Q&A - What are all the new landlord responsibilities that have come in?

Q: I bought two rental properties to supplement my retirement income. I am not a ‘professional’ landlord though and am currently struggling to get my head around all the new landlord responsibility regulations. Could you please give me a break-down of the new requirements?

A: From 1st October 2015 landlords have been required to provide new tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate, a Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide. Currently this regulation only applies to new tenants starting a lease after 1st October, or to existing tenants who are given a new fixed term tenancy agreement after that date. At the moment it does not apply to existing tenants who receive a periodic tenancy agreement to extend the term of a lease taken out prior to 1st October 2015.

The How to Rent Guide is intended to serve as a helpful check list for anyone searching for a house or flat to rent. You can download a copy of it at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

In addition to the above requirements, from 1st October 2015 all rented residential properties, be they houses or flats, must have both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed. The landlord is responsible for regularly checking to ensure they are in full working order and failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty of up to £5,000 being imposed. This regulation only applies, however, to properties in England. It does not apply to properties in Wales. Both types of alarms must be installed on every storey of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. Living accommodation includes halls, landings, bathrooms and toilets.

In view of all the new regulations this might be a good time to have a solicitor check over any new leases you are planning to issue.