Whether you are a new landlord or have been in the buy to let business for some time it is essential that you are aware of the five important laws below so that you do not run into any trouble. These laws are enforced and some landlords fall foul of them and end up paying large fines and worse.
1. Are you aware of Section 11?
In the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act there is Section 11 which specifies the legal responsibilities that a landlord has when it comes to maintaining their properties to a good state of repair.
There is no way around Section 11. A landlord cannot just exclude these responsibilities from a tenancy agreement for example). The only exception to the law is if a landlord secures a court order that confirms that they do not have to be responsible for repairs (these are rarely granted).
So what happens if you neglect your property and it falls into a bad state of disrepair? Well your tenant can go to the courts and obtain an injunction that orders the landlord to carry out the necessary repair work. The tenant can also make a claim to be financially compensated due to the lack of repairs.
If the tenant takes any of these actions then they need to be prepared for some kind of revenge from the landlord. It has been known that landlords in this situation press forward with eviction proceedings.
2. Inspection of Properties under the 2004 Housing Act
Did you know that Part 1 of the 2004 Housing Act allows environmental health officers to come and inspect your property to see if it complies with health and safety standards as well as disrepair and overall fitness? Well it does.
If an environmental health inspection uncovers and hazards deemed “category one” then they are mandated to take the appropriate action with the landlord. They will usually obtain an improvement order and if the landlord does not comply then they could face unlimited fines.
Penalty charge notices of up to £30,000 have been issued to landlords that did not comply with the improvement order so you need to take these orders very seriously. There may also be a claim filed for rent repayment as well to deal with.
3. 1998 Regulations on Gas Safety
If you property has gas appliances then you must have these inspected each year. You must also provide a gas safety certificate to all of your tenants. If a new tenant is moving in they must have this certificate prior to doing so.
4. HMO Regulations 2006
If you have an HMO property then you will be bound by the terms of the 2006 Act. It is not just a set of rules for HMO’s that require a license – it is for all HMO’s. Again there are strict regulations about the state of repair of the property and health and safety. Local authorities are the enforcers and again fines are unlimited.
5. 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations
Since 1 April 2018 new rented properties must have an energy performance rating of at least “E”. It is up to either Trading Standards or the local authority to enforce this and there are likely to be some hefty fines for not meeting the minimum standard.