Property and Homes

Compliance checklist – 7 things landlords need to know 2023

Landlord compliance can usually be a daunting task, especially for new landlords because the legal responsibilities of a landlord go beyond just finding tenants, collecting rent and fixing repairs. There are a few specific requirements that landlords must comply with so, to help, we have put together a list of the 7 key landlord compliance requirements that all landlords should follow.

1. Landlord compliance when it comes to licensing

Not all landlords will need a license before they can rent their property but it is something that is becoming increasingly more popular because the decision as to whether you need one is largely dictated by the area in which you live and your local authority.

There are essentially two main types of licensing, Selective license and Mandatory license and each has its own requirements. The exception as to whether or not it is dependent on the area would be if the property was considered an HMO because HMO properties will need a license regardless of their local authority. If landlords are found to be letting without an appropriate license from their council, they could face a civil penalty of up to £30,000.  

landlord compliance checklist

2. Right to rent checks

Since February 2016, landlords in the UK are required by law to check that their tenants have the right to rent in the country providing them with rented accommodation in the UK. Although the checks themselves are relatively simple, the consequences for non-compliance can result in fines of up to £3,000.

Click here for more information about right-to-rent checks.

3. Landlord compliance to register Deposits Deposit Protection Scheme

Since the Housing Act came into effect in 2004, as a landlord, it has been a legal requirement to put your tenants’ deposit into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales, your deposit can be registered with:

It is important to know which Scheme is right for you.

If a landlord does not protect a tenant’s deposit, then they will be prevented from issuing a section 21 notice, but if the tenant claims compensation, landlords could pay up to three times the amounts left unprotected to each tenant. 

4. Energy efficiency

Landlord compliance in regard to energy efficiency refers to the legal requirement for landlords to provide tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before they move in.

In 2018, the UK government introduced the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, requiring that every rental property (for new tenancies) in the UK should be meeting an EPC rating of an “E” grade before tenants move in.  However, after the 1st of April 2020, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards were extended to encompass all existing tenancies.

You can find out more about EPC updates for landlords here.

You can also find out more about Energy Performance here.

You can check if a property has an EPC at EPC Register.

5. Health and safety landlord compliance

Landlords are responsible for making sure all gas and electrical appliances in the property are safely installed, maintained, checked, and tested regularly. Under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 rental property owners are legally obligated to ensure that a qualified gas safety engineer conducts a gas safety check on the rental.

Landlord compliance also requires that they obtain an electrical installations condition report. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require that landlords have property electrics checked at least every 5 years by a properly qualified person. It is also good practice to:

  • Carry out a visual check of the safety of the electrical installation at every change of tenancy
  • Carry out tests and visual checks on any supplied electrical items at every change of tenancy
  • Carry out regular Portable Appliance Tests (PAT) to ensure compliance

Legally, landlords are required to have a smoke alarm installed on each floor of their property, with a carbon monoxide alarm also being placed in any room that houses a solid fuel source (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). It is also important to note that whilst the landlord does have overall responsibility, the tenants are expected to routinely check the alarms are still in working order. 

6. Landlord Insurance

With a buy-to-let mortgage, it isn’t uncommon for the bank/lender to require that the landlord take out appropriate landlord/building insurance for the property. The insurance policy would more than likely seek to have cover for accidental damage to the property, contents insurance if the property is let furnished as well as rent guarantee insurance should the tenants fail to make a rental payment during their tenancy.

7. Landlord compliance to provide ‘How to Rent Guide’

The How to Rent guide is a crucial document that must be provided by the landlord to their tenants before the tenancy commences. The guide is designed to help tenants understand what their rights and responsibilities are when renting a property.

If landlords do not provide their tenants with the most recent copy of the government’s How to Rent guide, then they will be prevented from serving the tenants with a section 21 notice of eviction, making it more difficult to get the property back. 

The most up-to-date ‘How to Rent’ guide can be found on the government website here.

Other landlord compliance matters you also need to take into account are below.
Data protection

Data protection is the process of safeguarding information, particularly personal information, from unlawful or unauthorized processing, access, loss, destruction or damage. Data Protection Act 2018 may not appear to be of great importance to landlords when you first look at it however, it is a very serious matter with serious legal implications.

Any information which can identify your tenant is considered to be personal data, so information like their names, date of birth, their employment details etc.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the regulator for data protection in the UK and its website provides further guidance on all thing data. More information about the ICO can be found here.

Landlord compliance with data could look something like:

  • Knowing what personal information you keep and why you need to keep it
  • Only keeping what personal information is really necessary and only keeping it for as long as is necessary
  • Making sure the information you keep is accurate
  • Providing tenants with a copy of the personal information you have about them if they request it
  • Not passing on or transferring your tenant’s data without consent

As a landlord, you are responsible and have a legal obligation to have a legionella risk assessment carried out on your rental property. The assessment will determine the likelihood of the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria within the water system.

Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants with regard to their health and safety.

You can find out more information about legionella here

Furniture & furnishings

If a landlord does decide to provide furniture then you must comply with fire regulations and display standard labels in a prominent position. All furniture manufactured since 1989 will comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 and nearly all will be marked with a label that clearly displays it does comply with regulations.

Repairs and Maintenance

Landlords have a responsibility to maintain their property to ensure it remains safe and in a habitable condition.  So landlords must ensure your property meets and is maintained to the standards required by law Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended)

Landlords are responsible for the structure and exterior of the property, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors.

The landlord is not responsible for damages caused by tenants during the tenancy and it is their responsibility to ensure that the landlord is made aware of any damage to the property structure, utilities and heating.

Need a Gas safety or ECIR certificate?
price my job
Landlord Blog

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer.