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9.04.21

Checklist for Landlords at the start of a tenancy in England

There are several things that a landlord must do at the start of a tenancy in order to comply with the law. The main requirements are as follows:

1. Right to rent
You must check that tenants are aged 18 or over and have the right to live in the UK before the start of a new tenancy. Immigration status can be identified by checking and taking copies of tenant’s identity documents. Acceptable forms of ID include UK passports, EEA passport, identity cards, permanent residence cards or travel documents showing indefinite leave to remain. Landlords who do not carry out the right to rent check could be fined up to £3,000 per tenant.

2. Deposit Protection
Protect the tenants’ deposit in a Government approved Custodial or Insured deposit protection scheme and provide the tenants with the details, within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. There is a limit on the amount of security deposit that a landlord can require, it is currently capped at 5 weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000.

3. Government’s Guidance “How to Rent”
A landlord must provide the tenants with the current version of the Government’s booklet “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” which you can find on www.gov.uk

4. EPC Certificate
A valid EPC must be given to the tenant prior to the start of the tenancy. If a landlord fails to provide their tenant with an EPC before they move into the property, it can affect the ability to evict their tenant in the future. A Section 21 notice is not considered valid unless the tenant has received a valid EPC.

5. Health and Safety
Landlords are required to keep their rental properties safe and free from health hazards. In particular, it is a legal requirement that landlords carry out a risk assessment of the property that assesses the risk of exposure to legionella. The assessments must identify and assess potential sources of exposure, and take steps to prevent/control any risk that is identified.

6. Gas Safety
A valid Gas Safe certificate must be provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy and each year when the annual gas safety check is carried out. All checks must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

7. Electrical Safety
Landlords are legally required to ensure that ‘fixed’ electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified electrician at least every 5 years. Landlords must also ensure that electrical appliances are safe and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.

8. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
It is a legal requirement to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm installed in all rooms where solid fuel is used and check that they are working before the tenant moves in to the property.

9. Fire Resistant Standard
If you are renting the property furnished, you will need to ensure that your furniture conforms to the legal fire resistant standard.

10. Prescribed Information
It is a requirement of the tenancy deposit scheme for landlords to provide certain information to tenants either as part of the Tenancy Agreement or on a separate form. There is a template available at www.depositprotection.com

If you would like advice on landlord responsibilities or what to do in the event of a dispute, please get in touch with your usual contact, via our contact form https://www.wansbroughs.com/contact/ or email josh.taylor@wansbroughs.com