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Regulations For Private Landlords

Regulations For Private Landlords

With many rules in the private rental sector, it is more important than ever for private residential landlords to keep up with the latest regulations. Compare conveyancers Today

In recent years, the buy-to-let market has become more regulated than ever. In fact, the changes to the property investment sector have pushed many buy-to-let landlords and investors to set up limited companies showing how the sector is becoming more professionalised. While increased regulation is not always celebrated, it does mean there’s more accountability for landlords within the private rented sector which in turn is improving standards all round.

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What Are Landlords’ Legal Responsibilities?

There have been a number of recent regulation changes buy-to-let landlords need to be aware of. Here are some of the most important.

Electrical Safety Standards

Landlords MUST ensure that all of their privately rented properties comply with the new electrical safety regulations. This is part of the government’s drive to improve standards across the private rented sector.

These regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at an interval of at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested. The Regulations came into force on 1 June 2020 and form part of the Department’s wider work to improve safety in all residential premises and particularly in the private rented sector.

This is a major step towards levelling up the private rented sector. It makes sure it will offer high-quality, safe and secure housing. 

If any work is necessary to fix any minor faults, landlords must hire a qualified person to carry this out. Once all the electrical fixtures and fittings are compliant, landlords should obtain a written report and supply this to their tenants.

Meeting Safety Standards

Landlords must ensure tenants are safe as follows:

  • A smoke alarm must be installed on every floor of the property.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors must be placed in rooms with a coal fire or wood burning stove.
  • a gas safety certificate for EVERY gas appliance must be available inside the property.
  • To reduce fire risk, all furniture must meet safety standards and display the appropriate labels.
  • Any electrical devices must be safe for use. We recommend an Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
  • The water supply must be working properly to protect tenants from Legionella.

A Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) allows local authorities to assess the condition of a property and any potential hazards. The aim is to maintain good standards in the private rented section. Your Move can help you understand how this legislation may apply to your property.

Right to Rent

Landlords have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector. They must check that a tenant is legally allowed to reside in the UK. If a landlord does rent out a property to a tenant who does not have the right to rent, the penalty is an unlimited fine and up to 5 years in prison. (There are some tenants who you don’t have to check but this depends on types of accommodation). 


Information For Your Tenant

Your tenant must be provided with the landlord’s full name and address, or details of their letting agent. Your tenant must also receive a copy of the Government’s How to Rent guide. This gives practical advice about what to do before and during a let.

Protecting a tenant’s deposit

Most tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies (AST). As a landlord you must protect the tenancy deposit with a UK government-approved deposit protection scheme.

A landlord of an AST who doesn’t protect the deposit can be fined and it can make it much more difficult to end the tenancy.

Deposits must be returned in full at the end of the tenancy, unless there is a dispute about damage caused to the property or unpaid rent.


Landlords are responsible for most repairs to the exterior or structure of a property. This means that any problems with the roof, chimneys, walls, guttering and drains are the responsibility of the landlord. Landlords are also responsible for keeping the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity in safe working order.

Accessing the property

As a landlord it is inevitable that you will need to access the property from time to time to carry out repairs and inspections. However, access must not cause any unnecessary interference to your tenant.

Give reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time with yourself and the tenant, the notice period is usually set out in your tenancy agreement

How Much Notice Do Landlords Have To Give? 

Your landlord must follow strict procedures if they want you to leave their property, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have and the terms of it. If they do not, they may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing you.


Your landlord must follow different procedures to evict you in Northern Ireland and Scotland.


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Be Aware Of Future Changes

There have been many changes for buy-to-let landlords over recent years and additional reforms will be coming forward in the private rental sector later this year:

  • The Queen announced in her speech that the government’s consultation response on reforming tenancy law and abolishing Section 21 is likely to come forward later this year. 
  • Proposals of the lifetime tenancy deposit scheme are also likely to emerge.
  • A white paper on renting reform is to be published in autumn of this year, after which, legislation will likely follow. 

Landlords must prepare for these changes.

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