LANDLORDS LEGISLATION UPDATE
There’s one thing that never changes for landlords, and that is rental property regulations and legislation never remain the same.
This has certainly been true for landlords over the last couple of years. There has been a raft of Government legislation impacting on landlords letting out buy-to-let investment property.
Property Hawk has therefore pulled together some of the main bits of legislation so that landlords can ensure that they are letting their investment property legally.
1. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) brought about by the 2004 Housing Act introduced from the 6th April 2007 a mandatory system for all assured shorthold tenancy deposits.
No longer are landlords able to hold rental deposits independently. Instead landlords must choose between a:
Custodial scheme or Insurance scheme (there are two)
Click here for more information on the Tenancy Deposit Scheme providers.
2. Section 213 Prescribed Information
This little known aspect of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has already caught some landlords out. It requires that landlords that take a tenancy deposit provide their tenants with certain prescribed information
within 14 days of a landlord taking the deposit. Failure to provide the tenant with the correct prescribed information could lead to a financial penalty of 3 times the amount of the tenancy deposit taken.
For a full list of the information required have a look at statutory instrument 797 of 2007.
REMEMBER landlords are now able to use our FREE prescribed information form which is only available to Property Hawks registered users and is contained within the Forms section of the Property Manager.
FREE SOLICITOR PREPARED TENANCY AGREEMENT
3. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Licensing
The Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations have sought to clarify what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation. Should a landlord let a property that is one of these types it will be classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
From 6th April 2006 landlords have needed to apply for a licence from their local authority if their House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) property falls within the scope of one of the following schemes:
- Mandatory Licensing
- Discretionary ‘Additional’ Licensing
- Transitional Licensing Schemes (TLS)
- Discretionary ‘Selective’ Licensing
Mandatory licensing is the most significant category. It requires a landlord to register if they have a HMO and the following applies:
The investment property comprises of three or more storeys which have five or more occupants (forming two or more households). The only exception relates to buildings converted into fully self contained flats. When counting the storeys of a building, a landlord must include loft conversions and basements with a ‘habitable use’ (including basements used as an integral part of the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) such as utility rooms).
View a list of the Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMO ) licensing fees or alternatively contact your local authority.
For more details on Houses In Multiple Occupation ( HMO ) licensing
4. Gas Safety
Landlords should remember that if they have any installed gas appliances the landlord will automatically be subject to the provisions of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Act 1988. This states that a landlord is responsible for having gas pipe work and gas appliances certified as being in safe working condition.
Landlords must make sure the Gas Safety inspection process is carried out at least once a year and by a Gas Safetyregistered tradesperson. These Gas Safety inspections shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours and plumbers charge landlords either by gas appliance or time.
5. Furniture & fittings
From the 1st January 1997 all furniture in tenanted residential property must comply with the 1993 amendments to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 which extends the scope of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA). This covers the supplying (hiring or lending) of specified goods (upholstered furniture and certain furnishings) "in the course of business".
For more information on the regulations affecting the letting of investment property have a look at the Landlords Bible.
At Property Hawk our mission is simple. To help UK landlords:
by keeping landlords informed, saving landlords money and saving landlords time.