There is more to renting a property than finding a tenant and handing over the keys. There are several vital pieces of information you are legally required to provide to your tenants.

This article will take a look at the various certificates and paperwork you will need to have available.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You must have an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate for your property. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), so prospective tenants can determine and compare the relative financial running costs of renting your property.

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You will need to appoint an accredited assessor to carry out the EPC inspection. Landlords of privately rented properties in England and Wales must achieve at least an EPC rating of E before they can let, or continue to let, their properties. For more information read our blog on how to improve your energy efficiency rating.

You should provide the properties EPC certificate to all new and prospective tenants. EPC certificates are valid for 10 years.

Electrical Safety Certificate

New regulations that came into force on 1st June 2020 require landlords to have the electrical installation in their rented properties inspected and tested every five years. The inspection covers electrical installations such as the wiring, plug sockets, lighting, fuse box, and fixed components like electric showers and extractors. A qualified electrician must carry out the checks. You must provide your tenants with a copy of the report before they occupy the property or for existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection.

If the report shows remedial work is required, this must be completed within 28 days. Landlords should request written confirmation of completion of the remedial works from the electrician and provide a copy of this to the tenants within 28 days of the work being completed.

The regulations don’t cover portable electric appliances, such as cookers, fridges or televisions. However, it is good practice for landlords to carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance provided.

For more information on the new electrical safety regulations, read our guide on electrical safety for landlords and visit the website.

Gas Safety Certificate

Any gas appliances and flues in your property must be safety checked annually. The checks must be conducted by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. You are now able to carry out the checks any time between 10 and 12 months after the previous check, while maintaining the expiry date of the previous check. If the checks are performed outside of this time, the new deadline date will be 12 months from the date of the latest check.

You must provide your existing tenants with a record of the safety check within 28 days of its completion. New tenants should receive this at the start of their tenancy. You must retain copies of the record for at least two years, and if you have taken advantage of the flexible time frame, you must retain the record of any checks until two further checks have been carried out.

Legionella risk assessment

Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria found in water. Legionella bacteria exist in water systems and storage tanks in residential properties, especially where there is water stored between 20°C and 45°C.

As a landlord you should assess the risk to your tenants of exposure to Legionella. A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and no further action is needed.

You can consider the risks from domestic hot and cold water systems low if:

  • There is daily water usage, this is inevitable if your property is occupied
  • The cold water comes directly from the mains (not stored water tanks)
  • The hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters (e.g. combi boilers or electric showers) OR low volume water heaters where the water is stored above 50°C

If you conduct the risk assessment yourself, you should create or download a template that you can complete and provide a copy to your tenants. Alternatively, you can hire a legionella risk assessment company.

Landlord risk assessmentsFire safety risk assessment

Landlords are required by law to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance such as an open fire or wood-burning stove.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. It is a good idea to retain evidence that these checks have been carried out to protect yourself and to reassure your tenant.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have enhanced fire safety rules. The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 says that the responsible person for multi-occupied residential buildings must carry out a fire risk assessment in communal areas, making sure precautions and procedures are in place to protect the occupants in case of fire. Landlords or multi-occupied properties can carry out this fire risk assessment themselves or hire a third-party Fire Risk Assessor.

Read our blog on fire safety regulations and risk assessment for rental properties.

Deposit Protection Paperwork

You must place your tenants’ deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receiving it and supply your tenant with the following ‘Prescribed Information’:

  • The amount of the deposit
  • The address of the property
  • The name, address and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme with which the deposit is held.
  • The name, address and contact details of the landlord, tenant and any third party who have contributed to the deposit.

The provider or your tenancy deposit protection scheme should be able to supply you with a downloadable Prescribed Information form.

You can use any of the following schemes if your property is in England or Wales:

Governments ‘How to rent’ checklist

Landlords should provide their tenants with a copy of the government’s guide How to rent: a checklist for renting in England. The guide can be printed and given to your tenant as a hard copy or supplied by email as a PDF. It is a good idea to obtain proof of receipt.

This is a guide for tenants and landlords to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides detailed information and check lists that cover all aspects of renting a home including:

  • what to look out for before renting
  • living in a rented home
  • what happens at the end of a tenancy
  • what to do if things go wrong

Going above and beyond

Before and during any tenancy, it is imperative that you ensure your property is safe for your tenant to occupy. There are areas of safety for which you are responsible but for which certificates of testing are not required. For instance, you must fit and test smoke alarms. It is essential that you retain evidence that any checks have been carried out to protect yourself and to reassure your tenant. You should consider the checks and testing required by law to be the minimum that you should undertake. Maintaining the highest standards of safety will take care of your tenant and protect your property.

To read more about the responsibilities of landlords on the website.

Find out more

If you are new to letting out a property or are looking to move to a new letting agent in the Newington Green, Stoke Newington or Islington area, contact M&M Property today. We’d be happy to run through your legal obligations regarding landlord paperwork and certificates or other landlord issues.