January 19, 2024

Landlord Certificates: Knowledge Base

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Renting a house is more common than owning one in the UK. While homeowners outnumber renters in most European countries, this is not the case with the UK. A third of the 23.5 million households are renters. These include private and social renters. However, over the past few years, private renters have increased significantly.

As the rental market grows, growing by a massive 300% in just the last two decades, so does the number of landlords. In the UK, landlords have certain rights and responsibilities that need to be understood by landlords and renters to maintain a good working relationship.

Awareness of these rights and responsibilities is also necessary to ensure that all parties involved in a rental contract abide by the law. You do not want to get on the wrong side of the law whether you are a landlord or a renter.

Certificates Required for Landlords

It is just as important, if not more, to know about your responsibility as a landlord as it is to know your rights. Let us focus on the documentation and certificates landlords must acquire throughout their rental contracts under UK law. Here is a comprehensive list of documents that landlords in the UK need:

  • Checking your Tenant’s Immigration Status

It may sound strange; however, checking a tenant’s immigration status is the landlord's responsibility. As a landlord, you check whether a potential tenant is legally cleared to rent property in the UK.

This due diligence will require you to enquire about the citizenship or immigration status of a possible tenant. You must verify documents with local or federal authorities to ensure a tenant knows the truth about their current legal status.

Ask for original documents, like an original British or Irish passport and a certificate of naturalization if needed. Once verified, get copies of the original documents made and record the verification date.

  • Tenancy Deposit Protection

Landlords are legally required to place tenant’s deposit tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. This must be done within 30 days of the tenants providing the deposit. This ensures that the tenants’ deposit money is safe and protected. The government must approve the deposit protection scheme. Additionally, all details regarding the scheme must be disclosed to the tenants so they are fully informed.

  • Ensuring Gas Safety with the CP12

Most properties have a gas connection, and the property owner is responsible for ensuring that the gas connection is in good working condition and there are no leaks. Landlords in the UK must acquire a CP12 gas safety check certificate each year.

Getting the gas safety certificate means inspecting your property by a registered gas safety engineer. The gas safety engineer will thoroughly check all the gas appliances, connections, pipes, and ventilation systems. If everything is in order, they will provide the CP12 certificate, which is a stamp of approval for the gas safety measures for a property.

  • Getting the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Aside from gas, electricity is the other major utility common to most homes. The requirement for an EICR is fairly recent, though an important one. Much like with gas safety, landlords need to hire a capable electrician to survey the electrical system within the property.

The EICR ascertains whether all electrical appliances and connections have been installed properly. A detailed check is conducted to identify potential electrical hazards in the existing electrical system.

An EICR is required every five years, and the inspection needs to be done by a registered electrician, the same as with the gas safety engineer. Landlords must provide their tenants a copy of the EICR within 28 days of the inspection to avoid legal action.

  • Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

A related yet separate inspection must be done for all the portable appliances, like fridges, washing machines, kettles, microwave ovens, and lamps. Electricians test these appliances to make sure all appliances are working well. Any issues detected are labeled as either C1, C2, or C3. C1 is the most serious risk, while C3 is an improvement recommended by the inspector.

Regular PAT means tenants cannot wrongly claim that appliances are not working. It can save landlords a lot of money by preventing tenants from scamming landlords by making false claims.

  • The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement for all kinds of rental properties. The certificate indicates the level of energy efficiency on a property on a scale from A, being the most efficient, to G, being the least efficient.

Tenants can ask for the EPC of the property they are renting anytime. The EPC needs to be renewed every ten years if you have not done any major renovations on the property that may impact the efficiency level with which energy is utilized.

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Property owners must ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and working at all times. Getting an annual gas safety certificate helps; however, it is best to remain vigilant because the detectors may run out of battery at any time. It is good to keep changing the batteries and testing whether the detectors are working on your own accord.

  • Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Environmental health officers conduct this. They determine the level of risk a property poses to the inhabitants. Multiple factors are taken into consideration while assessing the level of risk. Based on the assessment, landlords are provided recommendations to improve their property's health and safety rating.

  • Legionella Risk Assessment

Legionella is a bacterium that regularly occurs in moist areas like pipes and vents. The bacteria can cause infection and breathing issues. This is why it is a cause of serious concern. It is best to get your property checked for the presence of bacteria to be on the safe side.

Ensuring Tenant Safety

Landlords have a lot of rights, but there are plenty of responsibilities that come along with renting a property. As the property owner, all kinds of repairs and safety issues are the landlord's job. It is not just about meeting the legal requirements, good landlords always maximize tenant safety and comfort.

Getting safety certificates is an investment that allows you to keep your property in good condition. It means your property is safe for living, which also adds to the property's value.

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