What safety certificates do landlords need to provide?
Renting a property comes with a host of legal responsibilities aimed at protecting both landlords and tenants.
Landlords must ensure that a range of safety checks are carried out before you rent a property, and retain the documentary evidence to give to your tenant. Failure to provide the full range of landlord certificates to either a new tenant or an existing one at tenancy renewal can lead to prosecution, and could put your tenant in unnecessary danger.
To help you comply with the law, we’ve put together a checklist of all the certificates you’ll need to keep, and the safety inspections you’ll need to have done.
Certificates and documentation
Gas safety certificate
By law, landlords must have all gas appliances, pipes and flues checked annually by a Gas Safe engineer. A copy of the CP12 certificate, which lists all the checks carried out, must be provided to new tenants on moving in, and to existing tenants within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Records of all checks must be kept for at least two years. You can check the Gas Safe Register to find a trader near you. It’s worth getting more than one quote as the cost for a landlord gas certificate can vary from firm to firm.
Electrical safety certificate
New regulations governing electrical safety in rented properties came into force on July 1, 2020, with the introduction of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.
There had previously been a legal requirement on landlords to ensure that all electrical installations and provided appliances are in safe working order.
But the new regulations go a step further, introducing mandatory inspections and certification every five years. This brings all privately rented properties into line with houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).
A qualified electrician is required to complete an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This must be given to existing tenants within 28 days and new tenants at the start of the tenancy. Any remedial work noted in the report must be completed within 28 days, or any shorter period if specified in the report.
The regulations apply to new tenancies in England from July 1, 2020, and existing tenancies from April 1, 2021. The inspection covers all fixed electrical parts of the property, such as wiring, plug sockets, light fittings and fuse box, as well as permanent fixtures like showers or extractors. Other supplied appliances like fridges, washing machines, toasters or kettles must be in safe working order throughout the tenancy, though certification is not legally required.
The best way to ensure safety is to employ an electrician to undertake Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) at each change of tenancy.
You can expect to pay between £150 and £300 for an EICR, depending on the size of the house, and between £50 and £80 for PAT testing.
Find a selection of local electricians on Checkatrade.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Landlords must provide new and prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) either at the viewing or before the tenancy agreement is signed. The EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property, and will help renters get an idea of how much they will need to pay to heat their home. Failure to obtain a “pass grade” of an E will render your property unrentable, and failure to provide an EPC can land you with a fine of up to £5,000. Certificates are valid for 10 years, but if you make energy-saving improvements to your property in between inspections, such as double glazing or cavity wall insulation, you can apply for a new EPC.
Proof of deposit protection
Any deposit you receive from a tenant must be placed in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 days.
Once the deposit is secured, you must provide information to your tenant on how and where their deposit is being held, including how to contact the TPD, the terms under which a landlord can deduct money at the end of the tenancy, and how they apply to get the deposit back.
There are three TPD options in England and Wales:
How to rent: the checklist for renting in England
Since October 2015, landlords in England have been required to provide tenants with an up-to-date copy of a document called How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. The government website provides the latest version, which can either be sent to the tenant by email or hard copy. Different documents are required in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where landlords also need to be registered with the government.
Other safety measures
As well as the mandatory landlord certificates, there are other areas of health and safety that do not require certification but must be adhered to. Here are the key things landlords need to do to ensure your property is safe for your tenant.
Fire safety measures
There is no fire safety certificate, but there are still a number of fire regulations that landlords must abide by, including:
- Fit at least one smoke alarm on each storey of a building used as accommodation
- Fit a carbon monoxide monitor in any occupied rooms that house a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burner or open fire
- Check that all alarms work before a new tenancy starts
- Ensure that any furniture provided meets the fire resistant requirements Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
- Provide fire extinguishers in HMOs
Legionella risk assessment
The Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ Disease, typically breeds in air conditioning and heating systems, and water pipes. Most rental properties carry relatively low risks of Legionella, but landlords are required to carry out a risk assessment under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002). The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on the steps landlords should take to carry out a risk assessment.
It should be possible for landlords to do the risk assessment themselves, though a professional report can be arranged for between £50 and £100.
It’s not a requirement for landlords to provide tenants with a copy of their landlord insurance documents, but it is best practice to inform them of anything they need to cover themselves.