Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
From 1st October 2008 all rented properties are required by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC must be available for potential tenants’ to view at the time of marketing. Our lettings department can arrange this on your behalf.
The EPC will last for ten years unless the property then undergoes significant improvement work which may affect its energy rating.
Further information is available at www.gov.uk
Utilities and Council Tax
At the start of a new tenancy, our lettings team will write to the council tax office and electricity, gas and water suppliers to provide them with meter readings and the names of the new tenants.
When a landlord moves out of a property, it remains their responsibility to ensure that services and utility companies are notified and provided with their forwarding address for final invoices.
Any utility charges between tenancies remain the landlord’s responsibility.
The tenant is responsible for all charges for electricity, gas or oil (where applicable), water and council tax for the duration of their tenancy. They must also pay for any telephone and internet connections, satellite/cable services, and a television TV licence where applicable. A landlord is not expected to provide internet, satellite or cable facilities within a property, although provision of a standard telephone line is strongly recommended. It is the tenant’s responsibility to find out if these services are available prior to renting a property.
Whilst the legislation for electrical safety is less explicit than that of gas safety, and there is no CORGI equivalent for inspection standards, it is nevertheless a statutory duty for landlords and their agent to ensure that all electrical wiring and equipment present in a rental property, is safe for use and maintained adequately.
Liverpool Selecting Licensing Scheme
Liverpool’s Selective Landlord Licensing scheme launched on 1st April 2015.
The new legislation is compulsory and requires all private landlords to hold a licence.
The 2004 Housing Act requires that the Council can only grant a license to the most appropriate person and they must be in control of the property. There is no definitive guideline; however in a meeting with Liverpool City Council on 26th February 2015 they stated the most appropriate person would be the person/company responsible for collecting the rent and approving the repair process. They accepted that in the case of Managing agents this would be a delegated authority with a spend limit in accordance with the contract in place between the landlord and the managing agent. Liverpool City Council also stressed that in the event of a property falling into disrepair and appropriate remedial action not being undertaken by the agent or the landlord, Liverpool City Council would prosecute both parties.
Mains Installation and Fixed Wiring
The two main Acts of Parliament that impose a statutory duty on Landlords with respect to safety, including electrics, are:
The Consumer Protection Act 1987
The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 Section 11)
The only way a Landlord can check that the electrical installation (the fixed wiring) in their property is safe is by having a Periodic Inspection and Report (PIR) carried out. This inspection identifies any deficiencies against the notional safety standard for electrical installations and issues a report. Any areas that require attention will be detailed in the report, together with a recommendation of remedial works required, if any, in order of priority. It is considered best practice to have a PIR carried out when a property is first prepared for letting and every 5 years thereafter.
There are also several items of secondary legislation under the umbrella of the Consumer Protection Act which are directly relevant to the supply of electrical goods including:
- The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
- The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
- The Plugs and Sockets (safety) Regulations 1994
It is company policy at BASE, that all rental properties must have a valid PAT in place before any tenancy commences. The PAT will then be stored on our system and a copy of the certificate supplied to the tenant. We can arrange for a PAT to be carried out on your behalf. Please contact the office.
The Gas Safety (Installation And Use) Regulations 1998
It is a criminal offence to let premises with gas appliances, installations and pipe-work that have not been checked by a CORGI registered engineer. The certificate must be renewed annually whilst the property remains let. No tenancy can commence until we are in receipt of a valid GSC. We can arrange this on your behalf. If you use your own contractor, we will need proof of their CORGI registration. The GSC will be held on our files, and a copy will be issued to the tenant prior to occupation. Further information can be found on www.hse.gov.uk/gas.
Furniture And Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988
All upholstery and upholstered furnishings supplied as part of the tenancy, must comply with current fire resistance standards. It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine and/or a prison term, to let premises with furniture or soft furnishings that cannot be proven to comply with the Fire Safety Regulations 1998. The regulations apply to the following, which must be match resistant, cigarette resistant, and carry a permanent label:
- all upholstered furniture
- three piece suites
- beds and divans including the upholstered bases
- padded headboards
- furniture with loose or fitted covers
- children’s furniture
- cots and other items used by a baby or small child
- mattresses of any size
- garden furniture which may be used indoors
- items such as carpets and curtains are not included.
- any furniture manufactured prior to 1950 will be exempt provided that they have not been re-upholstered with an illegal filling
- all furnishings must carry the appropriate permanent labels to show that they comply
- any furnishings that do not comply with the regulations must be removed prior to the start of the tenancy.
Oil and Solid Fuel
Although there is no specific legislation applying to oil and solid fuel, we recommend that appliances are serviced regularly to ensure their safety.
Properties built after June 1992 must have mains interlinked smoke detectors on each floor. Although older properties do not fall under these regulations. We recommend that a let property has at least one fully operational battery operated detector on each floor as a minimum requirement.