LETTING A PROPERTY

Letting a property is a big decision. Everybody's circumstances and needs are different but there are some basic rules you can follow to help.
FURNITURE & FURNISHINGS

Since 1 January 1997 all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation must adhere to The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations.

REGULATIONS

What the cover fabric and filling material of the upholstered furniture be made of fire resistant material and be able to pass the “smouldering cigarette” and “match flame” resistance test and carry a label confirming this.

SOFT FURNISHINGS

Generally, items manufactured in the UK after 1990 are likely to meet the required standards and display the appropriate permanent label confirming its compliance.

REGULATION ITEMS
  • Three piece suites, sofas, arm chairs
  • Scatter cushions, seat pads, bean bags
  • Beds, padded headboards, mattresses, pillows
  • Convertible sofa beds, futons
  • Loose and stretch covers for upholstered furniture
  • Nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for indoor use
EXCEPTIONS
  • Antique furniture or any furniture manufactured prior to 1950
  • Carpets, curtains
  • Pillow cases, duvets, bed linen
  • Loose covers for mattresses
NON-COMPLIANT ITEMS

They should be removed from the property before it is let.

GAS

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1996 state that all rental properties must have a valid and current Gas Safety Record which is renewed on an annual basis. This applies equally to appliances and equipment using the mains gas supply or liquid gas, for example Propane or Calor. The central provisions of these regulations require that:-

1. The landlord of a rented property must have a gas safety check carried out prior to a let and annually thereafter. A copy of the appropriate record must be given to the tenants. Gas fittings and flues must be maintained in a safe condition.

2. If any appliance or pipe work is dangerous or defective it must not be used and must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

3. The gas safety check can only be performed by an authorised Gas Safe registered engineer qualified to work on the particular type of appliances or systems. In general terms the check itself will relate to the following:-

  • Adequate ventilation and flues
  • Operating pressures
  • Heat output
  • Flame combustion
  • Escape of gas or dangerous fumes
  • Obvious defects
  • Where appropriate, the provision of adequate instructions for use of equipment or appliances

It should be noted that a standard annual ”service” of equipment or appliances would not normally be sufficiently detailed to comply with and satisfy the requirements of the regulations.

SMOKE DETECTORS

All new homes built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors on each fl oor of the building.

There are currently no specific statutory regulations relating to the provisions of smoke detectors in older buildings. However, it is strongly recommended that landlords follow the recommendations of the Fire and Safety Officers Association for current BS standard battery operated devices to be fitted to stairways and halls on each floor.

CARBON MONOXIDE

Fatal Carbon Monoxide fumes can be produced by the combustion of any fossil fuel. It is essential therefore that landlords remember they have a duty to ensure the regular maintenance and repair of oil fired or solid fuel heating systems and that adequate fl ues and ventilation are provided. It is strongly recommended that landlords provide carbon monoxide detectors in all rental properties.

ELECTRICITY

There are a number of pieces of legislation which relate to the supply and maintenance of electrical equipment, household appliances and/or the cables, plugs and sockets which connect them.

Examples of such items might include:-

  • Electric cookers, microwaves
  • Toasters, kettles, TV’s video players
  • Washing machines, dishwashers
  • Immersion heaters, electric blankets
  • Fuses, circuit breakers
  • Electric lawnmowers or similar garden equipment

The basic concept is that a landlord has an obligation to ensure that any such items supplied as part of a property letting are “safe”, and not dangerous. This could be extended to include the mains supply. This is to minimise the risk of injury, death or damage to property. Cumberland Lettings therefore require that all portable appliances being left in the property are PAT tested prior to commencement of a tenancy. Detailed written records should be maintained of their make, serial number, condition and
date of tests. A Domestic Installation Condition Report should also be arranged to establish that the electrical wiring in the property is safe.

A landlord is responsible for providing instruction manuals for all items of electrical equipment within a rental property as required by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

Any equipment or appliances or hard wiring identified as being potentially unsafe or showing obvious defects such as:-

  • Badly frayed or damaged insulation
  • Old or exposed wires, poorly fitted or cracked plugs
  • Scorch marked or badly damaged sockets
  • Plugs without sleeved insulated pins should be immediately repaired or removed and replaced with brand new equipment which complies with current BS and EC standards.

BUILDING REGULATIONS (ELECTRICAL SAFETY IN DWELLINGS)

In very general terms these regulations require that work, repairs, maintenance etc., on “electrical installations”, in certain areas of a property, are now known as “notifiable” works and as such must
only be carried out by a “competent person”.

This means someone is currently registered with an Approved Self-Certification Scheme which monitors and regulates his or her activities, competence etc.

Someone who is not a “competent person” could still do the works as long as they seek appropriate approval from their local authority Building Control department before and after the works are carried out.

LENDER CONSENT

Obtain consent from your mortgage lenders to rent the property.

SUPERIOR LANDLORD CONSENT

If your property is Leasehold you will need to obtain consent from your Superior Landlord (especially for flats and apartments).

INSURANCE

Notify your insurance companies or obtain specific Landlord insurance cover.

GAS SAFETY

Obtain a gas safety record and electrical appliance safety certificates.

CENTRAL HEATING SAFETY

Oil and Solid Fuel Central Heating Systems must also be checked and serviced annually with all records kept.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Ensure that any electrical items supplied as part of a property letting are safe and are not dangerous. This should be extended to include the mains supply.

FURNITURE & FITTINGS

Decide what furniture and/or fittings you intend to leave in the property. It is recommended that you do not leave any personal items, televisions or audio equipment.

OFFER ACCEPTED

Agree on any fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale. This normally covers curtains and carpets. It may also include anything else in the property which the seller wishes to leave or which the buyer expects to be included.

FURNISHINGS

Ensure that any furnishings to be left in the property comply with current fire regulations.

LEGIONELLA

Ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to Legionella is properly assessed and controlled in the property.

REPAIRS

Carry out any necessary repairs and remove anything potentially dangerous or hazardous.

PRESENTATION

Ensure the property is in a clean and tidy condition, particularly the kitchen, bathroom, carpets and curtains. The property should be in a condition that you would expect if moving in yourself.

OVERSEAS LANDLORDS

Overseas Landlords should apply for a tax exemption certificate. Details can be found on the HMRC website or Cumberland Lettings can provide more details.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS

Remove all personal items from the property.

FURNITURE

Remove all unwanted and non compliant furniture from the property.

OTHER ITEMS

Remove all cleaning products, decorating materials and any other fluids which may be potentially dangerous.

PRESENTATION

Ensure the property is clean and the garden is tidy.

MAIL

Arrange re-direction of your mail.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS

Inform all utility companies of the change in occupancy. You should also advise BT or other suppliers that you will not be requiring further use of the telephone line from the commencement of the tenancy.

Whilst Cumberland Lettings try to ensure the utility companies are furnished with the correct information and readings, through our Utilities Management Company, Hallmark, we cannot be held responsible for the utility companies’ failure to recognise the information provided.

KEYS

Ensure your local Cumberland branch has at least three separate sets of keys (for fully managed), two sets for let only. (One set is required per tenant for move-in).

DOCUMENTATION

Instruction manuals or leaflets, in English, must be left at your property for all appliances, the
central heating boiler and systems before the Inventory and Schedule of Condition can be undertaken. By Law, copies of these must be given to each Tenant at the commencement of the Tenancy. Alternatively, clear hand written or typed instructions will be required. Failure to provide these could result in unnecessary delays.

It should be noted that properties covered under this legislation may require a higher level of safety and the requirements should be checked with the appropriate Local Authority who may require that you licence the property.

HOUSES OF MULTIPLE OCCUPANCY (HMOs) LICENCE?

Under the national mandatory licensing scheme a HMO must be licensed if it is a building consisting of three or more storeys and is occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households. Local Housing authorities have discretionary powers to widen the remit of licensing to also include other smaller HMOs if they think that enough of them in an area are badly managed. IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHETHER A HMO REQUIRES A LICENCE PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITY.

There is a Mandatory requirement of any property requiring a House in Multiple Occupation License from the Local Authority to have confi rmation of Electrical Safety.

HOUSEHOLD DEFINITION
  • Couples married to each other or living together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent relationship in the case of persons of the same sex).
  • Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins. Half-relatives will be treated as full relatives. A foster child living with his foster parent is treated as living in the same household as his foster parent. Therefore three friends sharing together are considered, three households. If a family rents a property that is a single household.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR LICENCE

Mandatory licensing came into force on 6 April 2006. HMO landlords are encouraged to apply immediately for a licence to avoid the penalties, which were introduced on 6 July 2006. Failure to register for a licence is a criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £20,000. For more information on HMOs contact your local housing authority and visit https://www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property/housesin-multiple-occupation-hmo

HOUSING HEALTH AND SAFETY RATING SYSTEM (HHSRS)

HHSRS is a risk assessment approach used by local authorities to ensure all landlords take responsibility for the exterior, structural elements and the inside of the property.

Council officers have a wide range of powers at their disposal to ensure landlords offer a decent standard of accommodation, these include:

  • Taking action to rectify hazards in the property
  • The ability to carry out improvements and charge the Landlord.

Cumberland Lettings can provide up to date information on these matters.

The contents of this page are not intended to be exhaustive and are for general guidance only. They do not constitute advice. Cumberland Estate Agents Ltd shall take no responsibility for any loss or injury arising as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this brochure. You should obtain specific advice from suitably qualified persons before acting or refraining from acting in connection with anything contained in this brochure.

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