Minimum standards for Private Rented Dwellings
With certain exceptions, rental properties must comply with specified minimum physical standards and be in a proper state of structural repair.
Examples of items covered are sanitary, cooking, heating and ventilation facilities.
Tenants occupying accommodation not meeting the standards should make a formal complaint to the Housing Department and an inspection of the property will be carried and further action initiated if appropriate.
Your landlord, the local authority or housing association has a legal duty to make sure your home meets certain minimum physical standards.
From 1 February 2009, properties for rent must meet new minimum physical standards as outlined in the Housing (Standard for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008.
The Regulations intend to improve standards in rental accommodation. They will gradually phase out the traditional bedsit requiring each rental unit to have its own toilet and bath or shower facilities. An open fire will no longer suffice as a sole source of heating; central heating or an equivalent will be required.
A house, flat or apartment which is let for rent for the first time after 1 February 2009 must comply fully with the Regulations. However, some of the Regulations will not apply to existing tenancies until 1 February 2013. This means, if a house was let for rent between 1 September 2004 and 31 January 2009 it doesn’t have to meet all of the new minimum physical standards.
New Rented Properties
From 1 February 2009, a landlord must:
- Ensure that the house is essentially sound with roof, floors, ceilings, walls and stairs in good repair and not subject to serious dampness or rotting
- Provide a sink with hot and cold water
- Provide a separate ventilated room with a bath or shower and toilet
- Provide heating appliances for every room lived in
- Provide facilities for installation of cooking equipment and facilities for the hygienic storage of food, for example, a 4 ring hob with oven and grill, fridge-freezer and microwave oven
- Provide clothes washing facilities
- Provide clothes drying facilities if there isn’t a garden or a yard
- Ensure that electricity or gas supplies are in good repair and safe
- Ensure that every room has adequate ventilation and both natural and artificial lighting
- Provide a fire blanket and fire alarms
- Provide access to vermin and pest proof refuse storage facilities.
Existing rental properties
If a property has been let for rent at any time between 1 September 2004 and 31 January 2009 it doesn’t have to meet the new standards for sanitary, heating, laundry, food preparation and storage facilities until 1 February 2013. However, it must meet all other standards set out in the Regulations.
This means, an existing rental property can continue to provide:
- A toilet and bath/shower for every two flats, unless four single people are living in four single bedsits in which case all four may share a toilet and bath/shower
- Provide appliances for heating, which may include an open fire.
This information is not intended to be a legal interpretation of the relevant regulations but merely a general guidance note as to their contents.