Licensing and legislation are two very important aspects of the letting process which all landlords need to be aware of and to also understand.
First things first, what is selective licensing? Selective licensing are council-led schemes with the aim to ensure landlords are fit and proper persons, as well as setting out stipulations over the management of the property and that they adhere to appropriate safety standards. These schemes have been introduced all over the UK in areas such as Salford, Liverpool and various London boroughs including Croydon, Redbridge and Newham.
Landlords must find out whether their investment property is located in area which is covered by a scheme. In the first instance, it is worthwhile checking with the local council to see if this applicable to them. Landlords in London can use the London Property Licencing website: https://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/
What must landlords do?
If you find out that your investment property is in a selective licensing area, your council will have an application form to apply for a licence, which will need to be completed. The fees for a licence for tend to be around £400 to £600 for an ordinary flat or house occupied by one family. Licence fees vary across different local authorities. The council may want to see copies of safety certificates and to know the location of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as details of your tenants and tenancy agreements. A licence lasts five years.
Legislation can be defined as a law or set of laws passed in Parliament and the process of giving or getting official permission to do something. Due to the nature of the property market and more specifically the lettings market, legislation regarding this sector is ever-evolving. Over the past 12 months 18 months various pieces of new and updated legislation has come into force, which all landlords should be familiar with.
Changes to Houses in Multiple Occupation Rules
Some crucial changes to the mandatory HMO guidelines have been implemented, which has seen the introduction of minimum sizes for bedrooms, and the 3 or more-storey rule has been abolished – so all properties will be required to obtain an HMO licence if the property is occupied by five or more individuals* and makes up more than one household.
Homes (fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 makes it clear that landlords must ensure that their property, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and throughout.
Furniture and furnishing regulations
If you are furnishing your rented property, you must ensure that all furnishings comply with these regulations and display standard labels in a prominent position. This is to reduce the risk of fire within the property.
You are required to ensure that any electrical devices within the property are safe for use. We recommend an Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenants to make sure your water supply is working properly to protect them from Legionella.
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