Landlord and Tenant Law – What is the Landlord Responsible for?

by 4SNet on March 7, 2013

Landlords must operate within the Law, and there are hundreds of pieces of Government Legislation and local authority regulation in addition to this which will also need to be adhered to before the property can be rented to tenants.

The onus is with the landlord, even if the landlord is using a letting agent – to ensure their property complies with all the rules and regulations. This includes ensure the tenancy agreement itself is in full compliance and contains no elements which could contravene any unfair terms of contract rules.

The landlord is ultimately responsible in ensuring the property meets the relevant safety standards, and that the assured hold tenancy agreement obligations are met even if the agreement was drawn up by a third party (such as a letting agent or managing agent). This extends to the matter relating to registering the deposit, even if this was collected and held by the letting agent.

A formal tenancy agreement should be in place at the start of any tenancy to detail all the additional responsibilities outside the mandatory requirements. This is to protect all parties involved, and provide a reference should a disagreement arise.

The tenancy agreement may seem to list many trivial points, which perhaps neither party is interested in at the time, however it is very important that all the points are read and understood, as most frequently is it these small bug bears which can cause friction between landlord and tenant, leading to further more serious disagreements.

The Landlords Main Responsibilities  Include:

Protecting the Tenants Deposit – The landlord must by law place the tenants deposit into one of the three government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes. Proof of this protection must be provided to the tenant. Even if a letting agent has arrange this, it is the landlord responsibility to check they have done this according to the law.

Gas Safety Check – This is a routine safety check on the gas equipment, this will typically cover the gas boiler, gas cooker, gas hob. The gas safety certificate will cover the landlord for a year and will need to be checked every 12 months. Copies of the gas safety certificate (CP12) must be retained by the landlord (or their appointed agent) and also must be provided directly to the tenant.

Electrical safety – Any electrical appliances supplied by the landlord must be checked for safety annually (PATS Testing) and copies of safety certificates must be kept by the landlord and a copy must be supplied to the tenant. This only applies is the property is provided with electrical equipment (which would most only apply to furnished property).

Energy Performance Certificate –  It is a legal requirement to provide details of the energy rating of the rental property prior to the property being advertised for let. Copies of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must also be provided to the tenant.

Property Fixtures and Fittings – Anything provided in the property must be kept in full working order throughout the tenancy. This also related to items which are subject to wear and tear and need replacing during a tenancy.

Fire Safety – If the property is provided furnished, then all the furniture must comply with the Furniture and Fire Regulations 1993.

In the case where the property is available for multiple occupancy (for example houses converted to flats, blocks of flats, house shares – the landlord will be responsible for maintaining all the common areas.

The Landlords Right to Inspection and Access for Repairs

The landlord has a right to inspect the property periodically and the tenant has a legal obligation to grant access for repair purposes. However the tenant can expect written notice of any such access requirements giving at least 24 hours notice and a mutual agreeable time should be organised with the tenant in order to observe the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property.

If the landlord requires the tenancy to be terminated they are able to serve the tenant with a Section 21 Notice giving 2 months “Notice to Quit” (which means leave the property). If the tenant becomes more than 8 weeks late with the rental payments then the landlord can serve a Section 8 Notice for the Eviction of the Tenant, or arrange for this process to be dealt with by a tenant eviction company:

Should a landlord be required to take legal action to regain possession of their rental property, then it is advised that the landlord ensures they have complied with all the mandatory legal requirements during the tenancy to avoid the case being defended, or thrown out by the judge. There has been a growing number of cases whereby a tenant has defended eviction on the grounds the deposit was not registered correctly. If this is the case you should seek professional eviction advice.

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