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The UK property sector’s top 4 compliance issues (and how to avoid them!)

Property News September 7th, 2023
The UK property sector’s top 4 compliance issues (and how to avoid them!)

Owning and maintaining a property comes with all sorts of legal responsibilities. It’s absolutely vital that property professionals stay on top of their game, as falling out of compliance can lead to major fines and, in extreme cases, prison time. 

To help you stay safe and compliant, here’s our rundown of the biggest compliance pitfalls and top tips for avoiding them. 


1. EICR Certificates 

What is it?

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) confirms that the electrical installation in your property is safe to use. It is a legal requirement for all rented properties in England as it helps keep properties safe from electrical fires and other accidents. 

An EICR certificate does the following:

  • Identifies any/all potential hazards within the electrical installation. 
  • Documents a full risk assessment of the property’s electrical system. 
  • Provides recommendations for necessary repairs or improvements. 

What’s the risk?

For individual landlords, the fine for an invalid or out-of-date EICR certificate is £3,000. If you are part of a larger organisation, this fine can be much higher. In these instances, the fine has no set limit and is determined based on the specifics of the property.

Top tips for staying compliant:

Your EICR certificate must be updated every five years. If you undertake any significant changes to your electrical installation, then you should update your certificate sooner than this.

EICR certifications have been a legal requirement in England and Wales since 2020 when the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020  came into force

To ensure your EICR certificate is valid, ensure it meets the following requirements:

  • The certificate must be carried out by a qualified electrician who is registered with a recognized body, such as National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) or The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 
  • The certificate must cover the whole electrical installation in the property, including all sockets, light fittings, and appliances.
  • The certificate must be dated and signed by the electrician who carried out the inspection.
  • The certificate must be provided to the landlord and tenant within 28 days of the inspection. An up-to-date certificate must be provided to new tenants when they move in. 


Beware of the EICR bottleneck!
The UK is currently facing a severe contractor shortage, making it much more difficult to find a qualified electrician when the EICR renewal period rolls around. To avoid falling out of compliance, why not schedule your EICR check early? 


2. Tenancy deposit protection schemes

What is it?

A tenancy deposit protection scheme is a government-backed program that protects tenants’ deposits when they rent a property in the UK. It is a legal requirement for all landlords.

What’s the risk?

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 makes it a legal requirement for all landlords in England and Wales to protect their tenants’ deposits in a government-approved scheme. The act came into force on 1 June 2019. Failing to comply with this requirement leaves you vulnerable to: 

  • A fine of up to £3,000
  • Legal action from tenants trying to recover their deposit
  • Reputational damage and blacklisting.

Top tips for staying compliant: 

When a new tenant moves in, ensure their deposit is stored in one of the three Government-approved deposit protection schemes. You can find information on all of your options here: 


3. Fire Safety Assessments 

What is it?

A Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) is legally required in all HMO’s and building common areas in the UK as part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The FSA must be carried out by a competent person, such as a fire safety engineer or a qualified electrician. The assessor will visit the property and identify any fire risks, such as:

  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Blocked fire exits
  • Accumulation of combustible materials
  • Lack of fire extinguishers
  • Inadequate fire alarms

What’s the risk?

If a responsible person fails to carry out a fire safety assessment, you could face a number of penalties, including:

  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • A criminal conviction
  • A prison sentence of up to six months. 

Top tips for staying compliant: 

The requirements for a valid fire safety assessment (FSA) in the UK vary depending on the size and type of property. However, there are some general requirements that all FSAs must meet.

  • The FSA must be carried out by a competent person with the necessary knowledge and experience to identify and assess fire risks.
  • The FSA must be tailored to the specific property, accounting for the size, layout, population and use. 
  • The FSA must identify all fire risks, including less obvious hazards such as the accumulation of combustible materials.
  • The FSA must recommend any necessary fire safety measures.
  • The FSA must be documented. 


4. Gas safety checks

What is it?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSR 1998) requires landlords and property owners to have all gas appliances in their property assessed by a Gas Safe registered engineer every 12 months. 

What’s the risk?

If a landlord or property owner fails to comply with gas safety regulations, they could face the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to £6,000
  • A criminal conviction
  • A prison sentence of up to six months
  • Compensation for any damage or injury caused by a gas leak or explosion

Top tips for staying compliant:

A valid gas safety check must cover the following:

  • Gas appliances: All gas appliances, including boilers, cookers, fires, and heaters, must be inspected and tested every 12 months. The engineer must check the appliance is safe to use. 
  • Gas installations: All gas installations, including pipes, valves, and meters, must also be inspected and tested every 12 months.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in all properties where gas is used. The detectors must be tested every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Once a check has been carried out, the landlord will be provided with a certificate (CP12). This must be presented to tenants within 28 days of the check being carried out, and a copy provided to new tenants before they move. 


👋 Arthur can help you manage compliance and protect your property. Book a demo now.

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