Repairs and Maintenance on Your Properties
Landlords are responsible for the general maintenance of their property and for any major repairs that need to be carried out. This includes repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and hot water installations, baths, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations.
A let property should be safe and healthy for occupiers, so landlords should ensure that it is capable of providing adequate heating - ideally controllable central heating and insulation - with the equipment and fabric of the building in good repair.
The sanitation and the electricity and gas supplies must be in working order, there should be no fall or trip hazards, water heating equipment has to be in working order and the property should be free from damp.
It is up to the landlord to make sure all gas appliances and installations are maintained and in good order. Any gas boilers need an annual safety check carried out by a CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers) registered engineer. The landlord should keep a record of the safety checks and issue a copy to the tenant within 28 days of each annual check being carried out. It is the responsibility of the occupier, and not the landlord, to maintain any gas appliances that belong to the tenant.
It is a legal requirement for the landlord to ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances supplied with the let - such as kettles, washing machines, cookers, toasters and immersion heaters - are safe to use. Also, the landlord must provide accompanying instruction booklets with any new appliance supplied.
There are several fire safety rules that must be followed by landlords in accordance with the 2004 Housing Act. These include providing an adequate means of escape and there may, depending on the size of the property, have to be smoke alarms and fire extinguishing equipment installed. Also, any furniture and furnishings provided must meet the fire resistance regulations. The local authority's Environmental Health Officer can give landlords advice on their obligations and can force landlords to provide adequate fire precautions.
Special Rules for HMOs
If a let property has three or more tenants, at least one of whom is unrelated to the others, it will be considered a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by the local authority. Special rules apply to the management of HMOs and some may need a property licence.
The local housing authority can impose conditions to ensure that a licensed property is occupied by no more than the permitted number of persons. The local authority will also check the facilities and ensure that the property is properly managed. It is the responsibility of the landlord to apply to the local authority for the licence and pay the appropriate fee, and as of 6th July 2006, it is an offence to operate a HMO without a licence. Note that a landlord is not allowed to evict tenants in order to bring the number of occupants in the property below the threshold for licensing it.
As well as complying with regulations, landlords should make regular checks that can spot potential problems early and so save money. Water can cause major problems in unwanted places, so check the roof and guttering, replace broken tiles and repair the lead flashing. It is worth casting an eye over the drains too, as a drain cleared before a blockage occurs is easier on the wallet.