid penalties. Acts and regulations such as the Housing Act 2004 cover a range of issues and introduced regulatory systems such as the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.In additional legislation such as Consumer Protection Acts place liability on landlords to ensure that their property complies with 29 categories of hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Therefore to ensure that your property is fit for letting under these acts and regulations, you should follow a series of measures such as providing valid gas safety certificates and taken reasonable precautions to ensure that your premises are free from dangerous defects.

The Housing Act 2004

These explanatory notes has been prepared by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to assist the reader in the understanding of the 2004 housing act.

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Electrical Equipment Regulations 1994

Provides informations regarding the measures and levels of safety and consumer protection in respect to electrical equipment as laid down in law by the secretary of state.

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The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) regulations 1998

This summarises the main changes of the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 and their effects for enforcement.

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The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

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Landlord and Tenants Covenant Act 1995

An act that makes provisions, in some circumstances for those under a tenancy agreement to be released from it and the circumstances surrounding such a proceedure.

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The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999

When adding your own terms to a tenancy agreement, we recomend that you familiarise yourself with this regulation.

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Liability for land and premises legislation

Covers the:

  • OCCUPIERS’ LIABILITY ACT 1957
  • OCCUPIERS’ LIABILITY ACT 1984
  • DEFECTIVE PREMISES ACT 1972
  • OCCUPIERS’ LIABILITY ACT 1984

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More to come July 2020 >

Tenancy Desposit Schemes

As of 6th April 2012 all new tenancy deposits must be protected in a government-authorised scheme. This new rule applies if the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy.

The Government wants to make sure tenants’ deposits are protected so that:

  • Tenants get all or part of their deposit back, when they are entitled to it
  • Any disputes between tenants and landlords or agents will be easier to resolve
  • Tenants are encouraged to look after the property they are renting

Most tenancy agreements for self-contained residential property since 1997 are assured shorthold tenancies. With an assured shorthold tenancy, the tenant usually has the right to stay in the property for at least six months, although a landlord or agent can agree a longer stay. At the end of the tenancy, following adequate written notice, a landlord or agent can seek possession of the property. If a landlord or agent needs to seek possession earlier than this, they can only do so for one of the reasons specified in the Housing Act 1988. A tenant who refuses to leave cannot be evicted without a court possession order.

A landlord or agent will lose their automatic right to regain possession of the property at the end of the tenancy unless they have protected the deposit in a scheme and given the tenant information about how it is protected.

At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, the tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent as usual, who must ensure it is protected. There are three schemes to choose from. There is a single custodial scheme, where the money is held by the scheme until the end of the tenancy. The custodial scheme is free to use. The landlord or agent simply puts the deposit into the scheme at the beginning of the tenancy. There are two insurance-based schemes that insure the deposit.

Under the insurance-based schemes the landlord or agent keeps the deposit, and pays a fee to the scheme to insure against their failure to repay money due to the tenant. Within 14 days of taking the deposit, the landlord or agent must provide the tenant with details of how the deposit is being protected including:

  • The contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme selected
  • The landlord or agent’s contact details
  •  How to apply for the release of the deposit
  •  Information explaining the purpose of the deposit
  •  What to do if there is a dispute about the deposit

Tenants also have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition they took it on. To reduce the likelihood of disputes it is recommended that the following actions are taken before signing the tenancy agreement:

  • Agree a detailed list of contents (furniture and fittings
  • Record the condition of the property and its content (photographs are a good idea)
  •  Agree expectations of cleaning and wear and tear at the end of the tenancy
  •  Understand the circumstances in which the landlord or agent could have a claim on the deposit

At the end of tenancy, the condition and contents of the property should be checked against the tenancy agreement. The landlord or agent should agree with the tenant how much of the deposit will be returned. The agreed amount should be received by the tenant within 10 days.

There are three government-authorised tenancy deposit schemes offering tenancy deposit protection. Landlords and agents should find out about these schemes and their legal obligations before taking a tenancy deposit.

There is one custodial scheme:
 
The Deposit Protection Service
www.depositprotection.com 0870 707 1 707
 
and two insurance-based schemes:
 
Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd
www.mydeposits.co.uk info@mydeposits.co.uk
 
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
www.tds.gb.com 0845 226 7837
 

 If no agreement can be reached about how much of the deposit should be returned, there will be a free service, offered by the scheme protecting the deposit, to help resolve disputes. The disputed part of the deposit will be held by the scheme until the dispute is resolved.

The tenant can apply to the local county court. The court can order the landlord or agent to either repay the deposit to the tenant or protect it in a scheme. If the landlord or agent has not protected the deposit, and they fail to do so within 14 days, they will be ordered to pay the tenant three times the amount of the deposit.

Penalties

Failure to protect a deposit can result in the following penalties should the tenant decide to take action:

  • You will be unable to obtain a Court Order to regain possession of the property (under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988) unless and until the deposit is protected.
  • You will be required to either return the deposit to your tenant or to lodge the full amount with the authorised custodial tenancy deposit scheme.
  • You may be instructed to pay your tenant compensation between one and three times the amount of the deposit within 14 days of a Court Order