Looking for a property to rent

When looking for a property to rent, there are some important things to consider:

  • how much you can afford to spend on rent each month
  • how many bedrooms you need, and how much space you need for your belongings
  • which area you want to live in

Safety standards

You should also check that any rental property you are considering meets all the required gas, electric and fire safety standards and has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Gas safety

Landlords have a duty to ensure a registered engineer performs an annual gas safety check and that they provide tenants with a copy of this record. You should ask to see an up-to-date gas safety certificate for any property before you move in.

Electrical safety

Landlords must ensure that a property's electrical system (ie sockets and light fittings) and any appliances they provide are safe.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020, which applies to all new tenancies and will apply to all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021, requires that landlords must:

  • ensure all installations are inspected and tested at least every five years
  • provide tenants (and the local authority, if requested) with a copy of the Electrical Safety Condition Report (ElCR)
  • carry out any works required by the ElCR

Landlords who fail to comply could be fined up to £30,000.

Fire safety

Landlords must:

  • follow safety regulations
  • check all tenants have an escape route at all times
  • provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance
  • make sure all furniture and furnishings they provide are fire safe
  • provide fire alarms and extinguishers if the property is large and let out to several tenants

See also:

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

An EPC tells you how energy efficient a property is. Landlords are required to provide a valid EPC when letting a property. If a property has poor energy efficiency it could mean higher energy bills for you.

EPCs for domestic rental properties are valid for 10 years, although landlords are encouraged to update them more frequently.

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Page last updated: 04 November 2022

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