The Legal Responsibilities of Landlords

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Responsibilities

Landlords have legal requirements and responsibilities to uphold. By failing to do so, landlords put tenants in danger and face prosecution. For this reason, they need to be aware of their obligations so as to better perform them in a timely and effective manner. 

This non-exhaustive guide discusses the major legal responsibilities of landlords. 

Table of Contents

Ensuring safety 

Landlords are responsible for ensuring that the facilities of their rental property are safe for tenants to occupy. In order to comply with their legal requirements, landlords must ensure: 

Gas safety 

Landlords must perform annual gas safety checks and issue copies of the resulting certificate to tenants. 

Fire safety 

To protect tenants from fire-related dangers, landlords must: 

  • Install at least one smoke alarm per “liveable” storey of their rental property and one carbon monoxide alarm in any room with solid fuel appliances, as well as check that they work on move-in day 
  • Ensure the fire safety of any furnishings provided with the property 

Electrical safety 

So that tenants are not exposed to harm from any variety of electrical installation in the property, landlords need to: 

  • Ensure that “fixed” electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every 5 years  
  • Check that all plugs, sockets and adapters meet standards 
  • Maintain the safe working condition of all electrical appliances before new tenancies begin 

Communicating energy efficiency 

Landlords must provide an Energy Performance Certificate to prospective tenants before they sign the agreement so that they can assess how much energy bills will cost.  

The certificate must be renewed every 10 years and after making any alterations that might modify the energy efficiency of the property.  

Securing deposits 

Landlords must place deposits into tenancy deposit schemes within 30 days.  

There is only one free, government-approved scheme: The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS). 

If landlords choose to place a tenant’s deposit in the DPS, they must communicate “Prescribed Information” to the tenant.  

Staying on top of admin 

Landlords need to give the official guide “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” to tenants at the beginning of new tenancies, as well as the landlord’s full name and address. 

Additionally, landlords need to provide information to the government, such as their income from rental properties. 

However, landlords also need to get information for themselves. For instance, whether they require a landlord license for their property and whether a prospective tenant has a “right to rent” in the UK. 

Maintaining standards 

Landlords are required to maintain standards in the above areas and more. In order to do this, they often use letting agents, businesses that manage property rentals for landlords. With so many responsibilities to keep track of, this can be an easier way to rent properties.