Private landlord support
- Category: Private housing
- Last Updated: 21 November 2016
Provision of information and support to anyone who is providing property for rent in the local area.
- What should I consider when setting up a tenancy?
- Where can I find an assessor who can produce an EPC (energy performance certificate)?
- Do I have to take measures to improve energy efficiency in my tenanted properties?
- Do I need to protect the tenant's deposit?
- What records do I need to keep?
- Do I need to make an inventory?
- What repairs am I responsible for as a landlord?
- Should I carry out property inspections?
- My existing tenant is not able to pay their rent due to a change in financial circumstances, where can I get advice?
- How do I ask a tenant to leave?
- How can I ensure gas safety in my properties?
- Where can I get advice about Fire Safety and how it affects me as a landlord?
- How can I ensure electrical safety in my properties?
- Should I obtain specialist Landlords Insurance?
- Where can I obtain further advice and support?
- Rent a room scheme
- What advice and help is available in Ryedale for Landlords?
- Is there a forum in Ryedale for Landlords?
- What is the Right to Rent legislation?
- As a landlord what should I do to comply with Legionnella legislation and ensure my property is safe?
- What are the tax implications for landlords?
From 2008 all private rented properties require an EPC certificate which should be made available from the start of each tenancy. New regulations came into force on the 1st October 2015 affecting tenancies that are commenced after this date. If a landlord is serving a Section 21 notice the tenant must have been issued which a copy of the EPC certificate.
The Council cannot recommend an energy assessor but you can search online at EPC Register.
For detailed guidance about your responsibility with regard to energy efficiency please GOV.UK - guidance for domestic landlords and tenants.
Under the Housing Act 2004, deposits taken by Private Landlords are subject to Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation. The legislation applies to:
- Any Assured Shorthold Tenancy beginning on or after 6 April 2007 for which a deposit is payable is subject to this legislation
- If a Tenancy started before 6 April 2007 and you have renewed the Tenancy or continued it as a Statutory Period Tenancy since that date, then the original deposit paid by your Tenant needs to be protected otherwise you will not be able to legally issue a Section 21 notice
For further information visit GOV.UK.
The “Bond Guarantee Scheme” being offered by Ryedale District Council falls outside of the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation.
All deposits taken that fall under this legislation must be protected by way of using either the custodial scheme or one of the insurance based schemes. Under the custodial scheme, the deposit must be paid within 14 days of receiving it, in full to the Deposit Protection Service who will hold the deposit for the duration of the Tenancy. At the end of the Tenancy, Landlord and Tenant should decide on how the deposit should be split and notify the scheme who will then pay it back to the parties. In the event of a dispute, both parties will be asked to provide evidence and it will be referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for a decision. The custodial scheme is a free service.
There are two insurance based schemes, MyDeposits and The Tenancy Deposit Scheme. If covered by one of these schemes the Landlord is allowed to retain the deposit but must pay fees to the “insurer”. The deposit must be protected within 14 days of receiving it. At the end of the Tenancy, Landlord and Tenant should decide on how the deposit should be split and the Landlord should pay the money back to the Tenant. In the event of a dispute, both parties will be asked to provide evidence and it will be referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for a decision.
If a Landlord fails to protect the deposit, any Section 21 notice served to end the tenancy will be invalid and the landlord may also be liable to pay the Tenant three times the deposit amount in compensation.
The landlord should keep all documents including records of rent received, certificates and letters or copies. This will serve three purposes:-
- To make the letting of property a more professional operation
- To make it easier for accurate advice to be given, should any difficulties arise
- To ensure that the landlord is able to prove compliance with legal requirements
- Ensure that all new tenancy agreements include your contact details so that tenants can contact you if any repairs are required
It is recommended that you take photographs of your property and produce an inventory prior to moving in a new tenant. If the landlord and tenant check the inventory together and both sign it, disputes can be avoided when the tenancy ends.
Under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the Landlord is responsible for the following repairs:
- The structure and exterior of the property
- Bath, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations
- Heating and hot water installations
- Water, gas and electricity supply and meters
- Common parts
- Other repairs as agreed by Landlord and Tenant
Under the Housing Act 2004 there is a legal obligation for landlords to ensure that their properties are free of category 1 hazards as specified in the Act and to ensure that their properties are free from any risk of harm to the health and safety of an actual or potential occupier of a dwelling.
For advice and guidance on how to prevent condensation and how you can keep it to a minimum to reduce the risk of dampness and mould growth in your property, please see the booklet available to download below (for information only).
It is recommended that you inspect your properties periodically. When you have new tenants you may want to arrange an inspection after a couple of months to ensure that the tenants are maintaining the tenancy correctly and looking after the property. You should contact your tenant in advance and arrange a mutually convenient time where possible. You have a legal right to enter your property to inspect it or carry out repairs. You must give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice.
The tenant may be eligible for housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. Housing Benefit is claimed through the Council, contact 01653 600666 Ext 600 for advice, Universal Credit is claimed through the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) tel 0345 6000 723. The tenant should make direct contact to make a claim.
Please contact Housing Options for advice and assistance before taking any action, as we may be able to offer tenancy support, mediation or assist your tenant to maximise their income and deal with any debt.
By law there are certain circumstances when landlords cannot ask tenants to leave rented accommodation.
For all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) created on or after 1 October 2015, a 'notice seeking possession' or a 'section 21 notice to quit', may not be given:
- during the first four months of a tenancy
- where the landlord is prevented from 'retaliatory eviction' by law
- where the landlords has not provided the tenant with an energy performance certificate, gas safety certificate or the booklet 'How to rent'
- where the landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation
- where a property requires a HMO licence, but is unlicensed
Landlords who are unsure about any of these exemptions should seek specialist advice.
Landlords giving a "notice to quit"
Landlords who aren't affected by the rules above must now use (Housing Act) form 6A if they wish to follow the 'section 21 notice to quit' procedure. Use of this prescribed form is a requirement for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) created on or after 1 October 2015.
For more information, please visit GOV.UK for template forms.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, as amended:
- Landlords must ensure that gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition (note: this does not apply to flues and chimneys solely connected to an appliance owned by the Tenant)
- An annual safety check of each gas appliance/flue must be carried out by an installer registered with the Gas Safe Register
- Issue a copy of the safety check record to each existing Tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to any new Tenant before they move in
- Keep a record of each safety check for two years
- Safety checks also apply to portable appliances such as LPG (Calor gas) heaters
If an appliance fails a safety check you must carry out any of the remedial action necessary or replace it. A safety defect must be rectified by a Gas Safe Registered engineer before the equipment is used again.
It is an offence to use or allow the use of a gas appliance you know to be unsafe and in no circumstances should it be reconnected until the fault has been rectified. To do so will risk prosecution. Landlords should contact the Housing Options Team at Ryedale District Council if a resident is unable to continue occupation because of the risk posed by a faulty appliance or a supply fault.
Landlord Loans are discretionary forms of assistance designed to provide practical help by means of a loan for renovation/repair work to ensure the property complies with the Decent Homes Standard and for the installation of fire precautions or the provision of the required amenities.
Mandatory Gas Safety Certificate
From 1 October 2015 regulations state that prior to serving a Section 21 notice, a gas safety certificate must have been given to the tenant at the start of the tenancy.
Details on current guidance is found at LACORS.
Fire safety and furnishings
All upholstered furniture which is included in the letting and hiring out of residential accommodation must comply with the requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended.
The regulations require:
- Furniture to pass a cigarette resistance test
- Cover fabric, whether for use in permanent or loose covers, to pass a match resistance test
- Filling materials for all furniture to pass ignitability tests as specified in the regulations
These regulations apply to any of the following that contain upholstery:
- Beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, futons
- Garden furniture which is suitable for use in a dwelling
- Scatter cushions and pillows
- Loose and stretch covers for furniture
All new furniture (except mattresses, bed bases, loose and stretch covers) manufactured since 1988 is required to carry a permanent label providing information about its fire retarding properties.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Monitors
Legislation from 1 October 2015 dictates that all rented properties must have smoke detectors on each floor and carbon monoxide monitors are installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. Further information can be obtained from Private Sector Housing or online at GOV.UK.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Statement of Principles
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 introduces the following requirements for all landlords during any period beginning on or after 1 October 2015 when the premises are occupied under the tenancy.
- a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation;
- a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and
- checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.
Where the Local Housing Authority has reasonable grounds to believe that there are no or insufficient number of smoke alarms or
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors in the property as required by the regulations or; The Smoke Alarms or
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors were not working at the start of a tenancy or licence.
Then the Authority shall serve on the Landlord in a method prescribed by the Regulations, a Remedial Notice detailing the actions the landlord must take to comply with the Regulations.
If after 28 days the Landlord has not complied with the Remedial Notice. a Penalty Charge shall be levied through a penalty charge notice.
Principles to be followed in determining the amount of a Penalty Charge
The Authority considers that a lesser penalty will be merited on the occasion of a first offence and that prompt payment of the penalty on that first occasion should attract a reduced penalty in recognition of early admission of liability and savings in administration costs.
The level of penalty should, however, as a minimum, cover the cost of all works in default, officer time, recovery costs, an administration fee and a fine.
Repeated offences should attract a progressively higher penalty in view of continuing disregard for legal requirements and tenant safety.
If, following the service of a first penalty charge notice, a notice (or notices) is (are) served in respect of a further offence (or offences), but the further offence(s) arose prior to the service of the first notice, the penalty charge in respect of each notice shall be treated as a first offence penalty charge. Subsequent offences will, however, be treated cumulatively.
Level of Penalty Charge
The Penalty Charge shall be set at £1,000 for the first offence but this will be reduced to £750 if paid within a 14 day period.
Should the Landlord not comply with future Remedial Notices then the fine shall be set according to the table below :
|Fourth||£4000||Fifth or more||£5000|
No discount will be given for prompt payment after the first occasion.
Recovery of Penalty Charge
The local housing authority may recover the penalty charge as laid out in the Regulations.
Appeals in relation to a penalty charge notice
The landlord can request in writing, in a period that must not be less than 28 days beginning with the day on which the penalty notice was served, that the local housing authority review the penalty charge notice.
The local housing authority must consider any representation and decide whether to confirm, vary or withdraw the penalty charge notice. A landlord who is served with a notice confirming or varying a penalty charge notice may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the local housing authority’s decision.
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1994) any portable electrical appliances (e.g. refrigerators, lamps, vacuum cleaners, televisions) which are provided as part of the Tenancy are to be safe to use and in proper working order.
As a minimum, appliances should be visually inspected for any faults or damage and ideally should be periodically tested by a qualified electrician (PAT Testing).
There is a legal obligation for a landlord to ensure that electrical installations are safe and are maintained in a safe condition. It is recommended that they are inspected every 5 years by a qualified electrician.
Please visit our HMO webpage.
The council are not able to recommend any specific insurance companies or products but we strongly advise you to consider specialist insurance as a standard insurance policy may not provide sufficient cover. Many products are available including cover for buildings and contents and malicious damage and it is even possible to take out an insurance policy to guarantee your rent and cover legal expenses.
If you have a specific query the Housing Options Team may be able to advise you - please phone and ask to speak to the duty officer, email Housing Options or tel 01653 600666.
We recommend that you join a landlord organisation, there are several national organisations that provide regular newsletters, advice, training and support for landlords, they may also host events and provide templates of useful forms.
- The National Landlords Association, email or tel 020 7840 8937
- The Residential Landlords Association, email or tel 0161 962 0010
- The Guild of Residential Landlords, email or tel 01423 873399
- Property Information Made Simple tel 0800 999 7467
- The Landlord Association
- GOV.UK - Being a landlord and renting out a room
If you already have a lodger or are thinking about letting furnished rooms in your home, you can receive up to £4,250 of rent a year tax-free. The Rent a Room Scheme applies to owner-occupiers and tenants who receive rent from letting furnished accommodation in their main home (the one you/your family live in most of the time).
You can take advantage of the scheme if you let furnished accommodation in your family home to a lodger. A lodger can occupy a single room or an entire floor of your home and he or she will pay to live with you. Lodgers often share family rooms and may or may not take meals with you.
The scheme does not apply if your home is converted into separate flats that you rent out.
You can take advantage of the Rent a Room scheme whether you own your home or rent. If you are renting, you should check whether your lease allows you to take in a lodger.
If you're a mortgage payer it's best to check whether taking in a lodger is within the terms and conditions of your mortgage lender and insurer.
If you would like help finding a tenant to rent your room please email the Housing Options Team or telephone 01653 600666.
There is a wealth of assistance and support from our Housing Services team, available to landlords of private rented properties. This ranges from landlord improvement loans and grants to rent collection. In addition there is bespoke service from our Lettings Officer, which can be tailored to meet your requirements as a landlord - this might involve rent collection, property maintenance or dealing with any tenant issues that arise.
If you wish to discuss the benefits of our lettings service, please contact the Lettings Officer or telephone 01653 600666.
A summary of the services:
- Free property advert – on North Yorkshire HomeChoice once the 'Decent Home ' standard has been met
- Tenant sourcing
- Review a tenants suitability (reference)
- 'Top up' rent collection
- Guarantee rent for tenants who are not employed
- Fast track claims and secure direct payments of Housing Benefit where a tenant needs help paying their rent
- Landlord improvement loan
- Landlord improvement grant
- Financial incentives if you are looking to create a further House in Multiple Occupation
- Assistance with administration in relation to statutory requirements
- Trouble shooting as and when required
- Ongoing support from the Lettings Officer
The Council organises Landlord Forum events. If you would like to be involved in any forthcoming events please contact Housing Services and provide your contact details.
Past events have included presentations and stalls by North Yorkshire Fire Service, the National Landlords Association, the Council's Private Sector Team, Housing Options, Housing Benefits advisors, energy efficiency advisors, etc.
The last Forum event in March 2015 was a great success and details can be found here. The next event is planned for early October 2016.
From 1 February 2016 landlords have had to carry out simple checks on all prospective tenants and lodgers to ensure they have the 'Right to Rent'. This responsibility can be passed onto a managing letting or estate agent by written agreement. All adults using the property as their only or main home should be checked, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement. This rule applies to all new tenancies and licences created from 1 February 2016 onwards other than a few specific exemptions; tenancies created before this date are not affected.
Original ID documents should be checked in the presence of the prospective tenant and the landlord must scan or photocopy the documents and keep records to prove that they have completed the checks. Full details of the documents required and process to be followed are available online www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents. A dedicated helpline is available for landlords to query the immigration status of a particular person on 0300 0699799.
Watch the Home Office Guide on YouTube.
Many landlords and agents already carry out thorough checks when considering whether a tenant or lodger will be suitable but this legislation has now made this a mandatory requirement. If a landlord rents to an illegal migrant and has not carried out a correct right to rent check, they could be liable to a civil penalty which could be as much as £3000 per tenant.
|Penalty amount||Level 1 (first breach - minimum)||Level 2 (second breach - maximum)|
|Category A (lodgers in a private household)||£80||£500|
|Category B (tenants in rented accommodation)||£1,000||£3,000|
Useful links and contacts
- Right to Rent - short guide for landlords
- Landlords Helpline: 0300 069 9799.
- Landlords Code of Practice.
- Landlords guide to checking immigration documents.
- Landlords checking service.
- Evaluation of the Right to Rent scheme.
- Report immigration crime.
- Guidance on examining identity documents.
Landlords have responsibility under Health and Safety legislation to ensure that their properties are safe for tenants for detailed information please visit the Health and Safety Executive website.
For information about how letting out a property affects your tax liability please visit GOV.UK.