Standards and guidance for landlords
Listed below is a range of information aimed at assisting landlords and managing agents of private rented property.
How to guides
How to rent – a guide for current and prospective tenants
How to rent a safe home – a guide for current and prospective tenants
How to let – a guide for current and prospective private residential landlords
How to lease – a guide for current and prospective leaseholders
Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities (PDF, 583KB)
The Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018
The Homes – Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen tenants’ means of redress against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe.
Under the Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended to require all landlords (private and social) to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Act states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation.
Where a landlord fails to meet the terms of the Act, the tenant has the right to take action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation. The remedies available to the tenant are an order by the court requiring the landlord to take action to reduce or remove the hazard, and / or damages to compensate them for having to live in a property which was not fit for human habitation. More information on the act can be found on the Gov.uk website.
Protecting tenants deposits
The Government is bringing forward new rules that require all private rented property agents to sign up to approved schemes to protect renters` and landlords` money. Under the regulation, which take effect from 1 April, agents could face fines of up to £30,000 if they fail to sign up to one of the Government approved schemes.
The new requirement on agents to join an approved client money protection (CMP) scheme is intended to stop tenants and landlords being left out of pocket when uninsured agents unexpectedly go bankrupt or abscond with their money, giving people reassurance that their money is safe while it is with their agent.
The schemes that have so far received government approval are: CM Protect, UKALA, NALS, ARLA Propertymark and Money Shield.
Guidance on Right to Rent
On 16 October 2020 the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published an updated step-by-step guide for any landlord of private residential property in England to determine whether a prospective tenant has the right to rent that property. More information can be found on the Gov.UK website.
Universal Credit Information for landlords
The following links provide landlords with the guidance and information they need should their tenant be claiming Universal Credit.
Electrical and Gas Safety Guidance
It is now illegal to rent a property that does not achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of band E (SAP 38) or above. Please note that most electrically heated properties will not be able to achieve this basic rating. You can find the energy efficiency rating of any property by postcode.
Minimum energy efficiency standard
The Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) was introduced in March 2015 by Part 3 of the Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015. The Regulations were introduced to tackle the least energy efficient properties in England and Wales which are rated F or G on their EPC.
The Regulations establish a minimum standard of EPC band E for both domestic and non-domestic private rented properties affecting new tenancies and renewals since 1 April 2018.
You can find guidance and advice on the regulations on the gov.uk website.
Fire Safety in residential accommodation
Housing Health Safety Rating System
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS or the Rating System) was introduced under the Housing Act 2004. It is a risk based assessment of the potential risks to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings during a property inspection. There are 29 hazards that deficiencies can be assessed and scored against, which depending on the outcome of the assessment can result in either a Category 1 or Category 2 hazard. Category 1 hazards are more serious and we have a duty to take a course of action. For less serious hazards, e.g. Category 2 hazards, we have the power to take necessary action.
However, in line with our Enforcement policy, we will work with the Landlord in the first instance to provide an opportunity for them to carry out remedial works to remove or reduce the hazards before enforcement is considered, such as serving a Hazard Awareness Notice, Improvement Notice or Prohibition Notice. In the case of imminent risk of harm, there are emergency action options available.
Damp and mould growth
| Pollutants (non-microbial)
Asbestos (and MMF)
Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
Uncombusted fuel gas
Volatile organic compounds
| Space, security, light and noise
Crowding and space
Entry by intruders
Protection against infection
Falls associated with baths
Falling on level surfaces etc
Falling on stairs etc
Falling between levels
| Electric shocks, fires, burns and scalds
Flames, hot surfaces etc
| Collisions, cuts and strains
Collision and entrapment
Position and operability of amenities
Structural collapse and falling elements
The Private Sector Housing team have recently been asked questions concerning what responsibilities landlords have in respect of the control and management of the risks associated with legionella. The following statement has been obtained from the HSE and applies to all landlords who provide residential accommodation:
“Landlords who provide residential accommodation, as the person in control of the premises or responsible for the water system in their premises, have a legal duty to ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is properly assessed and controlled. This duty extends to residents, guests, tenants and customers. They can carry out a risk assessment themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is.”
Property Redress Scheme
National Landlords Association (NLA)
As a landlord operating in Cheshire West and Chester, you have the opportunity to become a member of the National Landlords Association. Being a member of the NLA allows you to have access to template documents such as: tenancy agreements and rent arrears letters.
Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
You may decide instead to become a member of the Residential Landlords Association which provides you with similar benefits as to the NLA.
Other useful links