New rules for landlords

No matter the size of your portfolio or reason for letting, when you sign that tenancy agreement you become a landlord. With that, you also become responsible for complying with a stack of rules and regulations.

The UK Government has passed several new pieces of lettings legislation recently. You can find full details on the gov.uk website, but here’s a quick insight into three important changes that you need to be aware of:

  1. Right to Rent

The Right to Rent Act builds on the Right to Work Act, which is designed to create a fair immigration system.

What you need to know:

  • Right to Rent applies to people who sub-let their property or take in lodgers.
  • It requires tenants to supply valid documents that prove their right to reside in the UK (such as an EU passport, working or educational visa, or residence permit).
  • Landlords who fail to check their tenants’ documents risk a penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant.

  1. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is already required for properties sold or let in the UK. It provides details of the energy performance of the property and what is required to improve it. This new standard goes one step further.

What you need to know:

  • To comply with MEES, landlords must ensure that their property reaches a minimum EPC rating of E before they grant or renew a lease.
  • There are exceptions to this rule for listed buildings and tenancy agreements of less than six months.

  1. Legionella

Landlords are obliged to keep their properties safe and free from health hazards. This now includes ensuring that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment process is established with regards to legionella bacteria, which can be found in plumbing systems.

What you need to know:

  • You, or your agent, can carry out a risk assessment yourself – you don’t need to be trained or accredited.
  • Your liability is to assess the risk of exposure to legionella.
  • The assessment is to be completed periodically, not within a given time frame (unlike the annual gas safety certificate).
  • Once you have conducted an assessment, you may need to take some simple actions such as flushing the system through, preventing debris getting in, setting the thermostat to ensure that water is stored at 60 degrees, removing redundant pipes and disinfecting shower heads between tenancies.
  • Properties with combi boilers and electric showers have a reduced risk as no water is stored.

There are several independent organisations that can provide advice about your responsibilities throughout the course of a tenancy – the National Landlords Association, for example – but if you are finding all this a bit overwhelming, why not employ a property manager who can take all that red tape off your hands?

All Lucie White & Company managed clients, for example, have a legionella risk assessment conducted by our property management team prior to the start of each tenancy. With over 74 years’ combined experience of the lettings industry, it’s our job to stay up to date with legislation; that way, you can relax in the knowledge that your properties and tenants are taken care of.

Call us on 020 8549 8064 to find out more.

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