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Letting your property

As a landlord you have responsibilities, including:

  • Keeping your rented properties safe and healthy for people to live in
  • Making sure all gas and electrical equipment you supply is safely installed and maintained
  • Following fire safety regulations
  • Providing an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • Protecting your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme

We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to make sure that homes are safe for people to live in. This involves inspecting your property for possible hazards - for example, falling on dangerous or uneven stairs and steps.

If you own a property and rent it out, we may decide to do an HHSRS inspection because:

  • Your tenants have asked for an inspection
  • We have done a survey of local properties and think your property might be hazardous

We will look at 29 health and safety areas and score each hazard. Officers will take action to address significant defects and hazards and may take action to address lesser risk hazards.

In future, you won’t be able to seek possession of your properties to undertake repairs if we have already taken action against you to address these problems on your behalf. Should this be the case, we will seek to work with you to maintain tenancies for the people living at your property.  

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is defined as a property that is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, for example:

  • A five bedroom student house
  • Bedsit accommodation with three individual people living there
  • A couple and a friend sharing
  • Certain blocks of flats that haven’t been converted pre-1991 with building regulations or post-1991 without building regulations

A House is not in multiple occupation if:

  • Two friends are sharing
  • There are two flats with a single person in each
  • The tenants are a family unit  

If you are a landlord that rents a HMO then you must ensure that the correct fire safety precautions are in place and the correct number amenities are present. There are several different scenarios that will require different standards. We recommend that you contact us for further advice if you are concerned with fire safety or the general amenities at the property you let or intend to let.

No. of persons Amenity standards for bathrooms/toilets in relation to number of persons

1 – 4 persons

No requirement for wash hand basins (WHB) in sleeping rooms

At least 1 bathroom and 1 WC (the bathroom and WC may be combined)

WHB not required in bedrooms

5 persons

1 WHB required in each sleeping room plus

1 bathroom AND
1 separate WC with WHB (but the WC can be contained within a second bathroom)

6 – 10 persons

1 WHB required in each sleeping room plus
2 bathrooms AND
2 separate WCs with WHB (but one of the WCs can be contained within one of the bathrooms)
3 separate compartments required

11 – 15 persons

1 x WHB required in each sleeping room plus
3 bathrooms AND
3 separate WCs with WHB (but two of the WCs can be contained within 2 of the bathrooms).
4 separate compartments required

You must keep your property in good condition, and any gas or electrical systems must meet specified safety standards. You have a legal right to enter your property to inspect it or carry out repairs, but you must give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice. Immediate access may be possible in emergencies. Your tenants have the right to stay in the property during the repairs.

As a landlord, you are normally responsible for repairs to:

  • The structure of your property
  • Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings
  • Heating and hot water systems
  • Any damage you cause through attempting repairs

If your property is seriously damaged by a fire, flood or other similar incident, you don’t have to rebuild or renovate it. However, if you do, you can’t charge your tenants for any repairs made.

You can ask tenants to move out during major repairs, but before this happens you should agree (in writing):

  • How long the works will last
  • Your tenants’ right to return
  • Details of any alternative accommodation

You can’t repossess a property to do repairs. However, if you’re planning substantial works, or want to redevelop the property, you can apply to the courts for an order for your tenants to leave. The courts are more likely to grant this if you provide alternative accommodation.

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