Stay Compliant: Key Lettings Legislation for Estate Agents in England
As an estate agency, it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest lettings legislation in England to ensure that you are operating legally and providing your clients with the best service possible. Lettings legislation can be complex and subject to change, so in this blog, we will provide an overview of the key regulations that you need to be aware of.
The following are the most significant regulations that lettings agents and landlords must follow in England:
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Since April 2007, landlords and lettings agents have been required to protect tenants' deposits under one of three government-approved deposit protection schemes within 30 days of receiving them. The schemes are:
- Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
If a deposit is not protected, tenants can take legal action to claim up to three times the deposit amount.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Since April 2018, landlords have been required to provide tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for their property. The EPC provides information on the energy efficiency of the property and must be provided to tenants at the start of the tenancy.
Landlords are required to have an annual gas safety check carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure that all gas appliances and pipework are safe. A copy of the gas safety certificate must be provided to tenants before they move in, and any new tenants must receive a copy within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Since October 2015, landlords have been required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with solid fuel appliances. The alarms must be tested at the start of each tenancy, and tenants must be provided with instructions on how to test them regularly.
Right to Rent Checks
Landlords and lettings agents are required to carry out right-to-rent checks on all tenants to ensure that they have the legal right to rent in the UK. This involves checking the tenant's immigration status and documents, such as passports or visas. Failure to carry out the checks can result in a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant.
If you're renting out a property to three or more tenants who aren't part of the same household and sharing facilities, it's likely that the property will be classified as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). In this case, landlords must have an HMO license and comply with additional safety requirements.
Since July 2020, landlords have been required to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out by a qualified electrician on their property every five years. Any electrical safety issues identified in the report must be addressed within 28 days.
Lettings legislation in England can be complex, but it's essential that estate agents and landlords understand their responsibilities and comply with the relevant regulations. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and legal action, as well as damaging your reputation as a reputable agency. By staying up-to-date with the latest regulations, you can provide your clients with professional service and peace of mind.
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