Hammersmith & Fulham Council values the private rented sector and its important role in providing decent, warm, safe homes. Working together with landlords we can improve the choice for borough residents and landlords alike.
In 2017, the council introduced new landlord licensing schemes and a Landlords’ Charter. The aim is to encourage landlords to commit to best practice in management, housing standards, living rent, charges, protecting tenants’ deposits and security of tenancies. Landlords who licence a rented dwelling in one of the council’s property licensing schemes are encouraged to sign up to the charter.
Charter for landlords and agents
- Advertise the property honestly and in accordance with the law.
- Be clear about all fees that tenants will have to pay.
- Ensure letting agents and property managers join a redress / ombudsman scheme.
- Provide tenants with a clear written tenancy agreement and an inventory.
- Ensure any deposit taken is protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.
- Ensure any money taken by an agent is protected in a Client Money Protection scheme.
- Provide safe, warm and energy efficient homes that meet minimum standards required by law.
- Provide to tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and, where gas is provided at the property, a current Gas Safety Certificate.
- Be proactive in maintaining the property to keep it safe and in good repair.
- Let tenants know how they can report repairs and respond promptly.
- Provide tenants with contact details of the landlord and property manager, including a telephone number they can use in case of an emergency.
- Provide tenants with a clear means of making and dealing fairly with complaints.
- Respect tenants’ privacy and give tenants advance notice of visits.
- Ensure tenants are aware of the standards of behaviour they should follow and how they will be dealt with if they fail to meet such standards.
- Provide clear instructions on what tenants should do at the end of a tenancy.
- Make sure any deposit is released in accordance with the rules of the tenancy deposit scheme it is held under.
- Keep up to date with the law on housing.
- Provide security of tenure.
- Protect tenants from harassment or illegal eviction.
- Meet best practice on rents.
Access doors to premises must have suitable locks and windows in accessible locations must be provided with suitable window locks (which can be over-ridden in the event of a fire)
Condensation and damp
- The building must be free from rising damp, penetrating damp and plumbing leaks.
- Adequate ventilation must be provided to all habitable rooms by openable windows, vents and mechanical ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms if necessary.
- If condensation is a result of the cold bridging effect of external walls, wall insulation may be required in addition to the provision of adequate ventilation and efficient heating.
Heating and thermal comfort
- An efficient heating system which is affordable to run, controllable by the tenant and available at all times, must be provided.
- Where there is a loft, insulation is required to cover the full floor with a gap around the edges for airflow. The recommended depth of mineral wool insulation is 270mm to meet current Building Regulations, but other materials need different depths.
- Windows must be in good condition and open and shut properly.
- Single glazed windows must have suitable and effective draught proofing.
- If the windowsill is less than 1100mm from the floor, limiters (which can be over-ridden in the event of a fire) should be fitted to the window(s) to restrict opening to 100mm and prevent falls from the window.
- Low level glazing (within 800mm of floor level) must be impact resistant.
Kitchen, bathroom and WC facilities
- All cooking units and sanitary facilities and appliances must be in reasonable repair and good working order.
Staircases and balconies
- Steps and stairs must have level, even treads and provide adequate friction.
- All staircases must have suitable handrails at the height of 900-1000mm and landings with a drop of 600mm or more must have guarding with maximum opening of 100mm and designed to prevent climbing. The height of the guarding shall be 900mm.
- Balconies must be properly constructed and guarded. The guarding must have maximum openings of 100mm and designed to prevent climbing. The height of the guarding shall be at least 1100mm.
Gas and electricity
- A gas safety certificate must be provided annually by GAS SAFE engineer.
- A check of the electrical installation should be carried out every 5 years and interim checks carried out on an annual basis and/ or at a change of tenancy. An electrical test certificate must be provided by a competent person e.g. NAPIT or NICEIC.
- Sufficient electrical sockets must be provided to prevent the inappropriate use of extension leads and avoid overload (see Fire Safety).
- As a minimum in rented properties, mains wired smoke detectors must be fitted to the ceiling of the hallway and landings (one per floor, interlinked). In some properties, including converted buildings and HMOs, a more comprehensive fire detection system may be required.
- Flat entrance doors (within converted properties) must be of half hour fire resistant construction.
- All kitchens must have close fitting doors and in HMOs these must be fire resistant.
- Key only operated mortice lock to flats, houses and HMOs are not acceptable as they compromise escape in case of fire. As an alternative, locks with an internal thumb turn are acceptable.
- All kitchens must be provided with suitably fixed fire blankets conforming to BS 1869:1997.
- All fire escape routes and communal areas must be kept free of obstructions.
The dwelling should have adequate natural and artificial lighting in all habitable rooms and adequate artificial lighting to all other such as circulation areas, bathroom and kitchens.
Managing anti-social behaviour
Ensure that any anti-social behaviour committed by residents or their visitors, or to anyone residing in or visiting the property is dealt with appropriately and effectively. Where these complaints are justified he/she must take all reasonable steps to resolve the issue including if necessary by contacting the police or relevant authorities.
Waste management arrangements
- Suitable arrangements are put in place for storage and disposal of refuse produced by the occupiers of the property including sufficient and suitable bins.
- Occupiers are made aware of the refuse collection arrangements for the property including the refuse collection days and times.
- Occupiers are aware that the outside of the property (within its boundary) must be kept clear of litter and refuse.
- An inspection is carried out at intervals of not less than 6 months with a view to address with the occupiers any problems found with waste management.
If aware of a pest infestation emanating from the property, take steps to eradicate it by implementing a treatment programme. Records must be kept of any treatment and records submitted to the Council within 14 days of receiving a request in writing to do so
Landlords have a legal responsibility to manage risks associated with any asbestos present in rental properties. Where a problem of asbestos is identified or suspected, the landlord must seek specialist advice from an asbestos surveyor or a licensed contractor.