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Accommodation Service

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Landlord best practices

The UK Government website – Gov.uk – provides detailed guidance for landlords to help keep properties safe and within the law.

Below is a collection of links that highlights some things we've learned landlords need to know. This list is not complete, and this is not a legal document. It is up to the landlord to make sure they comply with relevant legislation.

Here is the gov.uk guide for renting out your property in England and Wales.

Further guidance can be found under "Your landlord's safety responsibilities" guidance for private tenants.

Housing Audit Services is a local Cambridge company offering services to support private rented sector landlords and property managers to ensure that they avoid the common pitfalls of renting.

The Immigration Act 2014 included a new legal requirement for landlords renting private accommodation to check a prospective tenant has a valid immigration status to be in the UK. The rules have been implemented in the West Midlands but are not currently applicable to landlords renting accommodation in Cambridge or the surrounding areas. If and when checks are introduced nationally, further information will be provided on these webpages. Please contact the Accommodation Service if further clarification is required at this time. 

Landlord responsibilities

You're a landlord if you rent out your property. This means you have responsibilities, including:

  • Checking your tenant's right to rent
  • Keeping your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
  • Making sure all gas and electrical equipment you supply is safely installed and maintained
  • Following fire safety regulations
  • Providing an Energy Performance Certificate for the property if applicable
  • Protecting your tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme if applicable
  • Complying with carbon monoxide & smoke detector Regulations
  • Complying with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

Right to rent immigration checks from 1 February 2016

It is a legal requirement for landlords renting out private accommodation to check documentation to ensure a prospective tenant has valid permission to be in the UK. Failure to do so could lead to a financial penalty of up to £3000 per tenant. This requirement applies to tenancies agreed on or after 1 February 2016. Tenancies signed before this date are not affected as long as there is no break in the tenancy agreement. All adults (aged 18 and over) living in the property should be checked regardless of whether they are named on the tenancy. The ‘Check your tenant’s right to rent’ GOV.UK webpages provide further guidance for landlords. If a student is arranging a tenancy in advance from overseas, these can be agreed in principle as long as document checks are carried out before the property is occupied. 

Gas safety responsibilities

"Your landlord must:

  • Make sure gas equipment they supply is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registeredengineer
  • Have a registered engineer carry out a gas safety on each appliance and/or flue annually
  • Give you a copy of the gas safety check record before you move in, or within 28 days of the check "

Energy Performance Certificates

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is:

  • Built
  • Sold
  • Rented

You must have an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent. For a list of local Domestic Energy Assessors or to check an existing EPC, please visit www.epcregister.com/

Tenancy deposit protection schemes

"In England and Wales, if you rent out your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, you must place your tenants' deposit in one of the following tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes:"

Carbon monoxide & smoke detectors

From the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. Changes are also made to the licence requirements in relation to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsits which require a licence and also in relation to properties which are subject to selective licensing. This Guidance is based on draft regulations which have been published. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.

Please note it is not a legal requirement at present for landlords letting a room or rooms within their own homes, however the Accommodation Service considers it best practice to follow the same legislation.

Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

From 1 October 2018, any rental property occupied by five or more tenants as their only or main residence must be licensed if the tenants share kitchen or bathroom facilities. The property can occupy any number of floors.

This follows a change in the law regarding the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004.

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation within the Cambridge City Council area