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Important changes in the law

There have been some important changes to the law over the last few years that landlords need to be aware of.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms

From 1st October 2022 landlords must make sure that a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm is fitted in any room containing a fuel burning appliance (for instance gas fires, but not including gas cookers). Previously a CO alarm has only been needed in rooms containing solid fuel burning appliances (for example wood or coal burners).

In addition, landlords will be required to repair or replace a defective smoke or CO alarm “as soon as reasonably practicable” if they are told there is a defect. Previously landlords have only been required to check alarms on the first day of the tenancy.

The new rules will be enforced by local authorities (councils) who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice. You can find more information about the new rules on

Electrical safety standards

New regulations about electrical safety standards for private tenancies came in to force in July 2020 and have applied to all tenancies from 1 April 2021 (regardless of when they were set up).  These standards mean that landlords must ensure electrical safety standards are met and that electrical installations in their property are inspected and tested by a qualified electrician at least every 5 years. 

Minimum energy efficiency standard

In April 2018 the minimum energy efficiency standards came into force which means that generally a property cannot be let where the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is lower than E (although there are some exemptions). An EPC of E is the minimum acceptable standard and a rating of F and G is below standard.

Tackling rogue landlords

Councils are now able to impose fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences and can apply for rent repayment orders in a wider range of situations.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave councils the power to issue civil penalties, instead of prosecution, for certain offences, which are:

  • Failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • Failure to license a Houses in Multiple Occupation which is subject to mandatory licensing
  • Failure to license under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004, which relates to licensing schemes
  • Failure to comply with an overcrowding notice
  • Breach of management regulations in respect of an HMO

The Housing and Planning Act also extended the use of Rent Repayment Orders which means that the First Tier Tribunal can order a landlord to repay a specified amount of rent.  The Council will normally consider applying for a rent repayment order where a landlord has been convicted a relevant offence or a Civil Penalty notice has been issued for housing offences.

In Bradford, the Council’s Executive has approved a new policy for the use of civil penalties for housing offences.  This policy is an appendix to our Enforcement Policy (PDF) which has also been changed to reflect the new powers that the Council has.

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Contact details

Housing Standards Team
8th Floor,
Margaret McMillan Tower,
Princes Way,

Phone : 01274 434520
Email :