The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Short hold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme, landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents will be able to choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people’s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and common hold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises. Learn more here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/dda_factsheet4-premises.pdf

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
From 1st October 2008 landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent will be required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. In Scotland EPCs for rental properties will be required by January 2009. The certificates must be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted. A new certificate will not be required on each let since, in the case of rental property; EPCs will be valid for 10 years. The requirement is being introduced to comply with the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which applies to all property, including rented property. This became law in 2003 and allowed until January 2009 for full implementation so as to provide time for sufficient numbers of energy assessor to be trained. The Directive’s requirements were introduced in England and Wales along with the controversial Home Information Pack regulations that require sellers to produce packs providing information about their title, local searches, plus an EPC. We can arrange an EPC inspection for our landlord clients upon request.

We hope that the above information helped you answering your questions. If there are any parts of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.