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Why being a compliant landlord is so hard

With so many compliance requirements to keep track of, being a landlord is harder than ever.

Being a landlord is hard.


Homes are expensive, mortgage payments are relentless and tenants can be difficult and on top of this, the increase in regulation has been huge.


At the start of 2020, there were 168 pieces of legislation which English landlords must comply with. 168. This is even more enlightening when you think that since 2010 at least 4 new pieces of regulation have been announced every year.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that landlords find compliance a challenging issue.


The added complication on top of this is that is that being compliant is not only vital in terms of tenant safety but vital when it comes to problem tennants too. Not only are you punished with severe fines but should you want to serve a Section 21 notice - the notice which enables you to reclaim your home from problem tenants - you need to make sure you are up to scratch and up to date!


To serve a Section 21 notice, you must complete form 6a and then serve it according to the following rules. You must have:


Issued:


Should any of this nor be in place and not be provable then the Section 21 notice will be invalid, meaning that you won’t be able to reclaim your home.


And that’s before we even consider licensing.


More and more local councils are introducing licence schemes, and not just for HMO’s (for which a licence is mandatory). Even landlords renting a standard property may need a licence before they can let it out - sio make sure you check with your council to see if your property is within a selective licensing area - for this information check your local authority website.


Campaigners from Generation Rent and Shelter, along with articles such as this in the Bristol post are designed to educate tenants on these various matters so having a reliable, trackable and intelligent way to store your compliance documents is key. Which is what brought about Ark Compliance in the first place.


Landlords constantly get a bad wrap and the constant campaigns by the likes of Shelter and Generation don’t help, that's what making sure that your compliant is essential to stop helping give allegations by organisations such as this any breathing space. 


See below our handy checklist to make sure you stay compliant:


1) Local authority licensing (houses in multiple occupancy) 


Depending on the type, location and occupancy of the property, a license may be required from the properties local authority. It is important that you understand your local authority’s requirements as every borough/council operates its own scheme and there are mandatory and discretionary licenses which may be required. 


2) Right to Rent Checks


Legal obligation to ensure that a tenant and any permitted occupants have the right to remain in the UK before a tenancy commences.


3) Protect tenant’s deposit in a licensed government scheme


This must be done for all Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be protected in a Government approved scheme within 30 days of receipt.


4) Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment


A compulsory review of how energy efficient a property is. It is a legal requirement for landlords to have a valid EPC in place with a minimum band E rating before the property is advertised for let or from April 2020, renewed.


5) Rental Property must be deemed safe


The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRH) is the main tool used by local councils when addressing poor conditions.


5) Annual Gas Safety inspection


An annual gas safety inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer who will issue a Gas Safety Certificate as proof of the inspection.


6) PAT and EICR

The Portable Appliance Test (PAT) ensures all portable electrical appliances in your property are tested and approved as safe to use. The resulting PAT certificate documents the safety testing of portable electrical appliances e.g. fridge/freezer, washing machine, toaster etc.


An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) assesses the safety of the existing electrical installation within a property and describes its condition. The assessment will cover consumer units (fuse boards), protective bonding, lighting, switches, sockets etc.


From 1st July 2020 all new tenancies (including renewals) will need an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) with a rating of ‘satisfactory’. All existing tenancies will need a valid EICR with a rating of ‘satisfactory’ from 1st April 2021.


7) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide regulations

Landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their rental property. They must also have a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms with a solid fuel source.


When new tenants move in one should document that alarms have batteries fitted and are in good working order in preparation of impending tighter Fire safety regulations.


8) Fire Safety Risk Assessment 

Fire safety regulations mean you must take certain precautions for the health and safety of your tenants. It’s in your interest to make sure the home you rent out has been thoroughly assessed for risk of fire.


9) Checks for Legionnaires disease risk

Whilst seen as a niche requirement should any issues arise, this risk assessment must be provable.


10) All furniture supplied by the landlord must meet the standards of the Furniture and Furnishings Regulation 1993


For more information, on what you need to rent out your home visit: https://www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property


Keep track all of your compliance documents in one easy placem getting reminders when they’re due to expire on Ark Compliance.