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Standards and guidance for landlords

Information during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Additional information for landlords has been issued including repairs, safety checks, evictions and inspections.

Latest information for landlords and tenants

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

Energy Performance 

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.

Physiological requirements

 
Hygrothermal conditions

Damp and mould growth

Excess cold

Excess heat

 Pollutants (non-microbial)                                    

 Asbestos (and MMF)

Biocides

Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products

Lead

Radiation

Uncombusted fuel gas

Volatile organic compounds

Psychological requirements

 Space, security, light and noise

Crowding and space                 

Entry by intruders

Lighting

Noise

Protection against infection

 Falls

Falls associated with baths

Falling on level surfaces etc

Falling on stairs etc

Falling between levels

 Electric shocks, fires, burns and scalds

Electrical hazards

Fire

Flames, hot surfaces etc

 Collisions, cuts and strains

Collision and entrapment

Explosions

Position and operability of amenities

Structural collapse and falling elements

Legionella update

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.”

  • HSE website - provides guidance on managing the risks.

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

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