Yesterday we posed the question asked by many landlords – how do I avoid a bad tenant? How do I minimise the risk of a tenant moving in and not paying rent or damaging the property? We went through all the benefits of using an agent and how tenants are just part of wider society and therefore, just like society the good people far outnumber the bad. It is important to note therefore that this goes both ways…how does a tenant avoid a bad landlord? Once again we asked our Val West for her thoughts;
As we outlined previously, landlords and tenants are just part of society and there will be good and bad people. What then becomes important with a landlord is to ensure that they are conforming to all the necessary legislation. Sometimes landlords can be at fault through ignorance of the law and sometimes it’s intentional. Either way your safety as the person living in the property cannot be compromised so it’s important to know what the landlords legal obligations are.
- Landlords must;
- Be registered with the local authority which covers the house
- Pay any deposit into an approved tenancy deposit scheme
- Provide new tenants with a Tenant Information Pack
- Landlords must ensure that a rented home meets the repairing standard. This is a minimum standard for the condition of the home, its fixtures and fittings, and any appliances provided by the landlord.
- The repairing standard includes a duty to ensure that homes have smoke and fire detectors. This requires more than one alarm. All alarms must be mains wired with battery back-up. Alarms must be interlinked but this can be wireless.
- From 1 December 2015 the repairing standard will include a duty to ensure that homes have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. CO alarms must have a battery that lasts the life of the alarm in each room housing a gas appliance (other than those used solely for cooking) and in any living room or bedroom if a flue from these appliances runs through it.
- Landlords must carry out an electrical safety inspection at least every 5 years. The electrical safety inspection has two parts, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) completed by an approved electrician and a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) which can be carried out by an approved electrician or a landlord who has completed a relevant training course. The PAT sets a retest date for each appliance and this will usually be more frequent than 5 years.
- Landlords have a legal duty to service and test gas equipment and flues within rented accommodation. Repair and maintenance work must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords must ensure that each appliance and flue to which that duty extends is checked for safety annually.
- Landlords have a duty to carry out a risk assessment of hot and cold water systems for Legionnaire’s disease. Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, landlords are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in rented property is properly assessed and controlled.
- Any home advertised for let MUST have a landlord registration number in the advert and also an EPC rating.
All of this may seem onerous to keep on top of and it can be difficult for a landlord to be sure that they have ticked every legal box. Also when you’re desperately looking for a flat how do you know that all of these things are in place?
For us at Indigo Square point 8 can often be the first port of call. If the landlord hasn’t even taken the basics steps to adhere to the law in their advert then we would suggest he/she may be lax elsewhere. Also properties advertised through a reputable letting agent are far more likely to conform to all this legislation. We at Indigo Square Property will not take on a client who does not adhere to all the legislative requirements.
The advice from Indigo Square would be to prioritise a landlord who is using an agent and make sure that the agent is a member of reputable organisations. Indigo Square are members of the following organisations;
- The Property Ombudsman
- The Scottish Association of Landlords
- Safe Agent
- Landlord Accreditation Scotland
- Council of Letting Agents