Legal requirements for landlords in the United Kingdom

As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenants. They are paying you rent and living in your property, and as such, you need to ensure that the property is safe and habitable

In the United Kingdom there is a range of legal requirements that landlords must abide by that serve to support this duty of care. Knowing these legal requirements will ensure that you not only protect yourself, but that you will also keep your tenants safe. This is far more important.

What are the specific legal requirements for landlords?

Most of the legal requirements for landlords relate to ensuring that the property is safe.  The most important of these include:

  • Gas Safety:  As a landlord you need to organise annual inspections of gas supply and appliances.  It goes without saying that this needs to be done by a registered gas engineer.  Fail to do this and you could be fined up to 25,000 pounds, prosecuted and imprisoned.  Best to do things right.   
  • Electrical safety:  Prior to a new tenancy, an electrical safety check must be undertaken by a competent person – e.g. an electrician.  Effectively, you need to ensure all electricity supplies and appliances are legal.  In addition, instruction books need to be left in the house for all relevant appliances.  Failure to comply with these requirements under the Consumer Protection Act of 1987 carries a penalty of up to 5000 pounds and imprisonment of up to six months.  Best to play it safe.
  • Energy performance certificates:  Any property that is listed for sale or rent must have a relevant and up to date Energy Performance Certificate.  Effectively these certificates serve to ensure that the property meets minimum Energy Efficiency Ratings.  It’s good to think of energy efficiency ratings now and in the future.  It could be solar panels, or insulation for your hot water pipes.  Look at current standards and possible future standards, and plan accordingly.
  • Regulations and requirements for furniture:  If the dwelling you are renting out is furnished, then you need to ensure that all of the furniture is compliant with fire regulations.  As with Electrical safety, under the Consumer Protection Act of 1987 a penalty of up to 5000 pounds and imprisonment of up to six months can apply. 

Requirements for tenancy deposit bonds

There are two options when it comes to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These are as follows:

  • Free Custodial Administered account, or
  • Insurance scheme

Both are Government backed and, if there is a dispute, a third party holds the funds until the dispute is sorted. This is fairer for the tenant and makes sure that landlords don’t take all of a bond without reason. As a landlord it is worth nothing that you may be unable to access money quickly to fix a property once a tenant moves out.  However, this is the law so you need to comply. Check with your property manager to see what option matches best with your needs.

Tenancy agreement

This is a legal agreement that serves to protect both the landlord and the tenant. It covers details of how much rent will be paid and by when, what is included in the property, and how the property must be maintained. There are a range of tenancy options and you need to choose one that suits your needs. 

Click here to learn more about tenancy agreement options.

In summary, the major legal issues and requirements above need to be considered and adhered to by a landlord. 

It pays to check with your property manager or solicitor to ensure that you meet all of your legal requirements. If you don’t, and an issue arises, you stand to pay large fines and face possible jail time.

As a landlord you need to know your legal requirements and do the right thing.


Greens Lettings | Letting Agent SE18 Property Management | Landlords  | HMO Experts and Specialists

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