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What You Need To Know
Lettings Agents, Landlords and Tenants should all be aware of the current and ever changing legislations within the residential lettings industry. Below we have outlined some of the most important legislations you should be aware of.

Gas Safety 
It is a legal requirement that, as a Landlord you are responsible for the gas safety within each dwelling you own and are responsible for.  The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline what landlords must do in order to ensure gas appliances, fittings and flues within a property are safe.

Landlords must ensure that pipework, appliances and flues are maintained in a safe condition.  Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.  If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Landlords must arrange an annual gas safety check on every gas appliance and flue by a registered Gas Safe engineer.  Before any new tenancy starts landlords must ensure these checks have been carried out

Within one year before the start of the tenancy date, unless the appliances in the property have been installed for less than 12 months, in which case they should be checked within 12 months of their installation date.

Please Note: The checks are essential for both mains gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and appliances including hobs and gas fires.  Please visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk for more information.

Smoke & Co2 Alarms
From the 1st October 2015 landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.  They will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as: wood, coal or biomass and/or open fires.  It does not include gas, oil or LPG.

Electrics
There are no specific regulations relating to electrical safety in the same way as there is for gas safety. Electrical appliances provided by the landlord must be safe at the commencement of the tenancy. There will be a legally implied term on the tenancy that the electrical installation is kept in good repair and proper working order. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 there is a requirement for portable electrical appliances to undergo a PAT Test. This applies to premises where employees work e.g. sheltered type accommodation. Matthews Benjamin Lettings fully recommend any appliance provided by a landlord  or brought in to a property by a tenant undergoes a PAT test. It is also recommended that prior to a tenancy being granted a full electrical check is carried out and a certificate provided.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
What is an EPC – An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. They are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. It contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs as well as recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

NB: Since October 2015, where a landlord hasn’t provided an assured shorthold tenant with an EPC, they won’t be able to evict them using a Section 21 Notice.

Changes In EPC Legislation – From 1 April 2018 it will be unlawful for landlords to grant new tenancies of properties that have an energy efficiency rating of F and G on its EPC, unless an exemption applies or the landlord has made all the relevant energy efficiency improvements. Under the rules relevant energy efficiency improvements which a landlord may choose to install to reach an EPC rating of E (either a single measure, or a combination of measures) are any energy efficiency improvements recommended for the property through a relevant Recommendation Report (contained within an EPC), a Green Deal advice report or a report prepared by a qualified surveyor.

A landlord of an F or G rated property will be expected to install all energy efficiency improvements required to reach an EPC E, where funding is available to cover the cost. Funding (or a combination of funding) can come from a Green Deal Plan, Energy Company Obligation or similar scheme, funding from Central Government, local authority, or third party at no cost to the landlord.

Matthews Benjamin Lettings LTD are members of The Property Ombudsman
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