Landlord Responsibilities ExplainedWritten By PropertyLoop February 22, 2021
We’re betting you haven’t read through every page of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. And we wouldn’t blame you – it’s a pretty hefty piece of legislation to wade through, after all. We’ve had to do here at Property Loop, so are speaking from personal experience!
What we have done though, is taken down some of the salient points ie the ones that relate to being a landlord, and noted them right here:
Checking a Tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’
Basically, it’s against the law to rent to anyone who can’t provide proof of the right to residency or right to rent in this country. You must check ID, such as a passport or immigration papers, including a driving licence or birth certificate. Failure to do so could result in a £3000 fine. Repeat your actions and you could end up in jail.
Note: Swiss nationals will have a joint UK/EEA passport and are permitted.
Use an Authorised Deposit Protection Scheme
Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and The Tenancy Deposit Scheme are all government-approved to take tenants’ deposits.
A tenant’s deposit must be put into one of the three schemes within 30 days of your receiving it.
At the end of a tenancy the deposit must be returned within 10 days of both you and your tenant agreeing on the sum (after any deductions). If there is a dispute, all three schemes offer a dispute resolution service. Fail to go down the proper channels and keep the deposit and you could end up forking out three times as much.
Maintain the Condition of the Property
As landlord, you are responsible for the exterior of the property, such as the roof, walls, window frame, gutters, chimney etc. But you must also maintain the interior too when it comes to radiators, gas, ventilation, wiring and fixtures such as the bath, sinks, pipes etc. The communal stairs and main doors are also your responsibility.
You might also want to make sure you are responsible for the washing machine, cooker, fridge etc (seeing as you’ve paid for them in the first place).
It’s a good idea to have electrical checks too every five years, including PAT tests for appliances you have provided. In fact, since summer this year an electrical test is now obligatory prior to a new tenant moving in.
Install Smoke Alarms
A smoke alarm on every floor and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a wood burning stove or other ‘solid fuel burning appliance’ is a statutory requirement. One you’ve checked they are working it’s up to the tenant to replace the batteries or let you know it’s broken. Not replacing a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector can result in a £5,000 fine.
Ensure too that tenants have access to an escape route in case of fire, and that any the furnishings and furniture you supply are fire retardant. Extinguishers and fire blankets must be supplied if you own an HMO.
Get a Licence if You Want to Rent Out an HMO
If you plan on renting out an HMO then you need a licence from the local authority where the property is located. This can result in fines of £20,000 and more if you don’t.
Give ‘Reasonable Notice’ Before Entering the Property
You can enter your property to carry out repairs etc – provided you give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice. The only exception is an emergency repair eg to combat flooding.
If it’s a major repair you can ask your tenants to move out. However, you will have to let them know when they can expect to return, as well as provide temporary accommodation for them.
Properly Evicting Tenants
There are two main methods of evicting a tenant – either via a Section 8 notice or a Section 21 notice. In the case of the former you can apply for this if your tenants have broken the tenancy agreement by, for instance, failing to make rental payments. Apply for the latter when you want your property back for whatever reason, and you’ve given your tenants two months’ notice, yet they haven’t budged.
Pay Tax on Your Rental Income
The first £1,000 of profit you make on your buy to let property is tax-free and is your ‘property allowance’. You’ll have to pay tax on the rest of your rental income if it exceeds the personal allowance (currently £12,500). Your rental allowance must be added to any salary you receive and filed under a self-assessment form.
Deductible expenses include letting agents’ fees, insurance and money spent on maintenance and repairs.
Of course, a letting agent like ourselves here at Property Loop can advise on the above too – regardless of whether they are online or have a physical ‘High Street’ presence.
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