Property Compliance

Table Of Contents

Gas Safety Certificate

A gas safety certificate is a legal requirement that certifies that gas appliances and installations in the property have been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer within the last 12 months and are safe to use. It is important to note that not having a valid gas safety certificate can result in legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment. Follow the link to find a Gas Safe Engineer near you.

Electrical Installations Conditions Report

An EICR is a detailed inspection and testing of the electrical installations in a property, including the wiring, switches, sockets, and other electrical equipment. A qualified electrician carries out the inspection and provides a report identifying any defects or safety issues with the electrical installations. A valid EICR is a legal requirement; not having one can result in legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment. An EICR can last from one to ten years, depending on the age of the electrical system.


Do I Need An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC for a property when marketing for sales and lettings. There are exemptions for certain property types, and all exemptions have to be registered on the national register. Each registered exemption is valid for five years. In addition, from 1st April 2018, any property let on a new tenancy or a fixed-term renewal must meet the new minimum EPC rating of E or higher. As EPCs became compulsory in 2008 and only last for ten years, it is essential to check that your EPC is still valid and the rating is E or higher. From 1st April 2020, no domestic property can be let that has an EPC rating of F or G. Furthermore, if a landlord wants to back possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, it is legally necessary to have a valid EPC before serving notice on a tenant.

What Is An EPC?

An EPC assesses the energy performance of a property, from “A” representing the most energy-efficient property to “G” representing the least. It must be completed by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor and will also show a building’s environmental impact by indicating its carbon dioxide emissions. The assessor looks at factors such as the wall, floor and roof insulation, boiler efficiency, and even the type of lightbulbs.

How Long Is An EPC Valid For?

A valid EPC will last for ten years and can be used for multiple tenancies within that period so long as the rating is not F, or G. Property owners should arrange a new EPC for a rental property as soon as an existing certificate expires to maintain a valid EPC at all times.

How Do I Order An EPC?

City Realtor is able to arrange for an EPC to be carried out on your behalf. The cost of an EPC will be £120.00, including VAT.

Right to rent

What Does Right To Rent Mean?

The UK Government introduced the Right to Rent under the Immigration Act 2014, and tenants and landlords need to understand the implications of this act.

It restricts illegal immigrants from accessing rented accommodation in England by making all adult occupants prove they are legally in the UK before being granted a tenancy, done through a Right to Rent check.

What Is A Right To Rent Check?

A Right to Rent check is when a prospective adult occupant of a rental property shows their identity documents in-person to a landlord or letting agent.

The landlord/letting agent must take a copy of the documents seen and record the check as being completed. If a tenant has a time-limited right to rent (e.g. a visa or Biometric Residency Permit with an expiry date), the check must be done within 28 days of the tenancy start date, and the visa must be valid for the proposed tenancy start date.

What Are The Landlord’s/Agent’s Responsibilities?

The landlord/agent must:

  • Check all adult tenants who will live in the property as their only or main home.
  • Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK.
  • Check the original documents with the tenant physically present and ensure they are valid.
  • Make copies of the original documents and record when the check is completed.
  • Conduct follow-up checks at the appropriate time (e.g. repeat the check when a tenant’s visa expires).
  • If follow-up checks reveal that an occupant in a rental property no longer has a valid ‘Right to Rent,’ then the landlord/lettings agent must report that person to the Home Office.

What Documents Are Acceptable?

A tenant can use acceptable documents to demonstrate their identity and Right to Rent depending on their nationality.

Options for EEA/Swiss citizens are:

  • Valid Passport.
  • Valid EEA*/Swiss national ID card.
  • Combination of valid UK driving licence & original UK birth certificate (British citizens only).
  • *Countries in the EEA are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & the U.
  • Options for all other nationalities are a combination of a passport and a valid visa or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

What Are The Consequences If I Don’t Have My Documents?

Occupation of a rental property is conditional on all adult occupants demonstrating a valid Right to Rent before the tenancy start date. City Realtor can do this at any of our branches. If any adult occupant fails to present themselves and their original documents proving a valid Right to Rent, all occupants may only be allowed access to the rental property once this requirement is satisfied.

Licensing & HMOs

The purpose of licensing, especially for HMOs, is to ensure that residential accommodation within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is safe, well-managed and of good quality, with a particular focus on safety.

What is an HMO?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is any residential property occupied by three or more people sharing facilities like a bathroom and kitchen who form two or more ‘households’.

What is meant by the term ‘Household’?

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • Married couples or couples living together as married (including people in same-sex relationships)
  • Relatives or half-relatives, e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, cousins
  • Step-parents and step-children and half-relatives
  • Foster parents and foster children

Some domestic staff would be included in the household if they are living in the house due to the terms of their contract, e.g. an adult carer and up to three people receiving care are a single household.


There are three types of HMO licensing:

Mandatory licensing of large HMOs

This applies nationwide for HMOs where there are five or more occupants in a property of three or more storeys, and the tenants comprise two or more households.

Additional licensing

When a council imposes a policy requiring other sizes of HMOs to be licenced. A council can bring in additional licensing requiring all HMOs to be licenced.

Selective licensing

This is at the discretion of the borough and can affect all rental properties regardless of size, number of storeys, or number of occupants. For example, a council can instigate compulsory licensing of all residential rental properties within a street, ward or the whole borough.

Before granting a licence, the local authority must be satisfied that the property’s owner and any managing agent are fit and proper to hold a licence and that the property meets the required physical standards.

A licence will usually be granted where

  • Appropriate fire safety measures are in place, such as smoke detectors, extinguishers etc.
  • Annual gas safety checks are up-to-date.
  • The electrical wiring and appliances have been checked and certified as safe every five years.
  • The property is not overcrowded
  • There are adequate cooking and washing facilities
  • Communal and shared areas are kept clean and in good repair
  • There are appropriate refuse storage and disposal facilities


Once granted, the licence must be clearly displayed within the communal areas along with the licensee’s name, address and telephone number or property manager of the premises. A copy of the current gas safety certificate must also be on display.

How can I check if a property needs to be licenced?

If you are unsure whether your property needs to be licensed, please contact your local council – often, their website contains the relevant information.

Can a landlord evict a tenant to avoid licensing?

Landlords are not allowed to evict existing tenants to avoid licensing. Any attempt to get a tenant out of a property that should be licenced but isn’t may be considered a crime under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the landlord or anyone else involved may be prosecuted. The Deregulation Act 2015 has also changed the law, so a valid notice cannot be served to end a tenancy if the property should be licenced but isn’t currently.


What happens if a landlord doesn’t apply for a licence?

It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO that should be licenced but isn’t; if convicted, the fines for non-compliance are unlimited.

Local authorities also have various enforcement options, including the power to vary the terms of a granted HMO licence or to revoke an HMO licence.

Under a rent repayment order, landlords may have to pay back to a tenant any rent they have received or to the council any housing benefit they have received, up to a maximum of 12 months. The tenancy itself will not be affected if the landlord has failed to apply for or obtain an HMO licence. However, the council may take over property management as another method of enforcement.

Can a tenant withhold rent if the landlord has not applied for a licence?

No, a tenant cannot withhold rent.

What happens if a landlord breaches the terms or conditions of the licence?

If a landlord or managing agent allows an HMO to be occupied by more people/households than it is licenced for, then unless there is a reasonable excuse, they are committing a criminal offence, and the fines are unlimited. The licence may be entirely revoked if the breach is severe or persistent. The council must take over the HMO management if it revokes a licence.

What happens if the council refuses to grant a licence?

If the council cannot grant a licence for an HMO, it will need to take over the management responsibility for the property until circumstances change, and it can then be licenced. Special rules apply when a council takes over the management of an HMO.

What happens if the conditions in an HMO are poor?

Whether or not the HMO is licenced, it should be reasonably free from hazards that might affect a tenant’s health and safety. The council is responsible for enforcing those standards and can require a landlord to take appropriate action to remedy any defects. In some emergency cases, the council may do the work itself.

Local councils

The best way to see the licensing requirements for your area is to go to your local council’s website or get in touch with them directly.

Below are the contact details of the councils for the areas we cover:

Contact us for more information

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