Checklist of Landlord Responsibilities
As a new landlord are you worried that you are within the law when renting out your first property? You’re right to be fearful about this as there are quite a few legal ‘must-do’s’ to comply with. So, in order to ensure, you remain on the right side of the law, here’s a smart checklist you can use:
Before You Find Your Tenant
- Change to a Buy-to-Let Mortgage
- Do You Need a License to Rent?
- Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Get Gas and Electric Safety Checks
- Install Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Is Your Furniture Is Fire Safe?
- Check for Legionnaires’ Disease
- Do a Right to Rent Check
- Taxes for Landlords
- Registering the Security Deposit
- Get an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST) Agreement
- Hand Out the How to Rent Leaflet
- Carry Out an Inventory
Change to a Buy-to-Let Mortgage
Take a few months to sort this out. If it’s your own home you’re renting out then you’ll need to change your mortgage from residential to buy-to-let. If you’re a leaseholder then you’ll also need permission from the freeholder of your property.
Do You Need a License to Rent?
Mandatory licensing applies to HMOs and can be applied for via the local authority in which your property sits. Ask your council if your rental property is subject to Additional licensing or Selective licensing measures.
Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
You must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to show prospective tenants. Not only that, but the property must be rated E or above. Less than this makes it illegal to rent out. The EPC tells how energy efficient the property is so will have an effect on the tenant’s utility bills.
Get Gas and Electric Safety Checks
Gas checks must be carried out annually by a qualified gas engineer, and the tenant shown a copy. An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) must also be carried out prior to a new tenant moving in. From April 2021 it will apply to existing tenancies too. Suggested repairs must be made or landlords could end up paying a fine of up to £30,000. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is advisory rather than statutory.
Install Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
A working smoke alarm should be present on every floor in your rental property. A carbon monoxide detector should also be in a room where solid fuel is used for heating.
Is Your Furniture Is Fire Safe?
This means the fabric and stuffing in sofas and other soft furnishings should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations.
Check for Legionnaires’ Disease
This may seem rather bizarre but it’s a legal requirement. It usually arises from bacteria in stagnant water. Most UK water systems are designed to tackle it though.
Once you’ve Found your Tenant
Do a Right to Rent Check
This means looking at passports and other physical documents to establish they are allowed to rent in this country so aren’t an illegal immigrant.
Taxes for Landlords
If your rental income, together with any salary you home is more than the personal allowance then you’ll have to pay tax on it. This is achieved by filling in a self-assessment tax form.
Registering the Security Deposit
Make sure it’s with a government-approved scheme. Do it within 30 days of your tenant moving in and let them know where it is, and when you deposited their money.
Get an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST) Agreement
This should be signed by you and your tenant. It outlines when you’ll be paid, what the notice period is and may contain clauses about ‘no pets’ etc.
Hand Out the How to Rent Leaflet
This can be done by handing over a physical copy or via email where a link is attached. If it’s done physically, then it’s a good idea to get an acknowledgement. You won’t be able to serve a Section 21 eviction notice unless you can prove you gave your tenant this.
Carry Out an Inventory
This is a list of possessions and the condition they are in, often there are photographs too. The inventory should be signed by both parties in case there is a dispute over the condition of an item at the end of the tenancy.
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