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A guide to the landlords statutory obligations

There are four main statutory obligations which govern the Landlord regarding the maintenance

of the property:

  • Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
  • The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
  • The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994
  • Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

This imposes a three-fold covenant on the Landlord, together with an implied right to view the condition and state of repair of the property on giving the Tenant 24 hours notice in writing and to permit the tenant “quiet enjoyment” of the property. In brief, the landlord must keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes: the Landlord is obliged to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation. This includes basins, sinks, baths and lavatories but does not include fixtures and fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity services. Finally, the Landlord is required to keep installations in the property for space heating and heating water in repair and proper working order but NOT to provide them if they are not there.

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

There are a number of pieces of legislation which relate to the supply and maintenance of electrical equipment, household appliances and/or the cables, plugs and sockets which connect them. The basic concept is that a landlord has a duty to ensure that any such items supplied as part of a property letting are ‘safe’. This could be extended to include the mains supply.

This is to minimise the risk of injury, death or damage to property.

While there is not a specific statutory requirement placed upon a landlord to prove that such items are regularly checked or tested, it is recommended that you have all electrical goods and equipment tested by a qualified electrician before the property

is let and periodically thereafter.

Gas Safety Regulations

New legislation has been introduced for gas safety with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 (Amended 1st October 1998). These are now in force which place duties on gas consumers, installers, suppliers and landlords.

By law, all landlords are responsible for making sure that appliances are maintained in good order and checked for safety at least every 12 months. This must be carried out by a competent installer registered with the Council for registered gas installers (CORGI), who will be required to inform both landlord and tenant when a dangerous appliance has been identified. Landlords will be legally obliged to keep a record of safety checks and tenants must receive a copy of such reports.

Substantial penalties may be imposed on landlords who fail to comply with these regulations and these could include large

fines and possible imprisonment.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993.

Although this Act relates to furnished accommodation and your property may be unfurnished at present you need to be aware

of the regulations should you decide at any time in future to offer furnished accommodation.

The regulations came into force in March 1993. Broadly speaking, the regulations require that all soft furnishings, upholstery

or upholstered furnishings which includes beds, mattresses, pillows, settees, armchairs, scatter cushions and bean bags should conform and comply with earlier fire regulations which have been in force for some time, controlling the sale of such goods.

The furnishing must comply with the following three tests, each of which measures the flame retardant properties of the furnishings. The cigarette test, the match test, the ignitability test.

There was a transitional period for furniture supplied prior to 1st March 1993 in that it could continue to be used in the same property until 31 December 1996. However, after 1 January 1997 all furniture must comply with these regulations. Failure to comply can result in a term of imprisonment, a fine or both. As with many regulations, there are exceptions and period or antique furniture is not included in these requirements. Regulation 4 of the 1988 Regulations therefore states that furniture manufactured before 1 January 1950 is exempt from the requirements.

Energy Performance Certificates

1 October 2008 Energy Performance Certificates were introduced.

Landlords are legally obliged to provide a valid EPC to potential tenants each time a property is offered for rent from 1st October 2008. These will be valid for 10 years and do not need to be renewed with each change of tenancy. The tests are a mechanism for rating a property in terms of energy efficiency and environmental impact. The tests will be carried out by accredited Domestic Energy Assessors.  

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