Lettings & Legislation News

Marylebone’s longest established independent estate agent, Manors, has in-depth knowledge of the central London lettings market in W1, W2, NW1 and surrounding areas. Here Ross Harvey, Manors’ Residential Lettings Manager, summarises the recent changes in legislation to affect London lettings and explains their impact on landlords.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

From the 1st October 2015 onwards, in order to comply with recent legislation, all landlords are required to install at least one battery powered or mains smoke alarm on every storey of a rental property that is used as living accommodation; this requirement affects all rental properties, not just those with tenancies starting after 1st October 2015.

In addition, landlords are now legally bound to install a carbon monoxide detector in any room that contains a solid fuel appliance. Whilst gas appliances are currently not covered by this regulation, Manors strongly advises landlords to consider installing CO detectors in properties powered by gas or oil for the safety of tenants, especially as we anticipate that this regulation may come into force at some point in the future.

Landlords or their agents must also conduct tests to ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, however there is currently no requirement to check existing alarms in tenancies that are continuing or renewed.

Landlords who engage the services of Manors to let and manage their properties can rest assured that Manors will ensure their properties comply with current legislation.

Checking a tenant’s right to rent

From 1st February 2016 onwards, it will be mandatory for all landlords in England to check the immigration status of their tenants.

Following a successful pilot in the West Midlands, the Home Office has decided to roll out the Government’s ‘Right to Rent’ policy and landlords will be required to check the right to rent of all prospective tenants age 18 and over before starting a new tenancy.

In order to carry out a check, landlords or their agents will be required to confirm which adults will live at the property as their only or main home, view the original documents that enable the tenants to live in the UK, check that the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant (with the tenant present), and make and keep copies of the documents, as well as recording the date the check was made. Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 for renting a property to someone who isn’t permitted to stay in the UK. Currently, the only way landlords can escape liability for these checks is to pay a letting agent to take over the responsibility and agree to this in writing.

If Manors is carrying out the referencing on behalf of a landlord, these checks will automatically be carried out and copies of all necessary documentation will be kept to ensure compliance with the law. If Manors is also managing your property, in addition we will complete further checks just before the date when the tenant’s right to be in the UK expires to ensure you are covered.