Honourable and personal residential letting experts

20Mar

Landlords – do you know the fines you could pay if you get it wrong?

12 ways you can lose a lot of money 

As a private landlord in the UK, it’s crucial to understand the legal obligations that come with renting out property. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and penalties that can have significant financial implications. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the fines that as a private landlord you can face.

1. Neglecting Gas Safety responsibilities

Check boiler

Maximum fine £6,000 per appliance worst case imprisonment

Landlords are obligated to ensure that gas appliances, fittings, and flues are safe for tenants to use. An annual gas safety check must be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and a copy of the gas safety certificate must be provided to tenants within 28 days of the check or before they move in. The most serious part of this fine is that it is not the only punishment for not having a gas safety certificate. You could be sent to jail in addition to the compulsory fine of up to £6,000.

2. Non-compliance with Electrical Safety Standards

Electrical testing

Maximum fine £30,000 and little chance of gaining possession 

Since 2021, landlords in England are required to have the electrical installations in their rental properties inspected and tested by a qualified electrician at least every five years. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 mandated that landlords need to provide tenants with a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and address any issues identified within 28 days. The enforcement of these regulations falls under the jurisdiction of local authorities, as outlined in the Housing Act 2004. The fine for failing to provide a copy of the EICR is up to £30,000.

3. Non-compliance for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide alarm

Maximum fine £5,000

As a landlord you are required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of the property that is used as living accommodation. Additionally, a carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance such as gas boiler or log burner. You are also responsible for making sure all alarms are working at the start of the tenancy. Failure to comply could mean a fine of up to £5,000.

4. Failure to register the deposit

Deposits

Maximum fine – three times the deposit amount 

Landlords are legally required to protect your tenants’ deposits in a government-approved scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Failure to do so or provide the required information to tenants can result in fines of up to three times the deposit amount.

5. Failure to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Maximum fine £5,000

An EPC assesses the energy efficiency of a property rating on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient.) Currently, all rental properties must reach an EPC rating of E or above to be legally let. The reason behind you providing the EPC means that  your resident can manage their energy usage and bills, as well as helping to promote energy efficiency and sustainability. Failure to provide the EPC to your resident may leave a landlord liable for a fine of up to £5,000.

 

6. Failure to provide the How to Rent Guide  

How to rent guide

Little chance of gaining possession plus fines  

You are required by law to provide this guide to your resident at the start of the tenancy. It provides important information for them on their rights and responsibilities as well as outlining the renting process. Not serving this document at the commencement of the tenancy can cause serious consequences for landlords, including the inability to end a tenancy using a section 21 notice and you may be liable for fines or other penalties.

7.  Ignoring a council enforcement notice

Fine – unlimited!!!!!

It is an offence not to comply with an enforcement notice, once the period for compliance has elapsed, and there is no outstanding appeal. If you are found guilty you will be liable to an unlimited fine.

8. Failure to deal with a Category 1 hazard

Fine – criminal prosecution and fine up to £30,000 

If you fail to deal with a Category 1 hazard (as noted under Housing act ( 2004)) you  can face criminal prosecution. Alternatively, the council could serve you with a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence. Multiple offences can lead to eye-watering fines.

And as you may know Section 239 of the Housing Act 2004 provides the local housing authority with powers of entry where they consider that inspection of the premises is necessary.

9. Failure to Comply with HMO Licensing Requirements

Houses in line

Maximum fine £30,000

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are subject to specific licensing requirements in the UK. If you’re renting out a property to three or more tenants who are not part of the same household and share facilities like the kitchen or bathroom, you may need an HMO license. Failure to obtain the necessary license can lead to fines of up to £30,000.

10. Failure to follow Section 11 of the Housing Act 

Fines up to £30,000

Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, your residents have the right to expect you to carry out basic repairs in a ‘reasonable time’.  If it is an emergency such as no heating in cold weather or no hot water, you need to act within 24 hours. If your property does not meet certain standards of health and safety, which includes providing adequate heating, ventilation, and sanitation facilities, as well as addressing issues such as damp and mould, local authorities have the power to issue fines of up to £30,000 for breaches of housing standards.

11. Ignoring the requirements under Section 47 of the Housing Act

Fines – your resident has the right not to pay the rent

Section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 requires that any demand for the rent due under the tenancy agreement contains the landlords present address in the UK. 

12. Failure to check Right to Rent

Fine £10,000 per occupier up to £20,000

At the beginning of 2024 a revised code of practice was printed. The penalties for non-compliance have increased from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier for an initial breach to up to £5,000 and £10,000 respectively. Any repeat breaches will attract fines as high as £10,000 and £20,000.

As you can see,  getting it wrong can be very costly. Therefore to avoid these fines and penalties, private landlords need to stay informed about your legal obligations. Also, you must keep thorough records of inspections and maintenance activities, and prioritise the safety and well-being of your tenants. By proactively meeting your responsibilities, you can protect your investments and maintain positive relationships with your residents.

Our team has a proven track record of effectively managing and maintaining rental properties for our landlords. We pride ourselves on keeping up to date with new and changing legislation, meaning we can provide our clients with peace of mind. If you need any help or advice, then you can contact us on 01480 494939 or info@maxinelester.co.uk 

 

A recent case study reported in Landlord Today 

‘BTL landlord ordered to pay £9,000 for putting safety of tenant at risk

‘A private landlord has been hit with £9,000 in fines and costs for ignoring notices to improve his property in north London.

‘Following reports of disrepair from a tenant of the flat in Harlesden, the council inspected the property and uncovered a range of hazards, including ventilation issues and a broken electric heater…’

Read more here.