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What certificates do landlords and agents need to know about?

bradford terraced housing

It can sometimes seem like there is a new piece of regulation or legislation introduced each week to the lettings sector, and it can be hard to keep track.

But when it comes to compliance, there a range of certificates that landlords and agents are obliged to have to show they are keeping their tenants safe and in a home of good repair.

Here, we lay out the certificates that landlords and agents need to be most aware of.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

irst introduced by the government in August 2007 to improve the energy efficiency of homes in England and Wales, these certificates have taken on added importance in recent years as the government has sought to strengthen energy efficiency regulations.

Landlords and agents are obliged to order an EPC for potential tenants before a property is put on the market for rent. A copy must also be given to tenants on the first day of the tenancy. An EPC sets out information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and also offers recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

Most importantly, it gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

Since April 1 2018, and the introduction of the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) Regulations , it has been illegal for private landlords to let domestic properties on new tenancies to new or existing tenants if the EPC rating is F or G (unless an exemption applies).

Since 1 April 2020, the prohibition on letting F and G properties has extended to all relevant properties, even where there has been no change in tenancy.

Enforcement action can be severe. If a local council is of the opinion that a landlord has failed to fulfil their energy efficiency obligations, they can serve the landlord with a compliance notice. If a breach is subsequently confirmed, the landlord could then receive a financial penalty of up to £5,000 in total per property.

Gas safety certificate

Gas safety is hugely important when it comes to rental properties, and landlords – or agents on their behalf – must abide by and understand their gas safety responsibilities.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties a landlord must carry out to ensure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. A landlord or letting agent working on their behalf letting a property with gas appliances installed have three main legal responsibilities: gas safety checks, keeping gas safety records and ongoing maintenance.

All gas appliances and flues in a rental property must undergo an annual gas safety check – and always by a Gas Safe-registered engineer.

Once such a check has been conducted, a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out will be provided. Sometimes this will be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of the Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate, landlords or agents acting on their behalf must provide a record of this check to the tenants.

Legally, a copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to the current set of tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check. Meanwhile, for new tenants, this’ll need to be provided at the start of their tenancy.

Electrical safety certificate

Another crucial way in which landlords, or agents on their behalf, must keep tenants safe is by ensuring electrical safety standards are adhered to in their rental properties.

New regulations, introduced in June 2020 for new tenancies, require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at an interval of at least every five years.

Landlords must also provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.

In April 2021, the regulations were extended to apply to all existing tenancies.

A report (usually known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) must be obtained from the person conducting the inspection and test, which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work needed.

It’s at this point that landlords, or agents working for them, must supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test. This must be provided to a new tenant before they move in, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.

Meanwhile, if a local authority requests it, landlords or agents must supply them with a copy of this report within seven days of receiving the request.

A copy of the report must be retained to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.

There are various other tests that a landlord or agent must or should carry out that may require certification or document keeping, including asbestos surveys and fire risk assessments, as well as boiler servicing, PAT testing, and water usage and ventilation testing. You can find out more here .

PropCert is a nationwide provider of property services including Energy Performance Certificates, Electrical Installation Condition Reports, Asbestos Surveys, Fire Risk Assessments and more.

The company was established in 2010 to meet the growing requirements of EPCs for the private and public sector and has evolved into providing other services as we have grown

For a full list of services please click here and contact us here for any more information on what we provide.

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