The responsibility for compliance with the following regulations or any re-enactment, is and remains the personal obligation of the Landlord. Failure to comply with safety legislation is a criminal offence and will lead to prosecution, fines or imprisonment.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
All upholstered furniture, permanent or loose fittings, beds, mattresses, padded headboards pillows and cushions supplied to a property and forming part of a letting must comply with these Regulations. Carpets and curtains are not covered by the Regulations. Furnishings manufactured pre 1st January 1950 are exempt from this legislation as toxic foam was not used in manufacture. However if the item has subsequently been re-upholstered then the filling must comply with the Regulations.
Where there are no labels, contact the manufacturer or retailer for confirmation. If in doubt the items should be replaced. It is illegal to let a property with furniture, which does not comply with the Fire Resistance Regulation as in Regulation 14 of the 1988 Regulations.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that appliances and pipework in tenanted premises are maintained in good order and in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person. The regulations require that the installations appliances and pipework are checked for safety prior to the commencement of a tenancy and every 12 months thereafter by a qualified “Gas Safe” Gas Engineer. A record of the safety check must be supplied to the Tenant and a copy kept by the Landlord and/or his Managing Agent for at least two years.
Landlords must ensure that ALL electrical appliances and the electrical supply are safe and will not cause danger. From 1st January 1997, all new electrical appliances must carry a CE mark and instruction booklets or clear working instructions must be provided. Newly installed plugs and sockets must also comply with the Regulations.
Confirmation that inspections of all electrical appliances belonging to the Landlord have been regularly undertaken could be requested, although no specific timescale is given. We recommend that an inspection be undertaken prior to the commencement of a Tenancy and at regular intervals thereafter. The safest way to ensure prosecution does not occur is to organise a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) at the start of a tenancy and recommended every 12 months thereafter.
As from 1st October 2008 an Energy Performance Certificate EPC will be required for a new Tenancy which must be given to an applicant on or before the first viewing. Woolley & Wallis will be unable to market the Property until we are in receipt of the EPC. The EPC lasts for ten years.
All properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains-operated interlinked Smoke Detectors/Alarms on each floor. Whilst properties built before that date are not included under the statutory requirement, we strongly recommend that all properties to be let are fitted with smoke alarms and these are regularly serviced. If the smoke alarm is battery operated it must be checked at the commencement of each Tenancy and the fact that it is in working order noted on the check in of the Inventory.
Before entering into any agreement to let your property you must check whether there are any restrictions to your doing so and whether consent needs to be obtained from:
If you hold the property on a Lease you must ensure that your Lease permits you to let the premises and that you are granted consent to do so. You must also ensure that the letting is for a period expiring prior to the termination of your own Lease. If the Superior Landlord makes a charge for granting consent you will be responsible for payment. You should also provide us with a copy of the relevant sections of the Head Lease so that they are attached to the Tenancy Agreement. Failure to do so will mean that your tenant may not have to comply with some of your legal obligations under the Head Lease. This could cause problems if there is a breach of the Head Lease by the Tenant. Obligations cannot be enforced on the Tenant after the start of the Tenancy.
If the property is subject to a bank loan or mortgage, in most cases permission will be required from the lender before the property can be let. Many corporate tenants insist on having a copy of the consent prior to taking up a tenancy. You should ensure you hold consent as failure to do so could delay a successful letting of your property.
Most insurance policies require you to notify them if the property is to be let. Failure to do so may void the policy. You should hold both buildings (unless the Superior Landlord holds it) and contents insurance for the property. You must check that the policies include public liability cover. You should also provide us with copies of the relevant sections of your policies which include any obligations especially those relating to vacant properties so that they are imposed on the Tenant as part of the Tenancy. Obligations cannot be enforced on the Tenant if the Tenancy has commenced.
In accordance with the Finance Act 1995, agents are required to deduct tax at the basic rate from rental monies net of expenses prior to paying these monies to overseas Landlords. The payments must be made to the Inland Revenue quarterly and at the end of the tax year. If there have been excess payments then Landlords can, on submission of detailed paperwork, apply to the Inland Revenue for a rebate.
However, under this Act the Inland Revenue introduced a system of Self Assessment and all overseas Landlords may apply to the Inland Revenue for Approval to be paid the rent without tax being deducted. If granted the agent is issued with an Approval Number for the Landlord, whereby they are allowed to pass the rental monies to the Landlord without deduction of tax. Should you move abroad whilst in the middle of a Tenancy you will need to notify us of your new details so that we can ascertain whether tax should be deducted from your rental income. We would strongly recommend that you apply for Self Assessment and we can provide you with the appropriate application form. Further information can be obtained from the Inland Revenue web site (www.hmrc.gov.uk).