And how they can be enforced.
1. Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
This law sets out the legal obligations landlords have towards tenants as regards keeping the property in repair. They can’t be excluded by landlords (for example by a clause in their tenancy agreement) unless the landlord has obtained a court order first.
If the landlord fails to comply and the property falls into disrepair, tenants can go to the country court to get an injunction ordering their landlord to do the relevant works to bring the property back into proper repair (in respect of the items set out in the section) and an order for financial compensation.
Although tenants should be careful – in many cases this may be inadvisable if the landlord decides to ‘retaliate’ by bringing eviction proceedings under section21.
You can see section 11 here.
2. Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004
This law sets out a procedure for Local Authority Environmental Health Officers to follow when inspecting a property for fitness, disrepair and health and safety standards.
If the inspection finds any ‘category one hazards’ they are obliged to take action against the landlord. Normally this will be by serving an improvement order, which if the landlord fails to comply by bringing the property back into repair, can be enforced via the Magistrates Court (where fines are now unlimited).
If the improvement notice is not actioned, this may make landlords vulnerable to an expensive penalty charge notice (which can be for up to £30,000) and Local Authorities or tenants (depending on whether the rent is paid by benefit or not) may be entitled to bring a claim at the First Tier Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order.
Under new rules introduced in the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords (for ASTs created or renewed on or after 1/10/15 and all ASTs after 1/10/18) cannot use section 21 within 6 months of service of an improvement notice and previous section 21 notices will be retrospectively rendered invalid if they were served after their tenants complained about one or more issues covered in the improvement notice.
You can see the Housing Act 2004 here.
3. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
These regulations require all landlords renting properties with gas appliances to have them inspected annually by an installer registered with the Gas Safe Register and provide a certificate to the tenants. The certificate must be given to the tenants before they move in and for all the subsequent checks.
Any repair work identified by the inspection must be done by the landlord at the landlord’s expense.
The regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, which is done via the Magistrates Courts.
However landlords now also need to have served a gas safety certificate on tenants before they move in as a condition of being able to use section 21. A recent case indicates that landlords may be prohibited from using section 21 altogether if this is not done.
4. The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.
These regulations only apply to Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) but they will apply to ALL HMOs, not just those that need licensing. There are probably far more HMO properties than most landlords realise. The regulations mainly cover various health and safety issues and require the property to be in good repair.
The regulations are enforced by Local Authorities as described for item 2 above by way of penalty charge notice or prosecution in the Magistrates and Rent Repayment Orders can be applied for by Local Authorities or tenants.
You can see the regulations here.
5. Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.
These regulations provide for all new rented properties from 1 April 2018 (with a few exceptions) to have a minimum energy performance rating of E or higher.
From 1 April 2020, this will apply to ALL rented properties, however long the tenancy has been in existence.
Enforcement will be by Local Authorities usually via Trading Standards or by Environmental Health Officers.
You can see the regulations here.