REALWorld Law

Residential leases

Key laws

What are the key laws governing residential leases in your country which are different from non-residential leases?

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

There are over 50 Acts of Parliament and 70 pieces of delegated legislation which affect landlords owning residential property for let. Below is a sample of the main statutes and the areas they cover:

  • Fire Precautions Act 1971 – allows the Fire Service to prohibit or restrict the use of premises where there is a serious risk to life in the event of a fire.
  • Defective Premises Act 1972 – ensures landlords prevent disrepair which could cause harm to tenants and others or their possessions.
  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – ensures landlords repair and maintain properties for tenants, also covers electrics.
  • Furniture and furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 – requires landlords ensure their furniture and furnishings meet set safety standards.
  • Housing Act 1988 – introduced the most common form of tenancy for private sector tenants, the assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people.
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – places specific fire safety duties on persons who have control of premises, including common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation.
  • Housing Act 2004 – changed the way properties are inspected, licensed and registered and the way in which deposits are handled.
  • The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented) Property Regulations 2015 – set out a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for all privately rented properties in England and Wales. From April 2018, it will be unlawful to let properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, unless exemptions apply.
  • Immigration Act 2016 – Right to Rent Mandatory. It is a criminal offence and unlimited fine should you be unable to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable measures to ensure persons residing in your property have a continuing right to reside.