The law requires that goods are safe when they are supplied. This includes goods supplied as part of a tenancy agreement, or in let accommodation.
When choosing rented accommodation, check furnishings and appliances comply with the laws to protect you from defective items that can cause injury or death.
Upholstered furniture included in lettings must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988. The best way to check if furniture complies is to look for the permanent label headed 'Carelessness causes fire'.
There are also regulations covering the safety of electrical items, gas cooking appliances, plugs and sockets, oil heaters, glazing, and general products, e.g. lawnmowers, step ladders and chairs. A Gas Safe Registered person must check gas installations, appliances and flues every 12 months, and a record of the check must be available to tenants.
The National Approved Letting Scheme (link opens in new window) provides advice and information to landlords and tenants.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (link opens in new window) is a professional self-regulating concerned with lettings.
The cost of renting must be clear. It can be given in many forms, such as verbally, on the internet, advert or brochure and on invoices. Any misleading action may lead to a prosecution.
Hostels, B&B and Hotels
A price list displayed in the reception area or at the entrance to the accommodation is a common method of giving a price indication. It should include:
- the price of a bedroom for one person, e.g. £55 per night, or the lowest and highest price, e.g. £50-60 per night, if there is a range of prices
- the price of a bedroom for 2 people
- the price of a bed in any other type of room
All prices should include any compulsory service charges and make it clear that these are included. It must be made clear if meals are included.
The price must usually include VAT, and the notice should state that VAT has been included.
The Estate Agents Act 1979 governs the work of estate agents. Its purpose is to make sure agents act in the best interests of their clients, and that both buyers and sellers are treated honestly, fairly and promptly.
The Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 controls property developers as well as estate agents, and creates criminal offences for making false or misleading statements about any of the matters in the Specified Matters Order. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits omitting material information, if that omission might cause the consumer to take a different decision.
For more information on buying and selling a property, visit the Citizens Advice Consumer Service (link opens in new window).