What you need to know to keep tenants safe, and yourself on the right side of the law:
Since 2008, it has been a legal requirement to have an Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC prior to letting your property. This certificate, which costs £70+vat, tells prospective tenants how economical it is to heat and light the property, with an “A” grade being most efficient and a “G” grade the least. Most properties, according to government figures, fall into the “D” category. EPCs have to be renewed every 10 years.
Purchase an EPC
Gas and electrical safety certificates
Every rental property must be checked and declared safe every twelve months by a registered engineer. The main risk of gas appliances comes from carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurs by poorly maintained boilers, gas fires and inadequate ventilation.
Purchase a Gas Safety Certificate
You should also carry out regular inspections of fixed electrical installations - like sockets and light fittings, every five years. You should also arrange, at least once a year, for a qualified electrician to carry out a portable appliance testing (PAT) safety test on any portable electrical equipment you provide for tenants, like kettles. The PAT tester will give you a dated certificate and put stickers on the plugs of appliances to show that they are safe.
If you’re renting out a private home you, somewhat surprisingly, don’t have to ensure by law that the property has a smoke alarm (it’s different for properties with an HMO status). But there is a moral obligation as well as a sensible route to protecting your investment. People who live in rented accommodation are, on average, seven times more likely to start a fire according to the Government. So not only ensure there is a fire alarm in the property, but show your tenants how to test it. Furniture must be fire-resistant: check to see if there is a logo featuring a match, cigarette or exclamation mark in a green or red triangle or square.
Carbon monoxide detector
Again, you don’t have to, but you ought to buy and install one of these - they cost around £30 - and make sure it’s tested each year.