The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and the subsequent amendments to that Act
As a landlord, you must ensure that all upholstered furniture, soft furnishings, beds, mattresses, pillows, cushions, headboards, loose and stretch covers for furniture and seat pads supplied to a property as part of a letting must comply with these regulations.
Exempted items are: curtains, carpets, bed linen, duvets, period and antique furniture manufactured before 1950.
All furniture purchased new since 1st March 1990 should comply – if it does it will have a safety label attached to it at the point of sale. If in doubt, the items should be removed.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Under the above regulations, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances (boilers, cookers, gas fires, pipework and flues) are maintained in good order and checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords are obliged to give their tenants a copy of this gas safety record within 28 days of it being carried out. The regulations also state that you must retain the gas safety record for a period of 2 years.
For more information please visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The above regulations place a legal responsibility on landlords to make sure all electrical wiring, installations and appliances supplied as part of the property are safe. To comply with the regulations, all electrical installations and appliances in the property need to be regularly checked and serviced by an appropriately qualified engineer. Whilst there is not at present a specific statutory requirement placed upon a landlord to prove that such items are regularly checked or tested by a qualified electrical engineer,
We can, if required, arrange for gas and electrical safety checks to be carried out on your behalf by a qualified engineer.
All properties built since June 1992 are required to have mains-operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms fitted on every floor. Although it is not a requirement for older properties, we recommend that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in all properties.
There are many financial issues which should be considered when letting property. All income generated from letting property in the UK is liable to UK tax, whether the Landlord lives in the UK or not. Rental income must be declared to the taxman using a Self-Assessment tax return. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) assesses income individually, so a tax return must be completed by each legal owner of the property. Income tax is payable on the profit generated by letting your property. However, certain allowable expenses can be deducted to minimise your liability.
The Non-Resident Landlords Scheme is a scheme operated by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords. The scheme requires UK lettings agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent collected. You are considered to be non-resident if your usual place of abode is outside the UK, or you are absent from the UK for a period of more than six months.
You can apply to HMRC for approval to receive rents without tax being deducted. If your application is successful then once we have received written confirmation of their decision we will pay you the rent without deducting tax. Even though the rent may be paid to you without tax being deducted, it remains liable to UK tax and you must include it on your tax return.
Where a non-resident landlord does not have approval from HMRC, we charge £100 + VAT for submitting quarterly returns and an annual return. We complete the annual return and send you a certificate showing the amount of tax that we have paid on your behalf. No interest is paid to landlords on tax retentions held by Open House Bedford.
Open House Bedford must be provided with a UK residential address for service. If we are not provided with a UK residential address then we are obliged to assume that a landlord is non-resident and we will operate the provisions of the scheme. Open House Bedford will also be obliged to state the landlord’s correspondence address on the tenancy agreement as c/o Open House Bedford registered office address.
Where we do not deduct tax which should have been deducted under the scheme we are entitled to recover this money from you at a later date, along with any other costs that are imposed on us by HMRC.
Landlords who are resident outside the UK are not entitled to hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.
From 6th April 2007 legislation came into effect requiring that any landlord or agent who takes a deposit from a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must safeguard it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. We are a member of the Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), which is a government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
For all Assured Shorthold Tenancies where we hold the deposit, it will be protected by this scheme. For more information about the Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) please visit www.depositprotection.com.
From 1st October 2008, all rental properties are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which rates the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property on a scale from A to G. The EPC must be made available to prospective tenants before a new tenancy. The EPC will remain valid for 10 years. Open House Bedford use a accredited EPC providers and can commission one on your behalf.
If your property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) then you as the landlord must meet certain standards and obligations.
Your property is a (HMO) if:
A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.
Some HMOs must be licensed to find out whether your property needs a licence and what this means for you please read our HMO section