There are numerous rules and regulations which you must abide by when letting your house. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property which is being let out is fully compliant with all relevant safety regulations. As well as safety regulations, landlords must also be certain that they carry out any duties which are outlined on the tenancy agreement, if the landlord did not draft this agreement themselves, all clauses and responsibilities must be read and fully understood. It is always recommended to have a proper tenancy agreement in place at the start of each tenancy as this can act as protection should any disagreements between landlord and tenant arise.
A tenancy agreement can also outline the tenant’s responsibilities during the tenancy period and what they are required to do, this is mostly common sense but having this in writing with signatures from both the tenant and the landlord means each party have read the agreement and understands what is required of them.
The main responsibilities that fall on the landlord are as follows:
- By law, the deposit must be placed into a government approved protection scheme.
- Appliances which are supplied with electricity must be checked regularly and records of these checks should be kept whenever possible.
- An Energy Performance Certificate is a legal requirement and must be provided for the tenant.
- All sanitary fittings must be in full working order throughout the tenancy; this also includes repairing any heating and hot water systems.
- Any furniture which is provided for the tenant must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) regulations 1993. This includes mattresses, beds, throws, cushions and even garden furniture. Furniture which is upholstered must be filled with fire resistant material. Any furniture which is fire resistant will be supplied with a label stating this by their manufacturer.
- If the property is catered to by gas all appliances, associated pipe work and flues must be, by law, inspected annually by a qualified registered Gas Safe gas engineer. A gas safety certificate must also be obtained and provided to the tenant.
- The property must always be fit for human habitation.
- In Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), the landlord is responsible for all common areas.
- The tenant must be supplied with the landlord’s name and telephone number and in cases where the property is managed by an agent, the landlord’s full name and address must be supplied to the tenant.
Statutory requirements which are also held over the landlord mean that they must comply with The Race Relations Act Order, The Sex Discrimination Order and The Disability Discrimination Order.
If the landlord wishes to inspect the property or gain access for repair purposes, a mutual agreeable time must be organised with the tenant. Notice in writing should be given for this visit, the tenancy agreement may state the acceptable amount of notice needed, this is to comply with the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.
The responsibilities don’t all fall to the landlord, tenants also have certain obligations and responsibilities within the tenancy and must also know that repairs for any damages which are caused directly by them will not be payable by the landlord. It is recommended that all tenants purchase an adequate home insurance package to cover their needs.
Responsibilities which fall to the tenant are as follows:
- The rent must be paid as agreed.
- Bills which are excluded from the rental agreement e.g. gas, electricity, telephone etc must be paid as agreed along with the council tax and sewerage charges unless otherwise specified in the tenancy agreement.
- The property should be kept in a reasonable state. The cleanliness, decorative and sanitary condition of the property must be kept in good order.
- An appropriate amount of notice must be given by the tenant should they wish to leave the property. Commonly this is one month but it can vary and is usually outlined within the tenancy agreement.
- The property must be in the same state on vacating the property as it was when arriving, the landlord may deduct any monies from the deposit for damages which have not been fixed.
- The tenant, members of the household and visitors must be cautious not to cause nuisance or harass neighbouring properties.
When entering into any tenancy, a tenancy agreement is essential. This can provide guidelines to both tenants and landlords and outline their responsibilities. If you believe that your landlord/tenant has breached this agreement or are not following the tenancy accordingly, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice.
Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings
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