Landlord responsibilities are a big consideration for those who have invested in a property. The laws, rules and regulations in relation to rental properties are numerous, and it can be a daunting task keeping up to date with everything you need to know.
Here we take a look at the main landlord responsibilities, and what can happen if you fail to apply due diligence.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994, you must ensure that your rental property’s gas supply and associated appliances are safe. A copy of the gas certificate must be given to your tenants before the tenancy starts. The gas supply and appliances must then be inspected annually by a registered gas engineer, and a copy should be provided to your tenants within 28 days.
This will detail any problems found and what repairs were undertaken. It’s important to remember that if you fail to follow the rules here, you won’t be able to serve notice on your tenants.
As a landlord, your rental property musty be safe for your tenants to live in. An electrical safety test, carried out by a competent person, should be carried out prior to a tenant moving in. We always recommend that our landlords get an EICR to ensure that the electrical supply and all appliances are safe to use. We wrote about the proposed changes to electric safety law in a previous blog. It discussed how the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) intend to make electrical installation checks for private rented housing compulsory every five years. The changes are not in force yet, but it’s likely to be only a matter of time. At Homes4Harrogate, we’re advising all of our landlords to be prepared.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE
Obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate is a legal requirement. In fact, you can’t even market your property for rent without one. If you fail to obtain and EPC, you can’t serve notice on your tenants in the event that you need to do so. The certificate shows how energy efficient a property is. It takes into account things like insulation, hot water and heating systems. The EPC must be rated E or above in order to legally rent out your property.
The certificate should be made available to all prospective tenants, as it can give them an idea of the level of their energy bills. The EPC must be provided to your tenants before their tenancy begins and a record must be kept. The EPC must be issued by an accredited person, and is valid for ten years.
Purchasing a buy-to-let is a big investment. You’ll want to ensure that your asset is adequately protected with water-tight insurance cover. Your policy should cover everything from fire and water damage, to contents and legal expenses.
If you have a mortgage, you must ensure that you have obtained permission from the lender to rent the property out. If this isn’t provided, then any tenancy is null and void. In addition, when you have a mortgage, a standard household insurance policy will not suffice. Mortgage providers will insist on proof of specialist landlord insurance. This is to ensure that the property is protected if the worst should happen.
LANDLORD DEPOSIT SCHEME
It’s a legal requirement to keep your tenant’s deposits in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme. The prescribed information and a leaflet detailing the scheme must be provided to occupants before the start of the tenancy, along with a how to Rent guide. This is another task that’s non-negotiable. If you fail to do this, you won’t be able to serve notice on your tenants, and all of this must be done within 30 days of your tenant providing the deposit.
Whilst it’s not a legal requirement, it’s also good to make an inventory covering all items in the property and their condition.
The consequences for landlords who fail to meet their legal obligations are severe. You could find yourself facing hefty financial penalties, prosecution and even imprisonment. The advantages of using a letting agent are never more apparent than when it comes to ensuring that your responsibilities as a landlord are met.
We can keep you in the know. If you’re a landlord, or are considering investing in a buy-to-let in Harrogate or the surrounding areas, then we’d love to hear from you.