In the private rented sector there are large amounts of legislation that must be adhered to. We are seeing an increase in these legislation’s as new rules are added year after year.
When letting out a property a landlord needs to be aware of the growing list of rules and regulations that must be diligently followed. This can be daunting for a first time landlord. That is why we have collated the top 5 Legal Tips for Landlords
- Be Prepared
There are several things you need to prepare prior to letting out your property. We advise you purchase an up to date buy-to-let book online and read everything you can on the subject. You can find some free advice on the government website.
Prepare all of the legal documents that you will require to let out your property. Such as:-
- An up to date tenancy Agreement (lease)
- How to Rent Guide (available from the government)
- EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
- Gas Safety Certificate
Provide all of the documentation when the tenant is signing the lease.
- Safety first
Top of the list of priorities for a landlord is to provide a safe and risk free property. The first thing to do is to ensure that your property is presentable: clean and tidy inside and out. There are a variety of safety rules that start with the basic requirement to ensure that the home is in a good state of repair.
The appliances should all be checked and where appropriate certificates should be supplied by qualified engineers. This is especially important when it comes to obtaining an annual Gas Safety Certificate for your property.
Every 5 years you should have electrical systems in the property checked and PAT tested.
All furniture should comply with the current fire safety requirements and be labelled accordingly.
- HMO Requirements
If your property is going to be let out by multiple “families” then you may be required to have an HMO licence. It used to be the case that HMO properties had more than 2 storeys. However the laws are going to change in October 2018 to state that a property can be considered HMO even if it is a bungalow or on one floor.
The rules and regulations around HMO properties vary from one area to the next. Therefore, it pays to get in touch with your local council to find out the requirements in your area.
- Property Inspection & Inventory
Before you hand over the keys to your property, take time to create a full inventory of the items in your property and their current condition. This is extremely important when the tenancy agreement comes to an end and you are checking over the property. Any claims for the items in the property must be done against the original inventory.
Pro-tip: Hire a Professional Inventory Clerk Inspect your property and also carry out a risk assessment at the same time. You can often ask your estate agent to do this service on your behalf.
- Money & Insurance
There are a few aspects that you need to consider before finalising a tenancy agreement relating to money and insurance.
- For mortgaged properties: let the lender know you are letting the property out
- You must put your tenancy deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP)
- Insure your property under a “Landlords Policy”, this includes third party liability insurance
It is important to take time to familiarise yourself with all of the current policies surrounding letting out your property to give you and your tenant piece of mind. Once you have secured a tenant and followed all of the advice outlined above, then you can no longer enter the property without your tenant’s consent.
Therefore, you need to make sure you have covered everything and if the tenant falls short on any of their agreements you can fall back on your paperwork and follow the necessary legal action if required. You can then be sure that you are operating within the parameters of the law.