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Information for landlords

2. Commencing a tenancy

Before the start of a new tenancy, it is now a legal requirement for all landlords to check whether any tenants who will be residing at the property aged 18 and over are legally allowed to rent. There may be some exemptions to this legal requirement in certain types of accommodation. You can check your tenant's right to rent on the GOV.UK website.

Once the necessary ‘Right to Rent’ checks have been completed and assuming it is legal to do so, landlords must provide new tenants with a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ checklist.

Deposits

Landlords must protect any deposit paid by the tenants in a Government approved tenancy deposit scheme. There are only 3 of these schemes available, more information about this can be found on the GOV.UK website. A copy of the certificate establishing where the deposit is being held must also be provided to the tenants.

Gas safety checks

With regard to gas appliances, landlords are legally required to ensure an annual gas safety check is carried out within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance or flue provided and annually thereafter by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Landlords must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to the existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in. Landlords must also provide any new tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property to be rented out.

Smoke detectors

It is now a legal requirement for all privately rented properties to have smoke detection installed on each level. If there are solid fuel burning appliances (e.g. a log burning fire) within the property also, carbon monoxide alarms are also required to be installed.

Landlords should ensure that any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms are working at the start of the tenancy. Tenants are then advised to test any such alarms also on a monthly basis thereafter.

Failure for smoke detection and/or carbon monoxide alarms to be installed where required may result in the Local Authority serving a remedial notice on a landlord requiring the relevant alarm(s) to be installed within 28 days.

Failure to comply with such a notice may result in remedial action being taken by the Authority, for which the landlord would be charged, and the ability for the Authority to issue a fixed penalty notice for the amounts specified below which would be required to be paid within 28 days:

  • first offence - £1000 (£500 if paid within 14 days)
  • second offence and offences thereafter - £5000

More advice and information for landlords about renting can be found on the GOV.UK website.