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Renting privately

Landlords have a legal duty to take care of their tenants, and ensure they feel safe and secure in their homes. This means they must:

  • act in a professional manner
  • meet safety regulations
  • follow council and government laws

Landlords in England and Wales must also follow the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). You can learn more about this in the government's advice and guidance.

Electrical safety

Electrical safety standards for privately rented properties came into force in 2020. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 apply to all:

  • new tenancies from 1 June 2020
  • existing tenancies from 1 April 2021

If you're a landlord you must:

  • ensure your properties meet electrical safety standards during any period of a tenancy
  • have all electrical installations tested by a 'qualified and competent person' every five years (at least)
  • provide a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to your tenants (or local authority if requested)
  • carry out any remedial works recommended by an EICR

Gas safety

If you're a landlord of a privately rented property that uses gas, you must have this checked every year. This is to meet The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

An engineer registered with the gas safe register must perform these checks. Every gas appliance and flue must be inspected. You must also keep a record of all safety checks at your properties. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

From 1 October 2022, all private and social landlords must make sure that in all of their rented properties there are:

  • smoke alarms on every storey where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation; and
  • carbon monoxide alarms in any room used wholly or partly as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is present (for example ovens, fireplaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, gas and oil fired boilers, but excluding gas cookers)

These changes have been brought about by The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Unless your property has entirely electric heating, you will need to install carbon monoxide alarms. These CO alarms can be battery operated and do not need to be wired in.

You will also need to repair or replace a broken smoke or carbon monoxide alarm as soon as reasonably practicable if a tenant or their representative says it's not working.

If you do not, we will take enforcement action. We will begin by serving you a remedial notice. If you still do not install the alarms or cannot prove that you have taken reasonable steps to, we will do the works-in-default and may also issue you a penalty notice of up to £5,000.

You can find out more in the government's carbon monoxide guidance for landlords and tenants.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations and enforcement

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. They contain information about the property’s energy use, typical energy costs and how to reduce these.

From 1 April 2020, all new and existing tenancies must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Some tenancy types are exempt, like when the cheapest recommended measure will cost over £3,500.

You can find out if your tenancy type is included in the government's regulations. Exemptions must be registered on the PRS Register.

Government regulations for EPCs stop landlords from letting or continuing to let properties that have a rating of F or G. You can find out what your current rating is using the government's find an energy certificate service.

We are currently finding properties that have an F or G rating. If we find that your property is covered under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations, you may be liable for a penalty of up to £5000 if:

  • your property fails to meet the minimum E rating
  • you have not registered your exemption

You may be given a further penalty if there is a change in tenancy and you still do not make your property compliant.

We can help you if you need advice on improving your property. We work with third party organisations and provide free:

  • energy efficiency advice
  • information on grants
  • advice on approved energy efficiency installers

We also sometimes offer grants for properties that already meet the E rating but need support reaching C in the next few years.

You can find out more in our EPC leaflet.

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Accreditation schemes

Landlord accreditation schemes are designed to recognise reputable landlords/agents. These accreditations often help to attract new tenants to your properties.

If you become an accredited landlord/agent, you will receive an accreditation certificate. This will reassure your current/future tenants that your properties are safe and of a high quality.

You will also gain access to a range of support services and advice. We also offer discounted fees if you apply for an HMO licence with us. The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) is popular among our landlords. You can join them through the NRLA website.

The scheme has a joining fee. Before you become accredited, you must also attend training with them to learn about:

  • best practice for landlords
  • housing legislation
  • what is expected of you

You must also sign a legal declaration to say you are a fit and proper person to be a landlord.

You will also be asked to sign up to a code of conduct.

Landlords steering group

Our landlord officers run the Walsall Landlords Steering Group. This group meets regularly to:

  • discuss issues that landlords may have
  • organise free annual landlord events
  • share relevant changes to legislation

Email us if you want to join the mailing list.

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