Capital Properties | Useful information for tenants and landlords
Gas Safety Certificate
The Gas Safety Certificate (Installation and use) Regulations 1998 place a statutory duty on all landlords of residential property to ensure that all gas appliances, pipe work, and flues are maintained in a safe condition. They particularly seek to avoid the escape of carbon monoxide poison, which is silent, odourless and deadly and require that:
- All let properties must have at all times a valid Gas Safety Record, even if the gas supply consists only of capped off gas pipe where all other pipe work and appliances have been removed
- Before a Tenant takes occupation, the gas appliances and pipe work must be checked by a CORGI registered engineer who must provide the landlord with a Gas Safety Record (the landlord must provide the Tenant (s) with a copy of that safety record at the beginning of the Tenancy)
- A gas safety check must be carried out annually and the tenant(s) provided with a copy of safety record within 28 days of that check being carried out (this does not mean you have 28 days after the expiry date in order to issue a new record)
- Landlords must also keep a copy of each Gas Safety Certificate for at least two years.
Non-compliance with the safety regulations is a criminal offence and carries monetary penalties or imprisonment, or even both. In the event of death, charges could extend to manslaughter. If the property is found to be unsafe or in breach of any of the safety regulations the landlord and agent, depending on the circumstances, can be held responsible for the circumstances.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
All rental properties must have a smoke alarm fitted on each floor.
A carbon monoxide alarm is required in any room where there is a solid fuel-burning appliance in the room.
Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMO)
What is a HMO?
A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is any residential property occupied by three or more people sharing facilities like a bathroom and/or kitchen who form two or more 'households'.
What is meant by the term 'Household'?
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
- Married couples or couples living together as married (including people in same-sex relationships)
- Relatives or half-relatives e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, cousins
- Step-parents and step-children
- Foster parents and foster children
There are three types of property licensing
Mandatory licensing of large HMOs
This applies nationwide for HMOs where there are five or more occupants in a property of three or more storeys and the tenants comprise of two or more households.
However, from 1st October 2018 the definition is changing and the three storey requirement is being dropped. This means single storey flats or two storey maisonettes will need a mandatory licence if they are let to 5 or more people who form more than one household. There is an exception for purpose built flats situated in a block of three or more self-contained flats.
In addition, new mandatory licensing conditions will be introduced prescribing national minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation, and requiring landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes.
This rule change applies to new and existing tenancies and those landlords affected are advised to apply for a mandatory licence now. If they haven’t applied by 1st October 2018 they will be committing a criminal offence.
When a council imposes a policy requiring other sizes of HMOs to also be licenced. For example, a council can bring in additional licensing requiring all HMOs to be licenced.
This is at the discretion of the borough and can affect all rental properties regardless of size, number of storeys, or number of occupants. For example, a council can instigate compulsory licensing of all residential rental properties within a street, ward or the whole borough.
Before granting a licence, the local authority must be satisfied that the owner and any managing agent of the property is fit and proper to hold a licence and that the property meets required physical standards.
If you are unsure whether your property requires a licence, please contact the local council directly to obtain clarification, ideally in writing.
Minimum Sleeping Room Sizes for Mandatory HMOs
As of 1st October 2018, local authorities must impose minimum room sizes for any rooms used as sleeping accommodation.
The minimum standards applicable nationwide are:
- 4.64 m² for one child under 10 years of age
- 6.51 m² for one person over 10 years of age
- 10.22 m² for two people over 10 years of age
Any part of a room where the ceiling height is less than 1.5m is not considered as usable floor space.Minimum sleeping room sizes will apply to new mandatory HMO licence applications. In due course, all existing licences will also have to comply with these standards. Councils can also apply larger room size standards within their borough, but cannot set a standard lower than the above nationwide standards.
Rights to RentThe acceptance of an agreeable offer is subject to you providing in person documentary evidence of your Right to Rent. It is a condition of the Agreement that all occupants aged 18 and over provide valid Right to Rent documents before occupying or residing in the property. You will not be permitted to occupy the property until you have proved your Right to Rent. Information relating to your Right to Rent will be passed to the landlord and the Home Office if required. If an occupant has a time-limited Right to Rent, follow up checks may require the occupant to repeat the Right to Rent checking process in person to demonstrate that their visa/right to residency in the UK has been renewed or extended. If an occupant turns 18 years old while occupying the property follow up Right to Rent checks may be required to determine if their visa/right to residency in the UK is valid.
As from 6th April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords for assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales ( the majority of tenancies), have had to be protected via the Landlords participation in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. There are three approved schemes; two of which are “insured” and one “custodial” in which the deposit is handed over for safe keeping.
Landlords/Agents have 30 days from the date they accept a deposit to register it with one of the schemes and provide tenants with details of the scheme they have protected the deposit with.
At the end of the Tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree how the deposit should be divided (if applicable), they will inform the scheme of their agreement and the money will be paid out accordingly. Should there be a dispute over the deposit or part thereof, the Scheme will hold the disputed amount until the dispute resolution service or the courts have decided what is fair.
Energy Performance Certificate
Since October 2008, Energy Performance Certificates have been added to the documentation landlords are required to provide tenants with. Costs begin at £96 and certificates are valid for up to 10 years.
A new certificate is not required on each let of a rental property.
The requirement has been introduced to comply with the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which applies to all property, including rented property. This became law in 2003.
MembershipWe are members of both The Property Ombudsman redress scheme and the Propertymark Client Money Protection scheme (see CMP Certificate here). For more information please visit www.tpos.co.uk and www.propertymark.co.uk respectively. A copy of The Property Conduct and Membership Rules can be found here Membership Rules
For more information on any of the above, please contact our management team on email@example.com