Feeling Fine: What fines could you face as a landlord?
What fines are you liable for as a landlord?
As a landlord, there’s a weight of responsibility on your shoulders to ensure your tenant’s safety in your property. From ensuring your certification is all in place to keeping up-to-date with the latest regulation changes, there are a lot of balls to juggle.
But what happens if you drop one of those balls?
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Letting your legal documentation expire
First up is your legal documentation. These are all certificates your property must have to make sure that it is safe to live in and up to energy efficient standards (which has the added benefit of keeping your tenant’s bills lower).
However, if you fail to comply with the necessary checks and legal documentation, you could find yourself facing a hefty fine:
How often does it need to be updated?
Fines if you let it lapse?
Gas Safety Certificate
Every 12 months
Up to £6,000 fine
You could also face imprisonment
Every 5 years
Fines can run up to £30,000 (!!)
Every 10 years
You could be fined anywhere between £500 - £5,000 and your Local Authority Building Control can force you to get one.
Fire alarms (and carbon monoxide alarms if you have any solid fuel burning appliances)
You need a fire alarm on every floor and a CO alarm in every room with a solid fuel appliance.
Alarms should be checked at the start of every tenancy, the tenant is then responsible for updating the batteries.
Fines up to £5,000
When it comes to gas and electrical safety – these have a very real impact on the safety of your property. If you let these checks lapse, your property could become dangerous without your knowledge, leading to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. In extreme circumstances this could lead to the death of your tenant and you could then face a manslaughter charge.
Even if you use a letting agent, you have to make sure that they are doing all they should be to avoid liability landing on you.
Missing the deposit protection deadline
One landlord is already facing paying out £5,000 because her letting agent missed the deadline for protecting the deposit. When your tenant pays their deposit, you have 30 days to protect it in one of three government approved schemes:
If you don’t protect the deposit, you leave yourself liable in a number of ways:
- You can be sued. Your tenant can claim up to three times the amount of the deposit paid to
- Delay court proceedings. If you find yourself needing to evict your tenant later on, no matter how bad your tenant is, this failure on your part regarding the deposit could delay the eviction
- You could lose the deposit. If you do not protect the deposit, keeping it in a personal account of your own, you are at risk of losing the deposit. This could be because you become the victim of fraud or you inadvertently spend it. Protect the deposit and this won’t be a worry
Again, while your letting agent may be dealing with this, it’s on you to make sure it’s all being done correctly!
Consequences of common administrative errors
Little admin errors can trip you up if you ever need to go to court with your tenant, or if your tenant decides to hold you to the letter of the law. So make sure you understand what you need to do and when.
Before your tenant moves in, they should have a copy of the following:
- Gas Safety Certificate
- Fully signed tenancy agreement
- How to Rent Guide
Don’t forget, you also have 30 days from the date you received the deposit to provide your tenant with the Prescribed Information, which explains where and how their deposit has been protected and how it will be dealt with when the tenant leaves. We recommend that you pass this along to your tenant as soon as you receive it.
We’d also recommend making sure that you submit a full inventory before they move in too, so you have everything about the condition of the property in writing, to head off any deposit disputes in the future.