In terms of legislative changes to the property market, 2016 was a defining year for letting agents and landlords. The year saw a minimum bedroom size introduced for rental properties, letting agent fees banned in England, new HMO and residential property licensing reforms introduced, and a change to buy-to-let tax regulations to name just a few of the new reforms. However, the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has found that a high percentage of letting agents and landlords continue to ignore or struggle to understand several legal changes introduced in October 2015.
In October 2015, the government introduced new laws making it mandatory for a smoke alarm to be installed on every floor of a residential property where someone is living or is partially living; smoke alarms are also required in every area deemed habitable, for example bathrooms. What’s more, letting agents and landlords must ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with solid fuel burning appliances, such as open fires and wood burners.
According to the AIIC, many of its members frequently contact them about smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations, with most queries relating to smoke/carbon monoxide alarm locations, the required alarm type, and how often, by law, the alarms need to be tested.
In addition to the alarm legislation, many landlords and letting agents are still falling foul of new legislation surrounding curtains and blinds. In 2014, the British Standards Institution introduced new safety requirements for curtains and blinds which were aimed at reducing the risks posed to children by these items. Under the requirements, all blinds and curtains installed with cords or chains must have breakaway connectors, along with chain and cord safety retainers; all cords and chains must also be installed and maintained at a minimum of 1.5 metres from the floor. Failure to adhere to the safety requirements could result in landlords facing prosecution from Trading Standards, especially if an accident involving a non-compliant blind or curtain takes place in a buy-to-let property.
Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC, said that a worryingly high number of letting agents and landlords across the UK are still unaware of the new safety regulations. She continued by adding that there are no excuses for landlords and letting agents to ignore important safety regulations. She also said that all lettings agents and buy-to-let home owners should strive to be as clear as possible on their legal obligations. The AIIC chief finished by saying that the property market is a rapidly developing industry, and it is likely that new legislation will be introduced on a frequent basis, and landlords and letting agents need to keep their eye on the ball to avoid potential legal complications.
Here at CPS Homes, we keep abreast of all new legislation in the property market and ensure that all of the properties we let out to tenants across Cardiff adhere to the most up-to-date safety regulations. If you’re a landlord confused about safety regulations in your buy-to-let properties, our lettings team is able to help you. To find out more, get in touch today on 02920 668585, email email@example.com or pop into our Woodville Road office in Cathays.