There are around 145 laws, and over 400 regulations that need to be followed to legally let a property in England and Wales (Source – PropertyMark 2018). When you choose to place a property into the private rented sector you must comply with these legislative obligations. In addition to the legislation, there are a number of additional “best practices” that you should consider adopting to ensure you provide a safe property for your tenant.
A cross-industry code has been developed and published (last updated in 2015) with the intent of promoting best practice in the letting and management of private rented sector housing in England. The code is called the “Private Rented Sector Code of Practice (PRS code)” and is published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The code was developed with input from major organisations such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents, The Property Ombudsman, The National Landlords Association, RICS, The Institute of Residential Property Management, the UK Association of Letting Agents.
Who does the code apply to?
The code is intended for use by landlords and lettings and management agents in the private rented sector. While the code is generally directed at letting agents, if you are a landlord who takes responsibility for managing your own property, then you should be familiar with the code.
A copy of the PRS Code may be found here ; https://www.rics.org/globalassets/rics-website/media/upholding-professional-standards/sector-standards/real-estate/private-rented-sector-code-1st-edition-rics.pdf
￼It is not the intent of this briefing note to summarise the entire PRS code, however there are some specific sections that we would bring to a landlord's attention.
- Under Section 3.1 – in advertising and promoting your property you must comply with various legislation including the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
- As per Section 3.4 - You should provide tenants with a copy of “How to rent – the checklist for renting in England”.
- Under Section 3.5 - You must make reasonable endeavours to check the lawful immigration status of any potential tenant or other persons living at the property where required to do so by law (Immigration Act 2014).
- Section 3.6 - recommends that prior to the commencement of the tenancy, an appropriate inventory should be prepared.
- Under Section 3.7 – you should ensure that each tenant has a valid tenancy agreement.
- Section 3.8 requires you to hold any deposits is a Government authorised tenancy deposit scheme. See further details on deposit schemes here https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/54-securing-tenant-deposits
- Under Section 4.1 - any personal information you keep about tenants must be kept confidential and must not be disclosed to other people without consent. You are required to register with the Information Commissioners Office if you hold any personal data electronically (this would include holding a tenant’s phone number in your own phone) or pass personal information to someone else.
- As per Section 4.3.4 - You must take all reasonable measures to provide housing that is safe and without risks to health. You should additionally be aware of your repairing obligations imposed by statute and common law. You also need to ensure that any contractors that you engage for maintenance purposes are appropriately qualified and insured.
- Section 4.3.5 - You should inspect the property at appropriate intervals to identify whether or not there are any hazards or repairs that require attention. You should maintain a record of the inspections and any action required and taken. You should seek to reduce any unacceptable health and safety risks that are identified.
- Section 4.3.4 – You should be aware of your landlord repairing obligations (including for common areas of blocks of flats) imposed under S11 of LTA 1985.
For further information on the legal requirements for letting property in the private rented sector read our blog at https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/33-landlord-legal-requirements
Also, find out more about the questions that we are frequently asked by landlords at https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/38-landlord-frequently-asked-questions
For further information about getting yourself and your property ready for the private rented sector please read https://www.aspireresidential.co.uk/news/landlords/46-get-yourself-and-your-property-ready-for-letting
Important note for landlords – The above blog is provided for information purposes and guidance only and does not represent the full extent of legal obligations and duties placed on landlords. Landlords should seek appropriate advice and, where necessary, legal advice before renting property in the Private Rented Sector. The use of information provided in this blog is subject to the terms and conditions of use of our website.