The new Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 (“the 2017 Regulations”) came into effect on the 1st July 2017, and increase minimum standard requirements on landlords for the provision of adequate rental accommodation. The 2017 Regulations replace the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, and the changes apply to all private residential landlords, from single properties to multi-unit portfolios.
Following the introduction, landlords are advised to ensure their property portfolios comply with the 2017 Regulations.
The key requirements imposed on landlords are categorised as follows:
1. Repair and Condition:
- Increased obligation for houses, both external and internal elements of the property, to be free from damp and maintained in ‘a proper state of structural repair’;
- Installations for the supply of gas, oil and electricity including pipework, storage facilities and electrical distribution boxes to be maintained in good repair and safe working order; and
- Where necessary, adequate provisions should be made to prevent harbourage or ingress of pests or vermin.
- Requirement for suitable safety restrictors to be fitted on windows, where the bottom of window opening sections in a house is more than 1,400mm above external ground level;
- Each house must contain a suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system, and a suitably located fire blanket;
- Buildings that contain two or more units, which share a common access, are subject to additional fire safety requirements; and
- Every room used, or intended for use, by the tenant of the house as a habitable room, should have adequate ventilation (specifically including the removal of water vapour from every kitchen and bathroom).
3. Facilities, Amenities and Appliances:
- Permanent heat emitters, systems and appliances, independently manageable by the tenant, adhering to safety requirements including the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors and alarms should be fitted and maintained;
- All rooms used or intended to be used for living or sleeping purposes (excluding a kitchen having a floor area of less than 6.5 square metres) should have adequate natural lighting, and suitable and adequate artificial lighting should be provided for every hall, stairwell and landing, and every room used or intended to be used by the tenant;
- All rooms with a bath or shower and water closet should be suitable and adequately screened to ensure privacy;
- Food storage areas, and specified food preparation and laundry appliances, to be provided and maintained;
- Houses should have access to suitable and adequate refuse storage facilities;
- Sufficient information should be provided to the tenant about the rented property, the fixed building services, appliances and their routine maintenance requirements so that the occupant can operate them correctly; and
- All facilities are to be maintained in a safe condition and in good working order, and good repair.
Following the introduction of the 2017 Regulations on 1st July 2017, landlords are advised to ensure compliance. It should be noted that although these new regulations increase landlord obligations, there are recognised challenges with some implementation, and are subject to a number of exceptions.