Legal Advice

Energy Performance Certificates or EPCs

Information for both Landlords & Tenants

An EPC is document that is now a mandatory requirement for Landlords and Agents to provide to Tenants. It shows the actual energy efficiency of a property as it is and the potential of energy efficiency it could have and this is purely for both parties information. There is no requirement for a Landlord to meet the potential level. SEARLES can arrange EPCs at a competitive rate for Landlords and the graph is visible as part of the marketing for any property both on the website and on the marketing paperwork.

Tenants Deposit Scheme or TDS

Information for both Landlords & Tenants

If the tenancy is an AST (‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’), then any Landlord or Agent who takes a deposit from a Tenant must safeguard it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. SEARLES is a member of the TDS which is an independent, not-for-profit company that resolves complaints and disputes in a fair way. Please ask for a brochure for full information and I will send this to you.

How To Rent Guide

Information for both Landlords & Tenants

Download the How To Rent Guide for more information about letting and renting.

Inventories and Statements of Condition

Information for both Landlords & Tenants

An Inventory is one of the most important elements of the documentation required for any residential letting as it is the document used to measure the condition of the property at the start and at the end of the tenancy and is used if a dispute arises. SEARLES will arrange a thorough and independent Inventory and Statement of Condition for you at a competitive rate. Please ask for further details and I will send this to you.

Tenancy Agreements and Notices

Information for Landlords

It is vital to get the correct paperwork for your tenancy so please consult with me on this and SEARLES will provide you with the correct one.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993

Information for Landlords

It is a criminal offence to let premises with upholstered furniture or soft furnishings which cannot be proven to comply with the above regulations. The regulations apply to the following which must be match resistant, cigarette resistant and carry a permanent label:

  • All upholstered furniture
  • Three piece suites
  • Beds and divans, including the upholstered bases
  • Padded headboards
  • Sofa-beds
  • Furniture with loose or fitted covers
  • Children’s furniture, cots and other items used by a baby or small child
  • Cushions
  • High-chairs
  • Mattresses of any size
  • Pillows
  • Garden furniture which may be used indoors

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Information for Landlords

You are responsible for providing instruction books for all items of electrical equipment and for ensuring that all electrical appliances within the premises comply with the above regulations. You should also ensure that all electrical installations are safe and have them checked regularly.

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

Information for Landlords

It is a criminal offence to let premises with gas appliances, installations and pipe-work that have not been checked by a Gas Safe Register Registered Engineer (this is the official gas safety body in Great Britain with effect from 1 April 2009). You will need to provide a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) carried out no more than twelve months previously. The GSC will need to be renewed at twelve monthly intervals. Your should have Tenant documentary proof of your compliance with these Regulations at the commencement of the tenancy and within twenty eight days of the GSC being renewed. If you use your own contractor proof will be needed to show their Gas Safe Register registration.

No Tenancy can commence until we are in receipt of a valid GSC.

Part “P” Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)

Information for Landlords

From January 1 2005 the above regulations came into force requiring qualified personnel to carry out certain electrical work at premises. To ensure compliance with the regulations we will only use a competent person to carry out any electrical work at the premises. If the Landlord wishes to use his own contractor then written proof will be required that he is currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme before issuing instructions.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Information for Landlords

Being a Landlord isn’t just about providing a roof over someone’s head and occasionally repairing the boiler. There are many legal requirements that all Landlords are bound by, with seemingly more laws being passed each day. The laws are designed to protect Tenants from unscrupulous Landlords, but of course they also affect ‘good’ Landlords, who would by their very nature take the safety of their Tenants seriously.

Sometimes, though, new laws come into force without fanfare or a letter being dropped through your door and can make you unwittingly in breach of your duties.

One such law, which came into force on 1st October 2015, is that all private Landlords must now ensure that their rental properties have fitted, working and tested smoke detector on all floors and a carbon monoxide detector where solid fuels are used (although we recommend a CO detector regardless of what fuel type). You should check and make sure that you are complying with these requirements or you could face up to a £5,000 fine.

Some fire stations throughout the country offer free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, or you can buy them at most DIY shops. The need for smoke alarms is obvious and most people have them installed at home (and most Tenants are aware of the need to test them regularly, though you should put in place a system to remind them to do so). Carbon monoxide alarms are designed to detect this ‘silent killer’ and with the increase in the number of solid fuel fires that are installed in buildings, plus the ever-present threat of a malfunctioning boiler, they are vital for saving lives.

This law highlights the need for Landlords to be ever vigilant about changes to their responsibilities.

Buildings and Contents Insurance

Information for Landlords

SEARLES can offer you FCC Landlord’s Buildings and Contents Insurance products at highly competitive prices – see leaflet attached. Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact FCC Paragon’s Customer Care Team on 0844 375 9616 or email customercare@fccparagon.com.

The following is the unique link to FCC Paragon’s online insurance quote system:
http://www.paragonquote.com/home.cfm?referID=F7606.