Make a Quick Enquiry

    I'm a: LandlordTenant Full name: Phone: Comments:
    Quick Enquiry
    30th April 2021

    Landlord’s Guide to Certifications

    For any new landlord, one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is getting used to the regulatory requirements for letting a property. For the protection of both landlord and tenant, there are a host of certifications which are required (and some just nice to have) which a landlord will need to safely and legally let a property.

    With so much to worry about, from marketing to maintenance, there’s often an information overload that can happen to new landlords, so we’ve put together this guide (and a growing series of free resources) to help you navigate the various responsibilities and obligations.

    What certifications do landlords need?

    The property sector has been increasingly regulated since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988 which made important changes to the rental system – including a change to all tenancies from January 1989 being either assured, or assured shorthold – this has progressed over the years to include a number of certificates and documents that a landlord needs in order to safely (for both parties) let a property. This includes:

    • Electrical safety certificate
    • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
    • Fire safety measures
    • Gas safety certificate
    • Landlord insurance
    • Legionella risk assessment
    • Proof of deposit protection

    Electrical safety certificates

    Some are legal requirements, others just best practice, but there are a number of different electrical certificates that landlords should look into.

    Electrical Visual Inspection

    While not yet a legal necessity, annual inspection of a property’s electrics is best practice for the modern landlord, and is used to determine if a property is in compliance with BS7671 electrical safety standards. A visual electrical inspection and should form part of the end of any tenancy as a minimum.

    Portable Appliance Testing

    On occasion, where a property is subject to licensing, landlords will need to have additional portable appliance testing (PAT), but investment in an annual test of these appliance is advisable to minimise risks for both landlord and tenant – and can be performed at the same time as the visual electrical inspection.

    Electrical Installation Condition Report

    By law, all tenants are entitled to a copy of a property’s EICR before they occupy the property, and a copy of the report must be passed to the qualified person who completes the next report, while local housing authorities must be supplied with a copy within seven days of a request.

    Landlords found in breach of their duty in this respect can be fined up to £30,000, making it potentially very expensive for landlords that fail to comply.

    Who conducts these tests?

    These tests should always be conducted by a trained professional. While there is no similar scheme to Gas Safe for electricians, members of organisations such as NICEIC and ELECSA are able to self-certify their work and are, therefore, one of the better options for situations such as this which require proof of safety.

    Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

    In order to let a property, it must meet the minimum energy efficiency standard (currently ‘E’). In addition, it is a requirement for landlords to supply a copy of the report (including the recommendations) to prospective tenants; landlords also face a fine of up to £200 per advert if they fail to include the property’s energy rating.

    Who conducts these tests?

    EPCs can only be issued by an accredited domestic energy assessor, these can be found (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) using the government portal, for landlords in Scotland, there is a separate service.

    Fire safety measures

    While there is no specific fire safety certificate, there are a host of rules that must be followed by landlords when looking to let a property. These include:

    • Providing smoke alarms on each storey, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance
    • Keeping fire escape routes clear at all times (and ensuring tenants do the same)
    • All furniture and furnishings supplied must be fire safe
    • Make sure that fire alarms and extinguishers are provided in any property classed as HMO (house in multiple occupation)

    Who conducts these tests?

    Unfortunately, there is no governing body or assessor that can assure your compliance with fire safety, instead it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that they are doing whatever they can to prevent fires. The London Fire Brigade does, however, have a useful guide to help landlords tick all of the necessary boxes.

    Gas safety certificate

    It is a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that all gas appliances conform with Part J, of the Building Regulations which must be assessed and issued a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate. Commonly referred to as a CP12, a landlord’s gas safety certificate is a document which must be provided to tenants by law (breeches of which are punishable by six months prison or a six thousand pound fine).

    In addition to the initial certification (a copy of which should be kept for two years), an annual check-up should be conducted with a copy of the certificate supplied to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection.

    Who conducts these tests?

    Your gas safety certificate will need to be issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Gas Safe Register, which replaced CORGI in 2009 as the UKs gas registration body, operates a searchable online database of registered engineers, many of which will be able to offer the certification as a service.

    Legionella risk assessment

    Required at least bi-annually, a legionella risk assessment checks to see whether there is any risk to your water supply from the bacteria – which causes the potentially fatal legionnaires disease – to ensure that tenants are free from risk and that landlords don’t have to be worried about the possibility of being held legally accountable for any consequent problems.

    Who conducts these tests?

    While there is no legal requirement to have a professional undertake the assessment, the potential consequences of getting things wrong should cause landlords to think twice about testing themselves. However, as this is not illegal, landlords that believe they know the water-system well enough can find further information on the Health and Safety Executive website.

    Proof of deposit protection

    If you are letting a property using an assured shorthold agreement, you will need to place the deposit with one of three deposit protection schemes (we also have a guide covering inventory and deposit management) and your tenants are within their rights to request proof that this has been done – in fact, it is the landlords legal responsibility to provide this evidence within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

    Who provides this document?

    Once you have chosen which of the three companies you will be using to keep the deposit for the duration of the tenancy, they will be able to provide you with the written evidence to supply to your tenant.

    Final thoughts

    While there’s a lot to consider when looking to manage a property, it is not impossible with a little research and effort. However, there are clear and often severe consequences for not complying with the various legal requirements and, for that reason, we always advise that you make absolutely certain that your certifications and documents are up to date and that you’ve covered all bases before you look to let your property.

    Want help managing the various accreditations and certificates you’ll need to help let your property? Contact Us to speak to one of expert advisors and see what we can do to help take the stress out of managing your property portfolio.

    Related Posts

    15th April 2021

    There are many pain points in the management of a property portfolio, but the right advice (or years of experience) can make for an easier experience for both landlord and tenant. As such, we’ve decided to tackle one of the trickier aspects of the landlord/tenant relationships – the management of inventory and deposits.

    22nd April 2021

    Marketing a property is arguably one of the more difficult and most important aspects of being a successful landlord – especially if you decide to go it alone. While we love nothing more than looking after our landlords, we’ve decided to pass on the Wirral Homes wisdom on marketing a rental property.

    Accreditations & Partners

    On The Market Logo
    Zoopla Logo
    Client Money Protect Logo
    Property Redres Scheme Logo
    My Deposits Logo
    Deposit Protection Service Logo
    On The Market Logo
    Zoopla Logo
    Client Money Protect Logo
    Property Redres Scheme Logo
    My Deposits Logo
    Deposit Protection Service Logo

    Calculations generated by Zoopla Comparables report, from a 3-12 month period within 1 mile radius of each location.

      Register For Available Property Updates

      Your Details

      What Property Are You Looking For?

      Areas Interested In
      Your Rental Budget