Landlord compliance

The Government’s English Private Landlords Survey 2022 has revealed some interesting results about landlord behaviour which could help to create or amend policy to encourage landlords’ compliance going forward.

The questions which were asked of these landlords fell into two categories: legal requirements and good practice indictors.

Legal requirements were based upon some of the obligation’s landlords have, such as gas safety checks, and right to rent checks.  Good practice indicators focused on issues such as the frequency of checks on electrical installations, as well as landlords’ awareness of EPC ratings.

Legal requirements

  • Carrying out a Right to Rent check 63% of landlords confirmed they had done so.
  • Supplying tenants with a copy of the How to Rent guide 52% of landlords had done so.
  • Supplying a copy of the latest EPC report confirming the property has a rating of E or above 84% of landlords had done so.
  • Registering the deposit with one of the government’s accredited schemes 96% had done so.
  • Fitting a smoke alarm to the property 98% confirmed they had.
  • Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm 69% of landlords had done so.
  • Carrying out a gas safety check where relevant 87% of landlords had.
  • Making adjustments for a disabled tenant (if asked to do so by a tenant) only 9% of landlords confirmed they had done this.

Only 30% of landlords fell into the ‘demonstrating good practice’ group, with a further quarter ‘meeting legal requirements’.  The third group of ‘lower compliance and awareness’ accounted for 1 in 10 landlords, which, while a small percentage, is still worrying. These landlords tended to rely on friends or family for information about what legislation applied to letting property. Often, they’d been landlords since before 2015, when lots of new legislation came in and they hadn’t updated their knowledge.  The final group was of ‘mixed compliance’ and made up around a third of all the responses.  They showed limited awareness of matters relating to EPC’s although likely to have completed other checks on electrical appliances.  Demographically, these landlords tended to be older, with more than one property.

So, what are the take aways from this survey?

It is worth noting, that these results were pulled from landlords who have signed up to a tenancy deposit scheme, so there will be a higher level of compliance from these landlords, than the industry as a whole.

Landlords are risking an awful lot by not being compliant with their legal duties. 

From fines ranging from £80 to unlimited amounts and up to 5 years in prison for renting a property in England to someone without the Right to Rent shows how important it is to ensure landlords are taking the requirements seriously.

Not only that, if landlords don’t provide tenants with the correct documentation at the start of their tenancy, and throughout it, it may impact on their ability to get possession of the property at a later date.  Tenants can also sue landlords if they don’t get things right legally, even if the owe the landlord rent.

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