Are you considering becoming a landlord for the first time? We’ve put together a checklist for new homeowners below to give them a solid sense of some of the key items they need to learn before opening their doors to new tenants.
- Ensure the property is fit for human habitation
Security and safety are vital. Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe, and failure to do so could lead to heavy fines or even jail time.
First and foremost, you must ensure that your property is fit for human habitation as you have a legal obligation to do so. Simply put, if your property falls into any of the following categories, it is unfit for human habitation. It must be brought up to standard, or risk legal action from a tenant and the Government:
- Unstable building
- Dangerous layout
- Serious dampness
- Insufficient natural light
- Poor ventilation
- Absence of hot or cold running water
- Issues with drainage or toilets
- Poor cooking or washing up facilities
- Ensure the rental property is safe
Landlords are expected to install a smoke alarm on every floor where a room is used for living space, while a carbon monoxide detector must also be installed in every room where there is a solid fuel-burning device.
Regulations are much tougher if you’re renting a house of multiple occupancies (HMO). It is also a mandatory obligation that tenants are provided with a valid Gas Safe Certificate, also known as CP12, at the outset of their rental period.
You need to also be certain that:
- The electrical equipment is secure, e.g. sockets and light fittings.
- All provided appliances are safe, e.g. cookers and kettles
- All of the basic amenities are present, such as bathroom fittings and kitchen appliances
- The property has no damp or mould
- Get an EPC
All landlords are expected to be able to provide Energy Performance Certificate, best known simply as an EPC, to their tenants on the day they move in. Since 2008, it has become mandatory that all property listings must carry the EPC rating of the property.
With this in mind, it is important that, if you do not already have one, the landlords order an EPC before putting their property on the market.
An EPC must be given any time you let the home to a new occupant. It is intended to show renters how energy-efficient the house is. You may not be able to evict your tenant in the future if you fail or forget to give an EPC to them before they move into the property. Although not a legal requirement, you may also wish to carry out an EICR Test as well to prove that the wiring in your property is safe as well.
- Do a Right to Rent Test
Starting in February 2016, the Government incorporated the Right to Rent test in the pre-rental process. This allows the homeowner to verify that prospective tenants have the legal right to rent in the UK.
Legal status will be assessed by testing and making copies of the identity papers of the tenants. The Government has established which records are to be deemed legal. These may include, for example, UK passports, European Economic Area passports or identity cards, permanent residency cards or travel papers showing indefinite permission to stay.
- Arrange a tenancy agreement
If the tenant wants to rent your house, you must supply them with a tenancy agreement – this is the legal arrangement that grants the tenant the freedom to stay in your home, and you the right to collect the rent from them.
- Protect your tenants’ deposits
Every landlord needs to deposit the tenant’s fees into a government-backed rental deposit scheme. The three government-approved schemes are MyDeposits, the Deposit Protection Service, and the Tenancy Deposit System.
Becoming a landlord can be a very profitable business for anyone with some property to spare. It is important, however, if you are planning to become a landlord that you are following all of the guidelines that you must be adhering to. This will not only make you a more successful landlord, but it will also keep you safe from any legal trouble that may arise.