Advisory service on standards for private tenants and landlords in North Kesteven

Property to let EMN-150213-145140001
Property to let EMN-150213-145140001

A new advisory service by North Kesteven District for tenants and landlords will be introduced at Sleaford Christmas Market.

NKDC’s Safe as Houses initiative will be introduced at the market on Sunday November 29, when staff will be on hand to provide advice and support to anyone who is either a tenant or a landlord of a private rented property.

There will also be an opportunity to win a hamper full of locally sourced food and drink ready for the festive season.

The Safe as Houses initiative sets out to ensure that private rented properties meet the required standards for condition, safety and warmth. In addition, changes in the law mean that from 2018 there will be a minimum energy rating, likely to be Band E on the Energy Performance Certificate. Most properties with an F or G rating will not be legally rentable properties.

Estimates suggest this could affect around 1,600 properties in North Kesteven. Therefore the council aims to support and advise owners to improve their properties in line with these new energy requirements, benefitting both them and their tenants.

According to the council, private tenants can expect certain standards relating to the condition of a home they rent. Where a tenancy is an assured shorthold, a landlord or agent must provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property and provide the tenants with a copy, protect their deposit within a Government approved deposit scheme, provide a copy of the current yearly gas safety certificate for any gas appliances and provide a copy of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide to all new tenants.

A landlord must also:

* Supply and fit a smoke alarm on every floor.

* Supply and fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every room where there is an open fire or solid fuel stove.

* Maintain the structure and exterior of the property and carry out most repairs.

* Deal with problems with the water, gas or electricity supply.

* Give at least 24 hours’ notice before visiting the property.

* Give the right amount of notice, in writing, to gain vacant possession of their property.

The council believes that all tenants should feel protected in their right to raise any concerns or issues and that every dwelling should be fit to be a safe and healthy home. The authority believes this initiative ensures that there is a means to get advice and support to ensure this is the case.

The service is equally available to support landlords, who are encouraged to contact the council who will provide advice on the standards needed to be met to provide quality housing free from safety risks, which are warm and secure.

It will also signpost landlords to any available initiatives such as free insulation or discount schemes to help improve their properties.

Where a property is unsafe and the landlord refuses to repair it, NKDC has the power to compel landlords to deal with serious health and safety hazards to protect tenants. The council continues to use these powers, but hopes that landlords will make use of the Safe as Houses service to ensure this is not necessary.

Landlords and tenants can contact the council via 01529 414155 or email: safeashouses@n-kesteven.gov.uk

Go to the website: www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/safeashouses for more information.