Rent Your Property

Landlord Information

Things new landlords need to know

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document showing the potential carbon footprint and energy efficiency of a property. It rates properties based on a scale of A to G – A in the most efficient and G is the least efficient.

All tenancies in England and Wales that began after 1st April 2018 are required to have a minimum EPC rating of E. All existing tenancies will have to comply by 1st April 2020. The regulations mean that no landlord can let a property with a rating of F or G until the necessary energy efficiency improvements have been done. A local authority could impose financial penalties of up to £4,000 on a landlord if it finds they are in breach of these regulations or unable to prove compliance. 

As a landlord, we advise that you review your property’s EPC rating and undertake any reasonable improvements that may be necessary in order to comply with the law and best practice. It is also important that you check the date the EPC was carried out as they’re only valid for 10 years and you need a valid EPC everytime your property is marketed to let. 

There are anomalies to the above mainly relating to student proeprties.

But don’t panic we can take care of it all for you. If you have any questions regarding the above or require any additional information please do not hesitate to contact us.

We receive many calls throughout the autumn and winter months regarding the development of mildew in properties and have therefore produced the following information to assist tenants and landlords in preventing this problem as in nearly every case where mildew development is reported as a problem we find that the cause is due to ‘lifestyle’.

Mildew is generally caused by a build-up of condensation and stale air. Condensation occurs where moist air comes into contact with air, or a surface, which is at a lower temperature.

Air contains water vapour in varying quantities, its capacity to do so is related to its temperature – warm air holds more moisture than cold air. When moist air comes into contact with either colder air or a colder surface, the air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture and the water is released to form condensation in the air or on the surface.  If the moist air is allowed to ‘escape’ out of the house condensation will not form on surfaces.

The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the house. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities – a 5 person household puts about 10 kg of water into the air every day i.e.

-breathing (asleep) 0.3 kg
-breathing (awake) 0.85 kg
-cooking 3 kg
-personal washing 1.0 kg
-washing and drying clothes 5.5 kg  – every time  one load of washing is dried indoors!
-(1 kg of water equates to about 1 litre)

Condensation is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces (i.e. windows or tiles) but it will form on any surface and it may not be noticed until mould growth or rotting of material occurs.  Classic examples of areas developing mildew are behind wardrobes and beds.  These articles are constantly absorbing moisture and it is therefore wise to move them slightly away from walls to allow air to circulate and minimize condensation.

The effect of moisture generation is made worse by keeping the moist air in the house – it is possible to avoid condensation by adequate heating and ventilation. Usually in certain areas of a house (such as bathrooms and kitchens) the warm air contains a lot of moisture, if that air then spreads to cooler parts of the house, it will condense on any colder surface.

If washing is dried indoors adequate ventilation is needed to allow the condensation produced to escape.

In most cases where we have received reports of mildew in houses we have found, during routine visits and inspections, that no windows have been opened!  We do appreciate many of the reasons given for not having windows open but we cannot emphasize enough that ventilation is the key to condensation prevention and we suggest that if you develop a routine whereby when individuals are in the house at differing times they ensure that windows are opened during occupation and secured if the house is to be left vacant. Another most important fact is that an individual does not have to be residing in a room for condensation to form.  If other people are in the house a vacant room will still develop condensation.  Equally when the house is totally vacated e.g. for holiday periods, if condensation has not been minimized before departure mildew will develop.  Keeping a house sensibly heated will reduce the amount of cold surfaces on which condensation can form.

Patches of mildew that do develop on walls/ceilings, in tile grout and bath seals can easily be cleaned away by the use of a proprietary mildew remover such as Dettox Mould & Mildew remover This product can be purchased at most supermarkets.

An EICR is a certificate that verifies that your property is safe for your tenants. The EICR must be carried out by a qualified electrician. An EICR is required as part of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rental Sector (England) Regulations 2020

 
An 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. The report will assess if the electrics meet current standards, specifically British Standard ‘BS 7671:2018’ (known in the trade as the 18th edition) and has been in effect since January 2019.
 
What is my responsibility as a landlord?
Landlords must obtain a valid EICR with a ‘satisfactory’ rating from a qualified electrician and this must be given to the prospective tenant before their tenancy agreement commences, or to existing tenants within 28 days of the electrical inspection. If a local authority requests an EICR report, it must be provided within seven calendar days.
 
How long is an EICR valid for?
If the condition of all of these is deemed ‘satisfactory’, the report is usually valid for five years unless the electrician deems it necessary to issue a certificate for a shorter time.
 
What is the difference between a PAT and EICR?
A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) documents safety testing of only portable electrical appliances e.g. fridge/freezer, washing machine, toaster. An EICR assesses all the fixed electrical fittings and installation.
 
Why do I need an EICR on a renewal?
Under the regulations a renewal is treated as a new tenancy, so any renewals commencing from 1st July 2020 must also comply with the new regulations.
 
What if my EICR comes back with a rating of ‘unsatisfactory’?
Where a report rates the electrics as ‘unsatisfactory’, the regulations require the landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work by a qualified person within 28 days, or sooner if specified in the report.
 
Unsatisfactory codes shown on the EICR report can include:
 
C1 Danger present, risk of injury, immediate remedial action required
C2 Potentially Dangerous, urgent remedial action required
F1 Further investigation required
Landlords are legally required to make sure all the gas appliances, fittings and any chimneys or flues are safe for tenants.
 
What is a gas safety certificate?
A gas safety certificate (or record) is the document you receive after a gas safety inspection or check has been carried out. A check must happen every year and it is not allowed to lapse.  
 
A gas safety certificate can also be called an LSR, GSR or CP12.
 
If you are a landlord renting out a property, you must have the gas safety inspection carried out by a qualified gas engineer and the engineer must be registered on the gas safe register. The engineer will record all the details of the gas fittings and appliances and provide copies of their report to both landlord and tenants. The engineer will complete a visual check on all the property’s gas appliances, accessible pipework and flues.
 
Do I need a gas safety certificate?
If the property has gas, you need a certificate.
 
What must be included on a gas safety record form?
 
The certificate will be in the form of a record or report. The information may be presented slightly differently for each company or engineer, but must at least include:
 
  • A description and location of each appliance, flue or chimney the engineer has checked
  • The name, registration number, and signature of the engineer
  • The date of the inspection
  • The address of the property being checked
  • The landlord’s (or their agent’s) name and address
  • The results of the operational safety checks carried out on the appliances
  • A record of any safety defects the engineer has found
  • A description of any actions taken or required to fix defects found

A Carbon monoxide alarm is a legal requirement in a property where there is a solid fuel burning appliance. The alarm must be in the same room as the appliance and should be within 5 metres of it. A landlord is responsible to check that the Carbon Monoxide alarm is working at both the start and the end of the tenancy. Failure to comply can result in a fine up to £5000, so it is important to ensure that they are checked and are working and in date. It is also good practise to have a Carbon Monoxide alarm in the same room as any gas appliances, although this is not a legal requirement. 

A landlord is responsible to have building insurance on their property which includes public liability insurance as well. If the property is furnished, the landlord also needs to have contents insurance for these items if they wish for them to be covered. We would also recommend to get accidental damage cover included.

Some houses of multiple occupancy require an HMO license. The property would require a licence if it is rented to 5 or more people who form more than one household and has shared kitchen/bathroom facilities, with one of more tenant paying rent. HMO properties do also have extra regulations to residential properties which need to be adhered too and these can differ depending on the property. The council will advise you on these regulations. HMO licences need to be renewed every five years. 

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