Treehaus Landlord Code of Practice

Only good landlords need apply

To make the necessary changes to the sector, we are committed to only advertising properties on behalf of good landlords. 

Ultimately this will be determined largely by reviews as our new platform gains traction. But for now, we are asking all well-intentioned landlords to sign up to a Treehaus code of practice. 

Treehaus Landlord Code of Practice

Our new Landlord Code of Practice will include:

Compliance with statutory requirements

A) Ensure all necessary certificates and licences are in place for the property, including:

  • Electrical Safety Certificate - As of June 2020, landlords must have their rental property electrical installations inspected and tested every five years. A qualified electrician must carry this out, and the landlord must give a copy of the electrical safety report to tenants before they take occupancy or within 28 days of the inspection
  • Gas Safety Certificate - Any flues and gas appliances in your rental property must be checked annually for safety. A qualified Gas Safe registered engineer must carry this out, and a record of the safety check must be provided to tenants within 28 days of its completion.
  • Fire Safety Risk Assessment - Landlords must ensure that a minimum of one smoke alarm is installed on every floor of their property. Additionally, a carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room containing a fuel-burning appliance such as a wood-burning stove or open fire. These alarms must be in working order at the beginning of a new tenancy. It is advisable to carry out these checks in the presence of a new tenant or at the least record and retain evidence that you have carried them out.
  • Legionella Risk Assessment - Legionella bacteria found in water can cause a form of pneumonia called Legionnaires disease. This bacteria can exist in residential water systems and tanks, particularly when the water is between 20 and 45 degrees. Any landlord who conducts the risk assessment themselves should download a template to complete and provide the tenant with a copy. Alternatively, you can engage a legionella risk assessment company to carry out the assessment for you and receive a report to share.

For more information regarding your safety responsibilities as a landlord, visit the government website.

B) Abide by the 2019 Tenant Fees Act, agreeing that you will not charge tenants any unpermitted fees before, during, or after their tenancy ends. 

Unpermitted fees include viewing, reference, credit check, admin, check-in/out, and tenancy renewal fees. 

Under the act, tenants can still be charged late rent (a maximum of 3% more than the current Bank of England base rate for rent that is more than 14 days overdue) and lost key fees, and tenant-requested contract changes up to a maximum of £50.

C) Hold the deposit in a recognised scheme and register it within 30 days. The landlord must register a tenancy deposit in England, Scotland, and Wales with a government-approved deposit protection scheme. 

Approved schemes include:

Once registered, you must provide your tenant with information, including the deposit amount, the property address, the deposit scheme information, and the name, address, and contact information for you, the landlord, the tenant, and any relevant third party. 

Additional Treehaus requirements

A) Treat tenants fairly, respectfully, and kindly at all times.

B) Maintain the property to a high standard - this would require exceeding the minimum requirements when it comes to maintaining things like:

  • Ventilation - making sure all the windows work well, open and shut tightly, and efficiently prevent drafts.
  • Paintwork - repaint the walls regularly, ideally every 3-4 years.
  • Heating - ensure that there is proper central heating with radiators that are capable of keeping the internal temperature at 21 degrees, even in the coldest months.
  • Insulation - Installing additional insulation in roof and wall cavities where possible, insulating hot water tanks and pipes, and upgrading to double-glazed windows wherever possible.
  • Lighting - installing and maintaining low power LED lights, using warm whites where possible, and avoiding unshielded pendants and strip lighting.
  • Plumbing - ensure that waste pipework is cleared regularly (and at the very least between tenancies). Ensure that taps do not drip.

C) Respond to tenant queries promptly, usually within 24 hours.

D) Offer flexibility to the tenant should their circumstances change. For example, by providing a fair and reasonable compromise depending on their situation, such as agreeing to release them from the tenancy agreement early with an agreed amount of notice, even when the contract doesn't strictly permit it. In some cases, tenants experience severe and unavoidable changes in circumstances that warrant unusual leeway. 

Striving for excellence in the landlord community

Great landlords deserve to be acknowledged and to build a respectable reputation that will attract reliable and responsible tenants. Our review system helps identify the most responsible and considerate landlords, helping tenants to make more informed choices and raising standards in the industry.

Why does this matter?

The Treehaus mission is to transform the private rental sector for the better, and we are inviting landlords to get on board to improve standards for all.

More than 4.4 million households rent privately in the UK. But according to the English Housing Survey, 23 percent of rentals (a staggering 1.1 million homes) did not meet the Decent Homes Standard in 2019. 

There have been increasing demands for an overhaul of the rental sector in recent years, with the government recently announcing a crackdown on sub-par landlords. Pending parliamentary considerations include fines, improved quality standards, and a complete ban on no-fault evictions

One aspect that is consistently overlooked is the imbalance of power when it comes to pre-agreement vetting. Landlords currently hold all the cards when it comes to assessing the character of a potential tenant, yet no such luxury is afforded to the renter. 

In a bid to redress this power, we have launched the first national rental database and landlord review platform, to give tenants a voice and hold bad landlords accountable. Genuine, well-intentioned landlords will have no reason to decline this level of transparency, thus further weeding out those who treat their tenants immorally and illegally.