For any active or potential landlord, there are a number of legal requirements to be met at various points in the letting cycle. This list is growing year on year as the Scottish Government introduces more and more measures aimed at cleaning up the rental sector in Scotland and moving the industry closer to what seems like inevitable regulation some day in the future. It is difficult for landlords to keep up to date with the latest obligations they must meet and it is one of the key reasons for many who choose to appoint a letting agent to manage their property. I’ll cover the main things to be aware of here and summarise them in a brief check list at the end.
Before putting your property on the market
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
From the 9th January 2013 it became law in Scotland that all advertised properties feature the EPC rating in all online and printed advertising.
Every private landlord in Scotland must register with their local authority as a landlord. The Scottish Government have announced that property ads should display the landlord registration number (similar to the guidance on EPC ratings) although a date for this being made effective is yet to be announced. I would advise that you register as a landlord prior to advertising your property and display your registration number in all advertising.
Smoke Alarm and Fire Blanket
You should have a hard wired smoke alarm fitted on each floor of the property and more than one per floor if one will not cover all adjacent rooms. Technically, if you have a functional battery powered smoke alarm that was fitted prior to September 2007 then this would tick the box. However, years have passed since the change in regulations and I would always recommend having a hard wired alarm fitted. Landlord Accreditation Scotland stipulate that a fire blanket is installed somewhere in the property. This is also something I would recommend as an extra diligent measure.
For all properties with a gas supply it is an explicit legal requirement for a landlord’s gas safety certificate to be completed by a suitably qualified Gas Safe engineer at least once a year. It is also recommended that a check is carried out in between tenancies.
There is no explicit legal requirement in Scottish tenancy law that states what electrical safety checks must be undertaken however there is the obligation for landlords to take reasonable steps to ensure the property is electrically safe. This vague and unhelpful piece of legislation in interpreted currently by Edinburgh Council as a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) be carried out annually and an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) be carried out every 5 years. The PAT covers any appliance with an accessible plug and the EICR is everything behind the sockets including the circuits and circuit boards.
To summarise, the checklist of legal requirements for landlords to be aware of is as follows:
– EPC (every 10 years)
– Landlord Registration (renew every 3 years)
Prior to the tenant moving in:
– Install hard wired smoke alarm and fire blanket (do this once)
– Gas Safety Certificate (annually)
– EICR (every five years)
– PAT (annually)
Due later this year is the addition of carbon monoxide alarms as a legal requirement but no word yet on dates and wiring requirements. Watch this space for more information.
This checklist covers the key areas for landlords to be aware of prior to renting their properties. It does not cover additional requirements needed for HMO properties but I will cover this in a subsequent blog.
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, tweet me @UmegaNeil.