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Do you know the rules to becoming a Landlord?

25/01/2019
 

It’s vital that you understand your responsibilities before you welcome your first tenants into your rental property, whether you’ve deliberately made the decision to invest in buy-to-let property or you’re one of the country’s rising number of ‘accidental landlords’ and you’ve found yourself in a position where, for whatever reason, you need to rent out a home.

There are a lot of rules in place that apply to landlords. As long as you do your research, you should remain on the right side of the law.
Here are some of the responsibilities to start with…


Ensuring your property is safe for tenants
One of your most important duties is to ensure your rental properties are safe for people to live in. This includes:
– making sure all of your electrical and gas equipment is safely installed, regularly checked and properly maintained. Gas and electrical safety certificates must be provided to the tenant when they move in.
– provide a smoke alarm on each floor of your property and, in rooms with useable wood burners or fireplaces, a carbon monoxide alarm.
– any furnishings you provide have to be fire safe and there must always be access to escape routes in the event of a fire.

During an emergency, you must ensure that your property is safe and secure while tenants are living in it. You must resolve any problems and pay for any repairs. You have a responsibility to act.


Checking tenants’ right to rent
If you’re renting out a property in England, you have a duty to check tenants’ right to rent. This involves determining whether people are legally allowed to rent residential property in England.
You’re required to check original documents e.g. UK Passport, that allow tenants to live in the UK, making sure the paperwork is genuine. You must make copies of the documents and note the date you completed the checks. If you don’t follow these rules and you accept a tenant who doesn’t have the right to rent property in England, you may be fined up to £3,000.


Providing an energy performance certificate
In England, you’re required to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) before you market your property to prospective tenants. EPCs contain information on the typical energy costs and energy use in a property and they give recommendations on how energy consumption can be reduced. These documents are valid for 10 years and give properties an efficiency rating from A (the most efficient) down to G. To get an EPC, you’ll need to contact an accredited assessor. It is now illegal to rent out a property if the EPC rating is below an E.


Protecting your tenants’ deposits
When you get a deposit from your tenants, you must place it in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This rule applies to all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales, the schemes are:

  • Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

 

 

There are different schemes in Scotland.
These schemes are backed by the Government to ensure tenants get their deposits returned to them as long as they meet the terms of their tenancy agreements, don’t damage property and pay their rent. You, or your letting agent, must put the money your tenant provides as a deposit into one of these schemes within 30 days of receiving it. At the end of a tenancy, you have to pay the money back within 10 days of agreeing on the sum to be returned.

 

These rules don’t apply to holding deposits provided by future tenants to hold a property before an official agreement is made. They only take effect once contracts have been signed.

 

 

Rights of entry
There are strict rules governing access. As a landlord, you can’t simply walk into your rental properties as and when you wish. However, you can enter these properties if certain conditions are met. For example, you have a right of reasonable access if you need to conduct repairs. What ‘reasonable access’ means will depend on the nature of the repairs. If there’s an emergency, you may be entitled to enter immediately to carry out work.

 

You also have a right of entry to inspect the state of repair of your property or, if you have one, to empty a fuel slot meter. Tenants must be given a minimum of 24 hours’ written notice before you enter the property. Visits must be made at ‘reasonable’ times so that tenants can be in if they wish to be. If you provide written notice requesting access and the tenant denies or refuses access, then you are legally unable to enter at that time and a new appointment must be made.

 

If you have an agreement with your tenant that you’ll provide a room-cleaning service, you don’t need permission before entering the property.
These are just some of the basic responsibilities expected from a landlord. If you do have any questions or are unsure of anything mentioned above, please feel free to give our office a call and we can help you understand all of the legislation. Cdk Lettings – 01695 227177

 


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