What Are My Responsibilities as a Landlord?
Many landlords decide to invest in property and rent it out to bring in regular, passive income. Having an investment property is an excellent opportunity to increase your finance, both in the long and short term. But there are a few things you need to do as a landlord to ensure a smooth rental process for yourself and your tenant.
Landlords have a responsibility to take care of the property during the length of a tenancy. These responsibilities start before the tenancy begins and run throughout the in-life tenants until the tenant moves out.
We’ve put this guide together to give you an overview of your landlord responsibilities and the obligations you have to ensure a safe and stress-free rental.
Ensuring the property is safe prior to tenants moving in
There are various safety checks you must complete to ensure the safety of your tenant before a property is occupied. And failure to complete sufficient safety checks may result in hefty fines. Below are the legal duties of a landlord concerning your investment property.
Gas safety certificate
This is also known as a CP12. A gas safety engineer will need to come to the property and check that all gas-related appliances are fully functional and working to a safe standard. This includes electrical systems like sockets and light fittings, alongside appliances such as kettles and cookers. If the property is an HMO (house of multiple occupations), the landlord must have a valid EICR (the electrical installation condition report) completed prior to the move-in date. Some insurance companies will ask for an EICR to be completed even if it is not an HMO property. From the 1st July 2020, EICR will be mandatory for each property.
Also known as an electrical performance certificate, an EPC needs to have a standard of at least an E rating for it to meet legal rental requirements. An EPC is conducted to show tenants a property’s energy efficiency. A new test must be completed prior to any new tenancies regardless of the time frame in between each tenancy.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Working smoke alarms must be in place on each floor of the house and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms using solid fuels.
Legionnaires water check
Water checks should be completed to establish whether Legionnaires’ disease bacteria can develop in the water coming into the house. We advise that this is tested for by a professional. Examples of water systems that may grow these bacteria are the following:
- Hot tubs
- Heaters and hot water tanks
- Large plumbing systems installed
- Cooling towers
- Decorative fountains
Furniture safety requirements
Furniture and furnishing regulations must be met in rental properties if they are furnished or part-furnished. This covers fire safety throughout the home and means that items such as beds and sofas should have a fire safety label attached to them for when the tenants move in. If this label can’t be found, it is possible to call the manufacturer directly to ensure the item is fire resistant.
Making sure the property is safe throughout the tenancy
Tenants are free to move into the property once safety requirements are completed. The landlord, however, should not forget that maintenance will need to be carried out throughout at times during the tenancy. Examples of these include boilers breaking down or a washing machine not working, as well as plumbing and all must be repaired by the landlord.
Tenants have a right to contact their local council and request an inspection of the property if they believe the landlord isn’t carrying out their responsibilities. Therefore, it is best to cover all bases and ensure that repairs are completed and safety requirements are up to date. The requirements of the landlord include covering the following bases:
- No damp throughout the property
- The property must be structurally sound
- The property must be well insulated and ventilated
- Drainage must be sanitary and must include facilities for personal hygiene
- Water and electricity must be provided alongside cooking facilities
- Wastewater disposal should be present
On the other hand, if the landlord wants to gain access to the property, they can do so at any time but must give the tenants 24 hours notice.
Managing finances related to the property
Alongside safety and maintenance, there are other financial obligations to upkeep throughout the tenancy. These include:
A deposit that is taken for an assured shorthold tenancy must be protected under an authorised tenancy deposit scheme. Tenants must be made aware of the scheme in which the deposit is held for the duration of their tenancy. The Tenant Fees Act enforced from June 2019, landlords can charge a maximum of five week’s rent for the security deposit and no more.
This is optional. However, mortgage companies that may be supporting you will often make landlord insurance a mandatory requirement. It is also advised to protect yourself from having to pay out any large sums of money in the event of damage occurring to your property.
You cannot change the rent during a tenancy agreement, but once it goes into a rolling contract, you can negotiate with the tenants. It is important to note that this can only be altered in line with market conditions once every 12 months.
Depending on the landlord’s UK tax band, income tax will need to be paid on the rental property. National insurance contributions may also be an additional cost if earnings are above a certain level and letting a home is your only form of income.
There is a lot to take into consideration for landlords. But with our tips, you will have a clear indication of your responsibilities. Once everything is set up, you can start enjoying passive income from your rental property while providing your tenant with a great place to live.