Legal Regulations

Legal Regulations

The Housing Health & Safety Rating Scheme (HHSRS) which has replaced the old Environmental Health’s way of rating the habitability of a property. It now encompasses the safety of the occupants from fire risk as well. This is based on different category ratings for the type of property and the type/number of occupants. Most of the changes affect whether the house is classed as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

The different categories of this type of property are as follows:

Unlicensed HMO:
This is a property that has 3 or more sharers (unrelated tenants). You are required to have interlinked smoke detectors in the hallways and lounge and a heat rise detector in the kitchen. You will also require 30 minute fire doors on the lounge, kitchen and any dining room, these are to be complete with door closers (over head type only) and smoke seals. You will also require door closers on any ground floor bedroom door. A fire blanket must be installed in the kitchen and any cupboard under the stairs must be “fire-proofed” in accordance with the 30 minute fire regulations, any door on the under stairs cupboard must have a lock installed and a sign attached stating “Keep locked when not in use”.

Licensable HMO:
This is a property with 5 or more sharers. You will be required to have fire doors on each room, smoke alarms throughout, emergency lighting systems and much more. You must register this property with the council to be able to rent it. For further information regarding what is required and the process to follow please contact the Public Protection Department of the local council, if Bournemouth then please call 01202 451451.

Any other type of property is not an HMO: any property that is let to 2 or less shares (unrelated tenants), houses let to a family or properties rented on a tenancy agreement that is NOT an Assured Shorthold Tenancy do not apply.

HMO Article 4 Direction (C3 or C4) UPDATED
If you have a property that has been regularly let to shares in the past and you can prove a history of renting to this type of occupier then you will not be affect. Likewise if you have always rented to a family then there will be no issue.

There will be an issue if you normally rent to a family and want to put sharers in the property or visa versa. You will need to apply to the local council for planning permission under the article 4 direction. This may be declined depending on the number of properties within the area that already have permission.

Tenants Deposit Protection UPDATED
This has been a legal requirement since April 2007 under the Housing Act 2004 however new legislation came into force in April 2012 by way of the Localism Act 2011, this affects the way the deposit is registered and the prescribed information that must be passed onto the tenants. If you are intending on protecting the deposit yourself make sure that you read the terms and conditions of the scheme rules carefully. You will need to make it clear to us which scheme that you are intending on using so that we are able to provide the tenants with the correct paperwork. You now have 30 days from the date that the deposit is paid to register the deposit, failure to comply within this timescale means that you are unable to give your tenants notice to vacate the property and leaves you open to being sued by your tenants.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988
- as amended 1993:

These regulations require that the following furniture and soft furnishings supplied by the Landlord in let properties meet fire safety standards:
• beds, headboards of beds, mattresses (of any size);
• sofas, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles;
• nursery furniture;
• garden furniture which is suitable for use in a dwelling;
• scatter cushions, bean bags, window seats and seat pads;
• pillows;
• padded stools and padded chests (Ottomans);
• put-u-up beds and garden loungers/seats;
• loose and stretch covers for furniture.

Furniture manufactured since March 1989 will comply with these regulations and most will be marked with a label showing compliance.

The regulations do not apply to:
• sleeping bags;
• bed-clothes (including duvets) and pillowcases;
• loose covers for mattresses;
• curtains and carpets;

Electrical Tests: Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994: PAT TESTING:
These regulations require that where any plug, socket or adapter supplied for intended domestic use, that it complies with the appropriate current standard, and specifically that:

• the live and neutral pins on plugs are part insulated so as to prevent shocks when removing plugs from sockets; and all plugs are pre-wired.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994:
These regulations require that all appropriate electrical equipment supplied in a property must be safe to use.
The following guidelines apply to all electrical appliances supplied for the tenancy:

• Live parts should not be accessible;
• Leads should not be worn or frayed and be complete with no joins;
• trailing leads and the use of multiple plug adaptors should be avoided;
• Correct plugs (marked ‘B SECTION 136’) should be fitted and correctly fused;
• Plug sockets should be firmly fastened to the wall or skirting;
• Any moving parts should be guarded;
• Electric blankets should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions; and
• Microwave doors should be clean, free from corrosion and effective.
• Washing machines, cookers, etc, should be serviced and in good working order;
• Electrical heaters and central heating appliances should be serviced annually;
• Fireguards should meet BS3248;and
• Any fire extinguishers should be marked ‘BS6575 1985’ and tested annually.

Housing Act 2004:
You are required to have the fixed wiring tested and a Full NICEIC report obtained. Full regulations to follow.

Building regulations part P, Electrical safety in dwellings: Part P came into effect in England and Wales on 1 January 2005 making it a legal requirement for certain types of electrical work in dwellings – and associated buildings such as garages, sheds, greenhouses and outbuildings – to comply with the UK safety standard BS 7671:2001.

The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998
Place a statutory duty on all Landlords of residential property to ensure that all gas appliances, pipe work and flues are maintained in a safe condition. They particularly seek to avoid the escape of carbon monoxide poison which is silent, odourless and deadly and require that:

• all let properties must have at all times a valid Gas Safety Record, even if the gas supply consists only of a capped off gas pipe where all other pipe work and appliances have been removed;
• before a tenant takes occupation, the gas appliances and pipe work must be checked by a registered engineer who must provide the Landlord with a Gas Safety Record (the Landlord must provide the tenant(s) with a copy of that safety record at the start of the tenancy);
• a gas safety check must be carried out annually and the tenant(s) provided with a copy of the safety record within 28 days of that check being carried out (this does not mean you have a 28 day grace period between a Gas Safety Record expiry and a new record being issued); and he Landlord must also keep a copy of each Gas Safety Record for at least two years.

General Safety Risk Assessment: The property must be a safe environment for your tenants to live. Make sure that you look at your property with an open mind and look at any potential hazards based on the type and age of the tenants that you are renting to. It may be a breach of your buildings insurance if this is not carried out.




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Legal Regulations

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