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Legal Requirements

Marketing – Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

It is now compulsory to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place when you market your property to let.

An EPC contains:

  • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

Consent to let

Anyone intending to rent out a property that is subject to a mortgage should inform their lender of their intentions. Depending on the lender, consent to let may be granted on the same terms although some may apply a different interest rate or administration charges. Failure to inform the lender is likely to be a breach of the mortgage contract.

Similarly, if the property is leasehold then the freeholder’s permission to let will be needed.

Landlords should also make their buildings and contents insurers aware of their intention to let.

Right to Rent checks

The 2014 Immigration Act introduced an obligation on Landlords to check that ALL Tenants have the right to reside in the UK. 

All Tenants aged over 18 must be checked even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement. It is illegal to only check people that you believe not to be British. 

Any UK or EU Citizen automatically has the right to reside.

The Landlord needs to check, copy and keep copies of specific original identification documents. For further information as to who and what to check, go to the following Government website:  https://www.gov.uk/landlord-immigration-check

Where the Tenant has a time limited right to reside, additional follow up checks have to be undertaken at the later of either: 

  • The end of the Tenant’s permission to stay or 
  • 12 months after the previous check

Deposit Registration

There is requirement for Tenants’ deposits to be placed/registered in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme run by one of three Government approved providers. 

  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • MyDeposits
  • Deposit Protection Service

Failure to do so can lead to fines and/or impair the Landlords ability to serve notice on the tenant. (See Dealing with Deposits)

Tenancy Agreements

The most common form of letting agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). There is no minimum term for an AST although the Tenant does have the right to remain in the property for a minimum of six months. For this reason it is rare for the term of the initial contract to be less than six months. 

If the fixed term of the agreement is more than three years a deed will have to be drawn up.

Stipulations of an AST are that:

  • The Tenant(s) must be an individual(s). 
  • The property must be let as separate accommodation.
  • The property must be the main home of the Tenant. 

Gas Safety checks

It is a legal requirement for all gas installations and appliances to be checked annually by a registered engineer.

“How to rent: The checklist for renting in England.” Tenancy Renewals

Notice periods required

Landlord notice to the Tenant 

Under an AST, Landlords can give notice to Tenants to vacate, as long as:  

  • The date of leaving the property Is more than 6 months after the start of the initial tenancy
  • The date of leaving Is not before the end date of a fixed term tenancy
  • The deposit is protected under the Deposit Protection Scheme
  • The Tenant has been given  
    • An EPC
    • A Gas Safety Certificate
    • A copy of the leaflet, “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.”

The Landlord will need to give a minimum of 2 months’ notice to the Tenant to vacate. No reason has to be given for wanting a Tenant to vacate.

Tenant notice to landlord

The notice that a Tenant is required to give to a Landlord is normally stipulated in the Tenancy Agreement. 

If you are in a fixed term tenancy then you have contracted to continue that tenancy until the end date. The exception is where:

  • The Tenancy Agreement has a break clause
  • The Landlord has agreed to allow you to surrender the tenancy early  

At the end of a fixed tenancy term there are options to continue the tenancy:  with another fixed term agreement or, to allow the tenancy to revert to a Periodic Tenancy (one that rolls from month to month or week to week and that has no end date). 

The notice period under a monthly Periodic Tenancy will be a minimum of one month. The end date of the notice period can be on either the first or last date of the rental period.