Landlords Legal Obligation
Landlords have an obligation to ensure their property satisfies specific regulations relating to the marketing and safety of their properties.
Energy Performance Certification
From the 4th January 2009 legislation came in to effect requiring landlords to provide a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for their property. The EPC is part of a series of measures being introduced across Europe to reflect legislation which will help cut buildings’ carbon emissions and tackle climate change. It provides tenants with information on the energy efficiency of the property, allowing them to make an informed decision to rent based on the efficiency of the heating system, insulation and white goods. It also highlights to landlords areas where their property could be improved to increase the energy performance rating of their property. Any newly marketed properties will require an EPC, which will remain valid for ten years.
Under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Order 2000, any rented property, which is occupied by three or more unrelated people, must have a licence from the local authority. This license relates to the fitness of the landlord and the property to be used as an HMO.
It is compulsory for all landlords to register with the Scottish Executive, as part of the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004. This registration is to ensure that all landlords are ‘fit and proper to be landlords’. Edinburgh City Council charges a registration fee of £55 (+ additional £11 for each additional property). Register at; www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk or; Landlord Registration, City of Edinburgh Council, Environmental Health, Chesser House, 500 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 3YJ, Tel. 0131 200 2000
White Lettings Registration Number 359305/230/11541
Tenancy Deposit Deposit Scheme
The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force on 7 March 2011 and the scheme started on Monday 2nd July 2012. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme prescribes that deposits should be held by an independent 3rd party to protect deposits until they are due to be repaid. After 2nd July 2012, landlords (and lettings agents) must pay deposits to 1 of 3 approved TDS scheme providers and must provide the tenant with key information about the tenancy and deposit. The money will be held by the TDS scheme provider until the end of tenancy; this will allow deposits to be arbitrated more fairly at the end of tenancies.
Non-resident tax advice
Rental income is liable to UK tax whether the landlord lives in the UK or not, and normally a letting agent or tenant has to deduct tax when paying rent to any landlord whose usual place of abode is outside the UK. If an overseas landlord’s UK tax matters are in order, non-resident landlords can apply for approval to receive their UK rental income with no tax deducted. Non-resident landlords can apply to receive their rent with no tax deducted on the basis that;
- their UK tax affairs are up to date, or
- they have not had any UK tax obligations before they applied, or
- they do not expect to be liable to UK income tax for the year in which they apply, or
- they are not liable to pay UK tax because they are Sovereign Immunes (these are generally foreign Heads of State, governments or government departments).
Non-resident landlords should complete form NRL1. This enables an individual whose usual place of abode is outside the UK to have his or her UK rental income paid without deduction of UK tax.
Gas Safety Certification
According to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the landlord must ensure that any gas appliances are checked annually by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered engineer to ensure they are safe. If you are organising your Gas Safety Check independently, or have a current Gas Safety Certificate, please provide us with a copy which we can pass on to your tenants. If you have organised Scottish Gas Homecare (or similar) the Gas Safety Certificate you may be entitled to an annual gas safety inspection as part of your package. In this case you should contact your service supplier to make them aware that the property is rented and that you require a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate.
Electrical Installation Condition Report
Landlord Accreditation Scotland require that Landlords perform an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every five years. The EICR checks that the wiring and circuitry in your property is safe.
Electrical Portable Appliance Testing
Landlord Accreditation Scotland require that Landlords perform Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) annually. The PAT checks that all portable appliances (e.g. fridge/freezer, lamps, toasters, etc) are safe to use.
Hard Wired Smoke Alarms
Hard Wired Smoke Alarms
Your property must comply with Section 20(1) of The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 which states that all rented property must meet the new ‘Repairing Standard’. As part of this Repairing Standard, landlords must ensure that the property they rent out has “satisfactory provision for detecting and giving warning of fires”. If there is non-working smoke alarm in your property a mains wired smoke alarm will need to be installed.
The Scottish Government has issued guidance and Local Authorities have been circulating revised guidance too. In particular paragraph 7 sets out the requirement. Put basically, the requirement now is as follows :
- one functioning smoke alarm in every room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes
- one functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings
- one heat alarm in every kitchen
- all alarms should be interlinked.
Carbon Monoxide detectors (CO) are recommended but not required yet. They will be soon as they are included in the 2014 Act, the relevant part is expected to be in force this year.
Landlord Accreditation Scotland require that a packed fire blanket must be provided within rental properties and that this should be attached to the wall somewhere in the property (normally close to the kitchen entrance).
According to the fire and furnishing fire safety amendment regulations 1993 all new furniture must have a manufacturer’s label attached to it showing measure has been taken to ensure compliance with Fire Safety Regulations. The regulations came into effect on 1 March 1990, so most new furniture/upholstered furniture (bought since this date) should comply.