It’s not easy being a Landlord!
Nowadays, being a landlord is fraught with difficulties and risk. Gone are the days when you could simply enter into a tenancy agreement with a tenant, let them move in and that would be that. Now there are a myriad of requirements for a landlord to comply with and being ignorant of the law is no defence.
If you are a landlord, you must ensure that you are aware of and keep up to date with the various requirements as there can be serious penalties for failing to meet them, including fines, inability to serve a section 21 notice and even imprisonment!
A landlord’s obligations can be split into three categories – paperwork, safety and administration.
- Paperwork –
- Deposit – if you take a deposit from a tenant where an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”) is being entered into, the deposit must be protected in a government backed scheme. There are certain timescales which must be complied with in terms of protecting the deposit and serving the client with Prescribed Information.
- Right to Rent – you must carry out checks before the tenancy starts to ensure that your tenants have the right to rent in the UK. There are various documents which are acceptable and these documents must be kept for a specified timescale. Further, where a tenant has a limited right to remain in the UK, follow up checks must be undertaken.
- Initial paperwork – before the tenancy starts, you must provide your tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”), a valid Gas Safety certificate if there is gas at the property, and the government’s “How to Rent” guide.
- Safety –
- Gas safety – if there is gas at the property, you are required by law to have a gas safety inspection carried out annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You must provide a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate to your tenants.
- Electrical safety – all electrical fittings must be kept in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. Any devices at the property must have a CE mark. If your rental is a HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) you must also have an electrician perform tests every five years.
- Fire safety – by law, all properties must have fire-safe furniture and furnishings, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and access to escape routes.
- Administration –
- If the property is a HMO you will need a licence from the council.
- If you are the leaseholder you are likely to need to freeholder’s consent to rent out the property.
- If you have a mortgage, you are likely to need consent from your mortgage lender to rent out the property.
- You should take out landlords’ insurance.
There are other points to bear in mind, for example your obligations to keep some parts of the property in repair.
Did you know that Gregg Latchams offer fixed fee advice on all aspects of renting out a property, from creating a tenancy right through to obtaining possession of the property. For further information, please contact Lucy Mills, our residential tenancies specialist, on 0117 906 9400.