Landlord Certificates

Your duties are laid down by law, and non-compliance with the regulations can result in a substantial fine or a custodial sentence. You are required to perform various Landlord Certificates. Still, your responsibilities go beyond the legal - as a good landlord, you want to go above and beyond to ensure the safety and comfort of your tenants. It is important to remember that in addition to the checks and tests you are legally required to keep, you must retain proof that you have acted correctly - so make sure you keep all of the certificates below.

Gas safety checks

All gas appliances and smoke ducts in your property must be checked annually for safety. The checks must be carried out by a qualified engineer at Gas Safe. You can now perform the checks between 10 and 12 months after the previous inspection while maintaining the expiry date of the previous check. If the reviews are conducted outside this time, the new deadline is 12 months from the date of the last statement.

You must provide a security check report to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion. New tenants must receive this at the start of their rental period. You must keep copies of the record for at least two years, and if you have used the flexible timeframe, you must keep the record of any checks until two further checks have been performed.

Fire safety

You must ensure your home has smoke detectors in common areas, including halls and landings. You are not legally required to install a carbon monoxide detector unless you have a solid fuel firing device (such as a wood-burning stove), but it is a good practice, and many landlords do that. If you leave your home furnished, you should also check whether fire safety labels on upholstery (such as beds and couches) are intact whenever you rent it out again.

Electrical safety checks

The law requires that you ensure that all electrical systems and devices in your home are safe before the start of a lease. It would be wise to also perform annual checks during a rental period, although this is optional. Houses in multiple occupations require an electrical report and certificate every five years, but more regular testing is recommended. The safety checks must be carried out by a competent person. This means a qualified electrician part P.

You also need an electrical installation condition report (EICR). This identifies the state of the electrical circuits in the building. Homes must be tested at least every ten years. A qualified electrician must carry out all subsequent critical electrical installations and provide a certificate in addition to the EICR. If there is a new tenant between EICRs, the system must be checked to identify apparent problems, and evidence of these checks must be kept.

Portable devices must also be tested. This is called PAT testing, and the regulations do not specify how often this should be done during a rental period. Annual tests are recommended, and it is recommended that you leave at most two years between tests. You are not required to test devices owned by your tenants.

Energy performance certificate

You must have an up-to-date energy performance certificate for your home. This contains information about a home's energy consumption and typical energy costs. It is valid for ten years and includes recommendations for improving energy efficiency. There are now minimum standards when it comes to energy efficiency for rental properties that state that properties need a rating of at least an E before a new tenancy can begin. However, as with many things, there are exceptions to this, so it could be worth seeking out a guide of each exemption detailing to see if any of these might apply to you.

Go above and beyond

Before and during each rental period, you must ensure that your property is safe for your tenant. There are secure areas for which you are responsible, but no landlord certificates are required. For example, you must install and test smoke detectors. You must keep records of controls to protect yourself and reassure your tenant. You must consider the legally required checks and tests as the minimum that you must undertake. Maintaining the highest safety standards ensures your tenant and protects your property.

Landlord insurance

You have no legal obligation to take out a landlord insurance policy. Still, it is unlikely that standard building and home insurance policies are valid - even if you rent out your property temporarily or to family members. And lenders usually make it a requirement for buy-to-let mortgages. We do not have to tell you that it is not a good idea not to have insurance for a value of hundreds of thousands. How much would the Landlord's insurance cost? Check out this article by Obieinsurance.

Rental agreement

With a rental agreement, you can determine the rental conditions. Without one, you still have a lease in legal terms - they just won't be your terms. The GDPR (general data protection regulations) that came into force in 2018 means that landlords must now take steps to keep tenants' data safe. You must attach a privacy notice to your lease and ensure that you only hold data for a legitimate reason.