Keeping a manual at a rental property is becoming more popular. However, do you need one? If so, what do you put in it?
While there is a legal requirement to provide a tenant with certain documentation there is no legal requirement in the UK to have a property manual. However, many landlords are using the manuals to provide a tenant with general information relating to property.
The manuals provide a useful reference point and storage location for compliance documentation. The manuals can provide traceability for work or maintenance completed at the property if a log is included and maintained in the manual. The manuals provide a quick reference for the tenant in an emergency.
The manuals do not need to be complicated but the more information included in them the more benefit they provide to both the tenant and the landlord. It is a good idea to keep a log in the manual which can be signed each time any information is updated. Any non-urgent maintenance issues can be recorded in the log and signed off as done by both the tenant and landlord. Elaborate manuals are not required and a simple ring binder with dividers will be sufficient.
Below is a possible list of items to include In each manual:
Cover Sheet – this includes details about the property including the full address and post code
Local Council Information – again providing their address and telephone number. The days for refuse collection, recycling dates and the location of the local civic amenities.
Water – the location of the stop cock for turning off water to the house. Where the water meter (if any) is located '
Electrical – the location for the electrical control box and the meter. Who the energy supplier is and their contact details. Where electrical appliances are provided with the property a PAT certificate is required on all appliances and this information should be in the property manual.
Gas – the location of the gas meter. Details of who supplies the gas and information about who to contact if the smell of gas is detected.
Instruction Manuals – are one of the few legal requirements and should be included for the gas boiler, oven, hob and any other appliances such a fridge or freezer.
Landlord details – if the property is a registered HMO it is a legal requirement to provide the landlord details even if the property is let through a management company.
Management Company details – together with address, telephone, general office hours and out of hours instructions
Emergency Contacts – such as a gas engineer or an electrician
Energy Performance Certificate – these are compulsory and there should be a certificate before the property is advertised for rent. The certificate is valid for 10 years
Gas Safety Certificate – is also compulsory and the tenant must have a copy of this certificate. The safety check should be done on an annual basis. It is a legal requirement to keep the certificates for at least 3 years.
NICEIC Certificate – this is not compulsory but it is a good idea to have one done if or when electrical work is required at the property. The certificate is normally valid for 10 years.
The Inventory – not compulsory but advisable
• Green Deal Records
• A log for recording visits made to the property, records updated or non-urgent maintenance ..
If for any reason Environmental Health or the Health and Safety Executive have any reason to visit the property a regularly updated manual provides instant proof of the landlord's professionalism and commitment to providing a safe and secure property.