The legals for landlords – what certificates do you need?

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2016 at 09:08

The legals for landlords – what certificates do you need?

Buying property to let can be a lucrative investment for landlords, but getting it wrong can also be costly. With legislation changing all the time, it can be hard to keep up. We take a closer look at the certificates you’ll need to have in place as a landlord in 2016.

Gas safety certificate

The purpose of the gas safety certificate is to demonstrate that all gas pipework, flues and appliances within a property are well maintained and in a safe condition. By law, an inspection must be carried out annually and you should keep a record of all safety checks and certificates for future reference. Any checks, installations, maintenance or repairs must be carried out by a gas safe registered engineer. A list of Kent-based contractors can be found here.

Electrical safety certificates

As a landlord you must ensure that all electrical installations (e.g. sockets and light fittings) are fully functioning and safe. This is not only when your tenants move in, but throughout the duration of the tenancy. A registered electrician will be able to supply you with the necessary NICEIC certificates on the day of inspection. All appliances supplied with the property and included on the inventory – for example cookers and kettles – must at least have a CE marking, which is the manufacturer’s verification that the appliance meets all the requirements of European law.

Note: For HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation), a periodic inspection and test must be carried out by a registered electrician every three years or upon the the change of tenancy.

Energy performance certificate

Unless your property is exempt, every property built, sold or let since 1st October 2008 requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC measures the energy efficiency of your property and without one, you’re liable for a fine of up to £5,000. Make sure you instruct a qualified domestic energy assessor to carry out your property assessment. See here for a directory of registered contractors across Kent.

Note: Currently, a property can be let regardless of its energy rating. However, from 1st April 2018, you will only be able to offer your property for rent if it has a rating of E or above. 

Fire safety measures

As part of your obligations as a landlord, you must be able to demonstrate that you have complied with the following fire safety measures wherever possible:

  • ensure your tenants have access to escape routes at all times
  • ensure all fixtures and furnishings you supply with the tenancy include the appropriate labelling, such as the flame retardant symbol or British Standard (BS) rating
  • provide fire alarms. For HMOs, you will also need to supply fire extinguishers
  • install smoke alarms on every storey of a building which includes ‘living’ rooms, for example a lounge, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, toilet or kitchen.
  • provide carbon monoxide detectors in any ‘living’ rooms which contain a solid fuel burning appliance. For example, a solid fuel Aga in a kitchen, or a wood burning stove or open fire in a lounge.


Proof of deposit protection  

If you take a cash deposit for a tenancy which commenced on or after 6th April 2007, you are legally required to protect it in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. Although we are pleased to say this isn’t the case at Redlet, the purpose of a deposit scheme is to protect tenants’ deposits from being unfairly kept by rogue landlords. There are three schemes you can use: MyDeposits, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, or the Deposit Protection Service, which we use at Redlet. You must protect the deposit within 30 days of receipt and provide your tenant with the relevant paperwork. Failure to do this can lead to a fine of up to three times the amount of the deposit.

Note: Failing to protect the deposit will mean you will not be unable to serve your tenant notice to begin eviction proceedings.

Letting a property may seem a daunting prospect at first, but following the above advice will help you to enjoy a safe, stress-free tenancy as you watch your investment grow.


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