Your Legal Responsibilities as a Landlord
There are a number of things that you, as a landlord, are legally responsible for, and it pays to make yourself aware of these before you embark on becoming a landlord for the first time.
Keeping The Property Safe and Well Looked AfterLandlords are legally obliged to make sure that rented property and any contents of that property are safe, and do not cause any injury or damage to anyone living in the property, its neighbours or the public.
A landlord must also make sure that any properties that are rented out are kept in a good condition and well maintained.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a landlord must keep the structure and exterior of a property well maintained. You can take into account any costs of the upkeep of the property in your rent charges, but you can’t charge them for any actual repairs or maintenance that have to be undertaken during the period of the tenancy.
You are legally responsible for:
- The structure and exterior of the property.
- Heating and hot water installations, and water supply
- Basins, sinks, baths and showers, plus any other sanitary ware
- Lighting and heating
- Ventilation, damp (if it threatens health)
Safety of Gas and Electrical AppliancesThe Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 makes it the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that all gas appliances that are provided in the property are checked and maintained in working order. Landlords must also pay for an annual safety check on all gas appliances, and this has to be carried out by an engineer registered with the Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI)
It’s also your responsibility as a landlord to keep records of each safety check, and supply copies of each check to your tenants within 28 days of them taking place.
The electrical supply and wiring should be checked for safety, and any electrical appliances that you supply as part of the property, such as washing machines must be safe to use. You aren’t responsible for appliances that the tenant owns, however, or anything that you have agreed the tenant may take with them after the tenancy has come to an end.
Furniture SafetyYou must be able to prove that any of the furniture and fittings you have supplied in a furnished property complies with the standards set out in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
These regulations are in place to make sure that any upholstered furniture that is supplied for domestic use has a certain level of fire resistance, and if you are letting out your property, the regulations apply to every upholstered item in the property. If the furniture was made prior to 1950 it does not have to comply, but anything newer than that will have to be tested if it doesn’t already have a label on to say that it meets the legal standards.