The following are examples of current legislation affecting property owners and their agents.

Furniture and Fire Regulations - The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)(Amendment) Regulations 1993, The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988

This legislation relates to the 'supply' of furnishings in property that is available for letting. It is an offence to 'supply' furniture, which does not comply with the Fire Resistance Regulation as in Regulation 14 of the 1988 Regulations. Essentially any furniture provided by a landlord must carry appropriate labels and meet the fire resistance regulations.

Landlords should ascertain whether their furnishings conform to these regulations and not purchase (either new or second hand) any furnishings, which do not conform or carry the appropriate labels. Furnishings manufactured pre 1st January 1950 are exempt from this legislation. We understand this legislation to include: Generally all domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. Including the following which may contain upholstery - Beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows, loose and stretch covers; But not curtains, carpets, duvets and bedclothes.

Our advice to all landlords is that non-compliant furniture and furnishings be replaced. We ask that landlords consider the intention behind the regulations, which is not to cause them unnecessary expense but to save lives.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) - Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations (2007/991)

All prospective tenants must be provided with an EPC, a result of the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

EPC's can only be produced by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor or Home Inspector. The EPC shows two things - the Energy Efficiency Rating (relating to running costs) and the Environmental Impact Rating (relating to the carbon dioxide emission) of a dwelling.

The EPC is valid for a period of 10 years and may be used as many times within that period. However a residential property cannot be marketed for rental until a valid EPC has been issued.

Smoke Detectors - Smoke Detectors Act 1991

As from the 1st June 1992 regulations require that properties built from that date must be fitted with mains operated fire detectors on every floor. We believe it is a matter of time before all properties within the private rental sector will fall within these regulations. We therefore strongly recommend that smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are installed in all property to be let.

Gas Regulations - The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

All gas appliances, pipework, flues and installations MUST be checked annually and a report issued confirming the inspection has been carried out. This safety check can only be carried out by a suitably qualified GAS SAFE registered contractor / engineer. Under the Gas Safety Regulations all letting agents (whether managing the property or not) are responsible for holding on file a copy of the Landords Gas Safety Certificate issued by the qualified GAS SAFE registered engineer. A copy of the certificate must be provided to the Tenant prior to a tenancy commencing. In the event the engineer or contractor fails any items that require inspection it will be the landlords responsibility to ensure such failure is remidied and the certificate re-issued with a full pass.

Electrical Safety - The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

These regulations apply to the electrical supply along with new and second-hand equipment including mobile and fixed appliances e.g. kettles, irons, vacuum cleaners, cookers, etc

All electrical appliances plugs sockets and wiring in a property and the electrical supply must be 'safe', will not cause 'danger' and must comply with statutory requirements. All new electrical appliances must carry a 'CE' mark. Instruction booklets or clear working instructions must also be provided. Newly installed plugs and sockets must also comply with regulations.

Income Tax (Non-Resident Landlords) - Section 42A, Income Tax and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 as supported by: Taxation of Income from Land (Non-residents) Regulations 1995, S.1.1995, No 2902

Rental income is subject to UK income tax at the appropriate rate. Legislation exists and applies to all non-UK resident landlords including non-UK resident trusts and overseas companies. Those serving with the British armed forces, serving members of the diplomatic service and other Crown servants are included within these regulations.