Protecting your interests
Our objective when renting your property is to protect your interests and maintain your property in good order. We ensure you fully comply with safety regulations and our advise should minimise your risk. The maintenance obligations placed by law on the landlord can for some be considered onerous but our job is to guide you through the maze of legislation.
The followings requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord) and in the case of our Management Properties, the requirements are also our responsibility. We therefore need to ensure compliance is adhered to:-
Energy Performance Certificates
Domestic energy use accounts for 27% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.The Government is introducing a number of energy savinginitiatives, including EPC’s, aimed at making all buildings more energy efficient.
From October 1st 2008, all landlords are required by law to show any prospective tenants an EPC when advertising a property for rent. The EPC is valid for 10 years however, if you don’t have one, you could be fined £200 for non-compliance.
It is now a legal requirement that an EPC report is carried out prior to marketing any rental property. If you have not already done so, an EPC Assessor will need to attend your property and prepare an EPC report which will be retained on file and available for tenants to see. A charge will be made for this service from the contractor provided and you will need to settle this direct with the Assessor. We have a number of contractors, should you require their details.
Gas Safety Certificate
As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. You must ensure that appliances are working correctly and guard against the dangers of carbon monoxide.
Therefore, every rental property with Leapfrog that has any sort of gas appliance, whether it be a central heating boiler or a gas stove or even a gas fire, requires a Gas Safety Certificate. These certificates can only be issued by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and Certificates are valid for a year from the date they are issued.
We will arrange for a Gas Safety Certificate to be carried out at your property, prior to occupation from your tenant and will review the expiration date to provide renewals accordingly if the property is managed by us. A charge of £70 will be made for this service.
The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015
This act requires Landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy. Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.
This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that there are approximately 50 deaths per year and over 1100 hospital admissions annually as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas that is produced by incomplete combustion. A common source of CO in a domestic property would be a faulty appliance such as a boiler.
Statistics show that residents of privately rented accommodation account for a much greater proportion of annual carbon monoxide incidents than could be expected. A report by the Gas Safety Trust into carbon monoxide risks per housing sector showed that the likelihood of an incident in privately rented accommodation was significantly higher than that associated with any other housing sector. According to statistics gathered since 1998 residents of rental properties are on average three times more likely to suffer a CO related incident.
Although landlords are already obliged to have a yearly check carried out on any gas appliances, this alone cannot guarantee protection from carbon monoxide. The installation of a CO detector is quick, easy and cheap, and ensures your tenants are protected from what is often referred to as the silent killer . Current advice from the Health and Safety Executive already states that a CO detector should be installed in rental properties, but this has always been down to the discretion of each landlord or letting agent.
From October 2015 it will become law that that any high risk room, i.e. those containing a heating appliance, must have a CO detector installed. We can organise supply and installation of the preferred longer term smoke alarms for £20 per alarm inclusive and £30 per carbon monoxide detector. These will be fitted as standard and where necessary if shown as missing.
Landlords Periodic Electrical Safety Certificate
Landlord electrical certificates are another important part of ensuring the safety of your tenants and being able to prove that you have taken reasonable steps to do so. All electrical certification should be carried out by an electrician who is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installers and Contractors (NICEIC). If we are managing your property, we insist an electrical certificate is provided for the tenant at a cost of £70 payable by the landlord. There are two types of electrical certificate:-
Periodic Inspection Report
It is advisable to have a full electrical inspection carried out every five years. This examination investigates the state of the electrical wiring throughout the property and thoroughly checks the safety of the electrical installation. These inspections can cost from £100 to £250. The electrician should issue you with a ‘Periodic Inspection Report for an Electrical Installation’ at the end of the examination, which declares the electrical installation as safe.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
It is also advisable to instruct an electrician to carry out PAT testing on all portable electrical appliances once a year. Portable electrical appliances are defined as any appliances that you supply with the property that can be plugged into the mains electricity (for example lamps, microwaves, portable electric heaters, TV etc.). The purpose of the PAT is to ensure that all portal electrical items provided with the property are electrically safe. PATs typically cost around £5 – £20 per appliance.
Legionnaire’s Risk Assessments
There have been a number of changes this year by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Housing Minister.
New regulations in respect of The Approved Code of Practice L8 and “reducing the risk of Legionnaires disease” requires that all rental properties have a Legionella Risk Assessment completed on all rented properties, of which is carried out by a competent person and that all relevant recommendations be immediately complied with. If we are managing your property, we insist a Legionella Risk Assessment is carried out and made available to the tenant, at a cost of £70, payable by the Landlord.
Unfortunately with local councils becoming more strict on their rules, this is not something that can be ignored due to legal/compliance issues, particularly in relation to tenants health and safety matters, whereby local councils have the power to impose fixed penalty fines up to £500.
The Provisions of the amended act are to ensure health and safety is complied with. Regulations are made up of:-
* ACoP (l8) The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems
* HSG274 Part 1, 2 and 3
* COSHH Regulations
Your Legal Requirements as a Landlord is to appoint a competent person to:-
* Identify and assess sources of risk (Risk Assessment)
* Carry out any new risk assessments, only if any changes occur to the hot & cold water services, or if the owner changes
* Prepare a scheme for preventing or controlling the risk
* Implement, manage and monitor precautions
* Keep records of precautions
* Appoint a person to be managerially responsible
What is a competent person?
A competent person is, as defined by the Health & Safety Executive, is someone who has sufficient training, experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly, in carrying out the risk assessments and any additional recommendations. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need.
Who we will be using as a competent person?
Leapfrog Lettings have begun working with several Water Hygiene Specialists offering a wide range of water treatment and water hygiene services designed to improve both the safety and cost effectiveness of our customer’s water systems, providing the highest standards in water management, with memberships to the british Occupational Hygiene Society and Residential Landlords Association.
These Risk Assements will be carried out on every newly tenanted property (at change of tenant/occupation) with a maximum period of 3 years. A certificate will be held on file for our records.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
It is important to us that Tenants Deposits have the full protection of the Law and because of this, Leapfrog Lettings are members of the Deposit Protection Service.
Under new legislation, from 6 April 2007 all deposits taken from tenants against possible non-payment of rent or damage to a property must now be covered by what is called a Tenancy Deposit Protection. This means that any landlord or agent who takes a deposit for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must safeguard it in one of the approved tenancy deposit protection schemes.
Under this scheme any deposits paid to Leapfrog Lettings are either sent to the Deposit Protection Services (DPS) or held by the landlord, in an insurance backed account. This ensures that if there is a dispute between the Landlord and the Tenant as to how the deposit should be allocated at the end of the Tenancy both parties can rely upon the DPS to make a binding decision on how the deposit should be allocated. It has been developed to protect both landlords and tenants and provides an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service, which will ensure any disputes concerning deposits are resolved as swiftly as possible. You can find out more information at www.depositprotection.com.