A Quick Guide to Landlord Legal Obligations
Landlord legal obligations vary slightly between the four parts of the UK, but they are basically similar. Read below to find out what the main obligations are, according to the team here at Property Loop:
The deposit your tenant provides must be paid into a government-approved deposit scheme within 30 days. Tenants must be informed where their money was deposited and when, along with a contact address.
How to Rent Guide
You must give a copy of the Government’s official How to Rent Guide to any new tenant. If you don’t and you need to evict the tenant, you may find it difficult to do so.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
You must issue tenants with an EPC when they move in. This gives them an idea of how environmentally-friendly the property is and how much, therefore, they can expect to pay in utility bills.
Right to Rent
This only applies in England. It’s where landlords have to check a prospective tenants immigration status to ensure that they are able to rent in England. This is the government’s method of ensuring illegal immigrants can’t rent property and live in the UK. Landlords can be fined for not checking. Here at Property Loop we always advise landlords to check.
An annual gas inspection must be held and the results shown to your tenants. In fact, they should be handed a copy of the gas safety certificate for their own records. The certificate is only valid if the safety check has been completed by a Gas Sure engineer.
All appliances, such as the kettle, toaster, lights etc must be tested at the start of each new tenancy. All appliances must be in line with EU law – those that are will have a CE mark. Unlike with gas there is no need for an annual test, but appliances in HMOs (which have a high tenancy turn-over) must be tested every five years.
All tenancies must be fitted with a smoke alarm on every floor and a carbon monoxide detector in any room where a fire or the boiler sits. There must also be escape routes and the fabric on any furniture, such as sofas and chairs, must be marked ‘fire safe.’ Regular fire drills must be carried out for an HMO property, safety blankets and fire extinguishers must also be provided in these larger rented houses.
Getting a Buy to Let Mortgage
If you’re renting out a property you previously lived in then you will have to inform your mortgage lender. That’s because you will have to change from a residential to buy to let mortgage (the latter costs more).
If it’s a leasehold property you intend to rent out then you must ask the permission of the freeholder first. If you’re not sure about this then ask advice from one of the team here at Property Loop.
If the property is an HMO then you will have to contact the local authority to obtain a special licence before you can take in any tenants.
As a landlord you will have to pay tax on any rent you receive – in addition to any other income you receive, such as a salary. You can also claim tax deductible expenses such software you have invested in to collect rent, petrol costs to and from your property etc. You declare all this via a self-assessment form. Even if you don’t collect more money than the personal allowance you must still send in a self-assessment form.
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February 12, 2021
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