Before you rent out your property

Any property you rent out must be safe to live in, free from health hazards and follow certain legal requirements.

Additionally, landlords in some areas of Birmingham will need a special ('selective') licence to rent out a property from 5 June 2023.

Read about the new selective licensing scheme.

Houses of multiple occupation (HMOs)

There are some additional rules that landlords renting out a house of multiple occupation (HMO) must follow.

An HMO is a building where five or more people live and they are not from one household. It is sometimes called a 'house share'.

The definition of a licensable HMO changes on 5 June 2023. From that date, a licensable HMO will be a building where three or more people live and they are not from one household.

Read about HMOs

Read about the rules for landlords of HMOs

Any rented property must meet certain health and safety or legal requirements. These include:


Any residential property you rent out must provide a reasonable degree of protection against fire.

 Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms

You must have at least one smoke alarm on every storey of your property.

You must have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that has an appliance that burns solid fuel – a coal fire, for example.

You must test any alarm at the start of a new tenancy.

Read about the rules for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on GOV.UK.


Your property must meet the national standards for electrical safety. This includes testing all electrical installations every five years.

Read about the national standards for electrical safety.


You must keep any gas installation (appliances, pipework and flues) in safe working order. This means getting a Gas Safe Registered engineer to check it every year.

The engineer will give you a gas safety certificate if your equipment passes the annual test. You must:

  • give the certificate to your tenants within 28 days
  • keep a copy of the certificate for at least two years


Any upholstered furniture you put in your property must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Your property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least an E rating.

You must give a copy of your EPC to your tenant.

Read about EPCs on GOV.UK.

Improving the energy performance of your property

You may be eligible for advice, assistance or grant funding to improve the energy efficiency of your property.

Read our guidance about improving energy efficiency.

Mould and damp

Mould and damp can cause health problems for your tenants. It is particularly harmful to young children and people with asthma.

You should treat any mould or damp in your properties promptly.

We may take action against landlords who refuse to treat mould and damp in their properties.

Read about mould and damp.

Read more about mould and damp on Shelter’s website.

Page last updated: 24 March 2023

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