What Safety Certificates Do Landlords Need?
Published by The Landsite on 12th June 2021 -
Before a tenancy can commence, landlords have a host of legal responsibilities to meet to protect themselves and their tenants. A range of safety checks must be completed, and documentary evidence supplied to the tenant to confirm they have been done.
If landlords fail to comply with this legal responsibility, they could potentially put their tenants in unnecessary danger and face prosecution.
To help you comply with the law, here is a checklist of the certificates and safety inspections needed.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
The EPC, which reviews and grades your property's energy performance, is one of the most enforced certificates in the rental market. If you don't obtain an EPC before your property is tenanted, you could be fined up to £5000. An EPC pass grade is 'E'; if your property fails this, it is legally unrentable.
As a landlord, you must provide prospective tenants with the EPC either at the viewing or before the tenancy agreement is signed. Certificates are valid for ten years, but you can apply for a new one if you make energy-saving improvements to your property during this period.
Need help? Find businesses who can help with EPC Certification for commercial and domestic properties here:
Electrical safety certificate
Half of all UK house fires accidental in nature are caused by faulty wiring, and over 65 people die due to faulty wiring every year. Landlords have a duty of care to make sure that the electrical installations in their properties are safe.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force in June 2020 as part of the government's wider work to improve safety in all residential premises, particularly in the private rented sector.
Landlords are required to have all the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years, bringing all privately rented properties into line with houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) inspection looks at all fixed electrical parts of the property, such as the fuse box, light fittings, plug sockets and wiring, and permanent fixtures like air conditioning units and extractor fans.
A qualified electrician must complete the EICR. The report must then be given to existing tenants within 28 days and new tenants at the start of their tenancy. Any remedial work that is reported must be completed within 28 days or less.
Although certification is not legally required, all supplied electrical appliances, such as fridge, kettles, washing machines, etc., must be in safe working order. Having an electrician undertake Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) at each change of tenancy will help you ensure everything is working as it should.
The cost of an EICR can depend on the size of your property and the age of the electrics; older properties with outdated electrics may take longer to test. Expect to pay £100-£230 (for a flat) and £150-£300+ (for a house). PAT testing costs depend on the number of appliances being checked but are usually between £30 and £80.
Gas safety certificate
It is a legal requirement to have a registered Gas Safety Engineer check gas appliances, fittings, chimneys, flues and pipework annually.
Once completed, the engineer will provide you with a CP12 certificate that lists all the checks carried out. This must be provided to new tenants when their tenancy starts and to existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection, and you must keep these records for a minimum of two years.
Find a Gas Safety Engineer near you - check the Gas Safe Register.
Need help finding fire and safety services for your property? Find businesses throughout the UK here:
Proof of deposit protection
Your tenants' deposits must be 'protected' in a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) until they move out of your property. The scheme keeps their money safe and makes sure you can return what they are owed at the end of their tenancy.
When you receive a tenant's deposit, it must be placed in a government-backed TDP within 30 days. You must inform your tenant how and where their deposit is being held, how to contact the TPD, the terms under which you as the landlord can deduct money at the end of their tenancy and how they apply to get their deposit back.
If you do not use a TPD and do not supply the required information to your tenants, you could be fined up to three times the value of the deposit.
In England and Wales, there are three TDP options:
How to rent: the checklist for renting in England
In England, landlords must provide tenants with an up-to-date copy of 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England'.
Landlords – Looking for professional guidance & advice? Find information here:
Other safety measures
Several essential health and safety measures do not require certification, but must legally be met for your tenants' safety.
· Install one smoke alarm (minimum) on each storey of a building used as accommodation
· Install a carbon monoxide monitor in occupied rooms that house a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a wood burner or open fire
· Check all alarms are working before a new tenancy starts
· Ensure that any furniture provided meets the fire-resistant requirements Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
· Provide fire extinguishers in HMOs.
Need help finding fire and safety services for your commercial property or property development? Search here for services here https://www.thelandsite.co.uk/professional-services/fire-safety
Legionella risk assessment
Legionnaire's disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, is caused by the legionella bacteria, which typically breeds in air conditioning, heating systems, and water pipes. As the landlord, you may be liable to prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act if a tenant were to contract Legionnaires disease from the water system in your property.
Landlords must carry out a risk assessment under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002). The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on the steps landlords need to take.
In most residential settings, the risks are generally considered low, but it is important to implement simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures to ensure it stays that way.
Tenants must be advised of any control measures that need to be maintained, e.g., regularly clean showerheads, and to inform the landlord about any problems with the system so that appropriate action can be taken.
In most cases, landlords can assess the risk themselves, but you must be able to prove you have risk assessed their property and are controlling the highlighted risks to keep people safe.
While landlords are not legally required to provide tenants with a copy of their landlord insurance, it is best practice to advise them of anything they need to cover themselves. Most tenants should take out home contents insurance to protect their belongings in the event of a fire, flood, theft or damage, and consider accidental damage insurance to protect their deposit.
Need help finding insurance? Businesses who can help with commercial and domestic insurance and build warranty services - click here: https://www.thelandsite.co.uk/professional-services/insurance-building-warranties
In summary, your legal safety requirements as a landlord are:
· Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
· Electrical safety certificate
· Gas safety certificate
· Proof of deposit protection
· How to rent: the checklist for renting in England (see links for requirements in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)
· Fire safety
· Legionella risk assessment
Need help finding legal advice ? Businesses who can help with this search here: https://www.thelandsite.co.uk/professional-services/legal-services
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