Building and structural condition

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for keeping the structure and exterior of your property in good repair. You are also responsible for the maintenance of supplies of water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating (although you are not responsible for the utility bills).

Repairs and maintenance expenses are normally met by the landlord unless misuse on the part of the tenants can be established.


If the property you intend to let is mortgaged, or if you have another loan secured against it, then you should obtain consent from your lender/s prior to the start of the tenancy.

If you have a regular residential mortgage on the property, some lenders may change your interest rate or make a charge to you for amending your agreement with them. Some lenders may require you to switch to a 'buy to let' mortgage product.

Most lenders will require a clause to be added to the tenancy agreement to make your tenant/s aware that the tenancy may be brought to an end if the lender requires possession in the event that you default on your mortgage payments.

Leasehold properties

If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms and conditions of your lease and where necessary obtain consent to let from your freeholder.

Some leases expressly forbid animals, erecting satellite-dishes, or the airing of laundry in publicly visible areas. Most leases give the freeholder the right to charge the leaseholder in the event that these conditions are breached. It is important you are aware of any conditions in your lease so you can inform your tenant/s before the start of the tenancy.

Furnished or unfurnished?

Most properties are let on an unfurnished basis, although an unfurnished property will usually include flooring (carpets, laminate etc), curtains or blinds and a cooker.

You might achieve a slightly higher monthly rental if you provide furniture but you will probably also find that your void periods (times when there are no tenants living in your property) are increased as people looking for furnished properties are often shorter-term renters.

Larger properties generally attract families who have their own furniture and are looking for a long-term let.

We generally recommend that you provide the minimum furnishing. All items left in the property must meet the necessary safety requirements.

Safety requirements for furniture and furnishings

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations require certain items that a landlord may supply to tenants, to meet minimum fire resistance standards.

The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture made after 1950. They do not apply to curtains, carpets, duvets and bed linen.

Items that comply will have a fire safety label attached to them. Items that don't have this label should be removed before the start of the tenancy.


Gardens should be left tidy and clear of any rubbish in time for the start of the tenancy. Tenants can be required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools and equipment.

Gas regulations

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that gas fittings and appliances are safe and maintained properly. This responsibility cannot be delegated to tenants.

The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998 require all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation to be checked for safety before the property is let and then every 12 months thereafter. Installers and inspectors of gas appliances must be registered with the Gas Safe Register.

The gas safety regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive. Failing to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence, punishable by unlimited fines and imprisonment if the case is referred to the Crown Court.

Electrical installations

Currently, there are no specific legal requirements for landlords to have electrical installations certified. However, a landlord does have a general duty to supply a safe environment and it is advised to have electrical installations periodically checked by an electrician who is a member of the National Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations require all electrical equipment supplied by landlords to be safe.

Equipment covered by the regulations includes kettles, microwaves, ovens, fires, fridges and washing machines.

In particular, each electrical item should be:

  • complete, well-maintained and in full working order
  • supplied with a mains lead that is in good condition and secure at both the appliance and the plug
  • supplied with relevant user instructions, guidelines and warnings
  • fitted with the correct plug of the latest approved type (BS1363) with sleeved live and neutral pins, and correctly fused.

Fire safety

All landlords have a common law duty to ensure that the property they provide is safe.

Residential properties should comply with building regulations on matters such as:

  • Emergency escape routes (particularly where bedrooms are higher than the 1st floor)
  • Fire doors and emergency exits

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations require certain items supplied by a landlord to meet minimum fire resistance standards.

Smoke Alarms - All properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains-powered smoke detectors. Legislation requires that smoke alarms should be installed in rented residential accommodation and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance.

Other legislation

The General Product (Safety) Regulations require all general goods to be reasonably safe.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 requires that goods supplied must be reasonably safe. This includes both new and used goods.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Landlords are legally required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to tenants. An EPC must be prepared by a registered Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).

Properties that were occupied before 1st October 2008, and where the tenancy has not changed since that date are exempt from the requirement.

An EPC will show two ratings for a property:

  1. The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating provides an indication of a property's energy efficiency. The higher the SAP rating, the lower the running costs are likely to be.
  2. The Environmental rating assesses the likely environmental impact of a property. The higher the rating, the more environmentally-friendly the property is.

The EPC will also contain advice on how an energy efficiency rating could be improved. There is currently no legal requirement for landlords to act on any recommendations made.

EPCs are required for all self-contained units (accommodation with its own kitchen, toilet and bathroom). It must be made available from the time the property is marketed.

An EPC is valid for ten years. It can be used as many times as necessary during the ten year period and a new certificate is not required even if work is done to the property.