Does anyone know what information landlords should give to buy to let tenants in Wales under the new RentSmart scheme?
RentSmart has details of the obligations for landlords online.
The code of practice for licensed landlords and letting agents demands that tenants should be given:
- A gas safety certificate
- An Energy Performance Certificate
- Any other documentation required by law
However, RentSmart’s customer service line did not know if this documentation should include the UK government’s ‘How to rent’ checklist for tenants.
The query is important because if the right documents are not served at the start of a tenancy, the landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice at a later stage to repossess the property.
Many Welsh landlords live in England, where different tenancy rules apply and may need help with complying with RentSmart’s obligations.
Instead, landlords are referred to their local authority housing officer.
“I’m not surprised they don’t know. The scheme is understaffed not working as it should all the time. They are doing the best they can with the resources available,” said one Welsh council housing officer.
The local authority was not sure if the booklet should be served either.
The best advice was give a copy to the tenant anyway just to ‘cover your back’.
What does the law say?
The booklet is only for service where the property is located in England (regulation 1, The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015).
The council also wanted an electrical safety certificate served, even though this is not compulsory on some lettings.
Landlords must safely maintain the electrical installation in the home and are recommended to have the circuits tested at least once every five years, but have no legal obligation to give a copy of the report to a tenant. However, where the property has three or more sharers (where all are not related to one another) it is a legal requirement to have a mains Electrical Safety Certificate every five years. In addition to the requirement where the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), certain licensed properties may need an electrical certificate as a condition of the property licence.