Decided to rent out your property? Being a landlord comes with some pretty important legal responsibilities and it’s essential to know what you’re accountable for, whether it’s making repairs, safety checks, increasing the rent or paying tax.
Let’s look at your key responsibilities.
Check your tenant has the right to rent
Before you rent out your property, it’s your legal responsibility to check the immigration status of your tenant and any adult living in the property. This is called a right to rent check.
Get a signed tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and the tenant. It will protect you and regulate the tenant’s use of the property. It’s a good idea to make sure this is done before the tenant moves in.
The tenancy agreement should also include how and when you’ll review the rent.
Provide an EPC
You must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This contains information about your property’s energy use and typical energy costs. It must be displayed somewhere in the property. EPCs must be rated E or above.
Protect your tenant’s deposit
You (or your letting agent) must make sure your tenant’s deposit goes into a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receiving it. This is the case for all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) that started after 6 April 2007.
Give your tenants the ‘How to rent’ checklist
Email your tenants a copy of the Government’s comprehensive rent guide, which is designed to help both tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities at each stage of the rental process. There’s a handy checklist and lots of information including what to look out for before renting, living in a rented home, what happens at the end of a tenancy and what to do if things go wrong.
Check the gas and electricity
It’s your legal responsibility to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. All gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check – which should always be carried out by a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
You’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record (LGSR) with details of all the checks that were carried out and you’ll need to provide this record to your tenants.
Finally, you need to make sure all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are maintained and kept in safe condition.
You must also make sure any electrical appliances are safe to use. According to the Health and Safety Executive, ‘Electrical equipment should be visually checked to spot early signs of damage or deterioration. Equipment should be more thoroughly tested by a competent person often enough that there is little chance the equipment will become dangerous between tests.’
Make sure to record the results of any checks that are done.
Keep your property hazard-free
You are responsible for following fire safety regulations and fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This is especially important in any room with a coal fire or wood burning stove.
Structure and exterior
You must ensure that any structural or external problems with the roof, chimneys, walls, windows, boiler, water supply, guttering and drains are repaired.
It’s your responsibility to keep your property in good condition and carry out repairs to basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings. You have the right to inspect your property but you must give your tenants 24 hours’ notice.
Your local council may decide to do a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection to assess the safety of your property, so it’s wise to sort out any potential hazards.
Pay tax and national insurance
And last but certainly not least, you must pay Income Tax on your rental income, minus your day-to-day running expenses, and Class 2 National Insurance, if the work you do renting out your property counts as running a business. Make sure you know what you need to pay to avoid any penalties.
If you have a mortgage on the property you want to rent out, you must get permission from your mortgage lender.
Struggling with your landlord responsibilities? UPSTIX can help
If the responsibilities of being a landlord are proving too much to handle and you need to sell with tenants in situ, that’s no problem. UPSTIX will purchase tenanted properties. Whatever your reason for selling, UPSTIX is here to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible.