Health and Safety Standards for Landlords
A summary of what will be expected when renting out your property is provided below:
Energy Performance Certificate/Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES)
Before you can market your property you must to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which gives a property a score based on how energy efficient it is. All new tenants should be given a copy of the current EPC before their tenancy starts.
Since April 2018, new tenancies in England and Wales had to meet the Government's Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) and from 1 April 2020 this requirement includes all existing tenancies. Properties which require an EPC must reach a minimum ‘E' rating or have a valid exemption registered.
The Government has introduced a ‘cost cap', requiring landlords to spend up to £3,500 per property to improve them to the minimum level. If the cost of reaching an E rating is more the landlord should install measures up to the £3,500 cap, then register for an exemption on the basis that "all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E rating". If a local authority believes a landlord has failed to fulfil their obligations under the MEES Regulations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If a breach is confirmed, the landlord may receive a financial penalty.
EPC's are valid for 10 years although you can to get a new one if you carry out some energy improvements. You can check if a property already has a valid EPC, or, if you need to obtain a new certificate you can find a local assessor.
On 1 June 2020 the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force. Landlords have a legal duty to have all electrical installations within a rented property inspected and tested by a competent person at least every 5 years. These regulations apply to all new specified tenancies from 1st July 2020, and existing specified tenancies from 1st April 2021. Following the inspection and testing, the landlord must:
- Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test.
- Supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant within 28 days.
- Supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority.
- Retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next test and inspection.
- Supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant.
Where further investigation or remedial work are required by the report this must be carried out within the time specified by the report and within 28 days from the date of the test. If the Council believes that the landlord is in breach of the requirements, we have a duty to serve a remedial notice. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken within 28 days, we can arrange for the remedial works to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord. We can also impose financial penalties of up to £30,000.
If a landlord provides electrical appliances in rental accommodation Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) must be carried out at least once every year to ensure they are safe.
If the property has gas appliances it will need an annual Landlords Gas Safety Certificate and the landlord must provide a copy of this to the tenants. The check must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. For further information on landlords' responsibilities for gas safety in their rental properties, refer to the Health and Safety Executive website.
Landlords are legally required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their rental properties, which are used as living accommodation. The landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy and should encourage their tenants to regularly test the alarms. It is good practice to keep a record of any fire alarm tests carried out.
Landlords must also ensure that all furniture and furnishings provided are fire safe and comply with the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire and Furnishing (Fire Safety) Regulations.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide
On 1 October 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations came into force, Landlords are legally required:
- to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their rental properties, which are used as living accommodation. The landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, and it is good practice to keep a record of any fire alarm tests carried out.
- to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a solid fuel burning appliances (coal fire, wood burning stove etc.) is used. The landlord must make sure that alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. It is also good practice to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a gas boiler is installed.
If the Council believes that the landlord has not done this as necessary, we have a duty to serve a remedial notice under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken within 28 days, we can arrange for the remedial works to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord. We can also impose financial penalties of up to £5,000.
Last Updated: 17 June 2021