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Top 10 Responsibilities of a Landlord – Commercial or Residential

July 14th, 2020

Last updated: June 26th, 2024

A landlord’s responsibilities are increasing all the time, partly due to a Governmental clampdown on the rental sector, but also because of ever-changing health and safety legislation. A landlord has many legal responsibilities with regards contracts, tax, licenses and deposits but they also have many health and safety responsibilities. Furthermore, these can differ between the commercial rental sector and that of the domestic or residential sector.

Landlords can be fined or reprimanded if they don’t keep up with their responsibilities, and this should be incentive enough to make sure that they comply with the UK’s laws. If something should happen as a result of a landlord’s negligence, either in a rental residential property or a commercial property in the UK, they could face further legal action.

Here we break these down to look at each sector and the duties of the landlord in each case.

Responsibilities of a Commercial Landlord

The responsibilities of a commercial landlord vary slightly from those of a domestic landlord. There are steps that will overlap, but more is often needed in the way of fire preparation and even consideration of water supply, or asbestos in a building (if it is present).

Responsibilities to consider as a commercial landlord include:

  1. Gas safety – all gas appliances and systems must be installed and serviced by a registered GasSafe engineer. This means that they must be serviced and inspected every 12 months and a written record left with the tenant with any recommended actions addressed.
  2. Electrical maintenance – all electrical wiring installations must be inspected and tested regularly by a competent electrical engineer. A landlord must also ensure that portable electrical appliances are tested regularly by a competent person. In both cases, remedial actions must also be addressed. In a commercial property, electrical systems can also include air conditioning.
  3. Risk assessments – a landlord must carry out a full risk assessment of the property they are letting to a commercial organisation. This must be comprehensive, must be re-assessed regularly to keep it up-to-date and any remedial actions must be addressed. Certain risk assessment documents such as the fire risk assessment are crucial, and they inform the decisions that may be made on safety systems throughout the property.
  4. Alarms – a rental property in the commercial sector must be fitted with intruder and smoke alarms, and these must be regularly serviced and maintained to ensure their adequate ongoing operation. These tests must be carried out by a competent engineer and records must be left with the tenant.
  5. Fire safety – rented commercial premises must be subject to a fire risk assessment and must be suitably fitted out with smoke detection systems and equipment. The landlord must also be aware of emergency evacuation procedures and ensure the building layout allows for safe evacuation through suitable emergency exits. These emergency procedures must be formal and posted in a visible location in the premises.

Responsibilities of a Domestic Landlord

Domestic landlords still have a lot of responsibilities and must keep the building in a safe and habitable space as a minimum. If you need repairs or replacements for boilers and other included or fitted appliances, this may be the responsibility of the domestic landlord. The below aspects of being a domestic landlord are legislated for, but there are also some further considerations based on what you have agreed to in your contract.

  1. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – a landlord must provide an EPC to the tenant before he or she can let a property out for rent. This document assesses the property for energy performance and issues a grading for the property from A to G. It also leaves recommendations for improvement.
  2. Alarms – a domestic rental property must be fitted with suitable and adequate smoke, intruder and carbon monoxide alarms. With regards to carbon monoxide detection, these must be placed in rooms with a coal fire or wood burning stove, whilst smoke alarms need to be fitted on each floor of a property.
  3. Repairs – a landlord is responsible for all ongoing repairs and maintenance in a residential property. This can include electrical appliances and wiring, gas systems, alarms and the general condition of the property, ie. including where water leaks or damp is occurring.
  4. Health & safety – a residential landlord is responsible for all service and maintenance of electrical wiring, appliances and gas systems and appliances. Service must be on a routine basis and be carried out by competent and accredited personnel only. Wondering if it’s a landlords responsibility to get rid of mice or other pests? This would be covered under health and safety and does come under the landlord’s remit.
  5. Furnishings – any furniture or fittings supplied – such as chairs, beds, sofas or carpets and upholstery – must comply with fire safety standards in terms of flammability. Any damage or unsuitability identified with these furnishings must be attended to and the items replaced.

These are just some of the many responsibilities a landlord has to take on and it is important that a landlord is fully aware of these duties and is practiced in regularly attending to these, whether this is in the commercial or domestic sector, as the landlord is open to possible prosecution if this is not done.

Fortunately, staying compliant is not something you have to tackle on your own. Robinsons Facilities Services can help you to create a planned preventative maintenance schedule. This means that we can plan regular services to maintain your property to high standards.

As well as keeping your commercial or residential premises compliant, this can have further benefits such as reducing the chances of equipment breakdown by means of regular servicing. For instance, regularly PAT tested electronic equipment may last longer, as signs of any damage or potential issues may be spotted earlier. Things like boiler servicing are further examples that can save you money in repairs and even keep your building operating at full efficiency, saving on the bills.

For more information about your responsibilities as a landlord, and want advise on a specific property you own or manage, please call us on 01423 226578.

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