You need to have a checklist for every task that you want to plan. This enables you to ensure that you don’t miss out on any crucial aspects. And when your planning goes by your checklist, you can tick off all the items mentioned in it. In a way, this ensures the success of your task as you are well prepared to handle any last-minute hassle and execute your job well.
Similarly, if you are a landlord in the UK, you should be aware of the numerous laws and regulations that keep changing. Whether you have inherited a property and become a landlord by accident rather than by choice, or may have bought a house to fund for your retirement – you need to abide by the laws and regulations.
In this article, we bring a checklist containing essential steps for the landlords to follow before renting out their property. This checklist will help the landlords to protect their property, reputation and tenants legally.
The landlord can advertise or market their property on Zoopla or Facebook Marketplace. The landlord should write a short yet proper description of their property and post with some good photographs. They should not discriminate against any protected characteristics, including gender, race, religion or belief, disability, pregnancy or maternity and sexual orientation.
TENANTS’ RIGHT TO RENT
It is the duty and responsibility of the landlord to verify whether their potential tenant has the legal right to live in the UK before letting their property. Although it’s a relatively easier process, landlords can still employ a third party, maybe an agent, for this task.
There are certain documents (UK passports, European Economic Area passports, permanent residency cards, and documents showing indefinite leave to remain) that can be demanded from the applicants to check their immigration status. Failure to undertake this verification can invite heavy fines from the government.
INSPECT & LIST THE INVENTORY
To avoid any disputes during the end of tenancy, it is recommended for the landlords to inspect and make a list of the inventory in house.
You can either record or take pictures of included things and damages if any. This inventory list should be checked and signed by both the parties (landlord and the tenant).
The inventory check should also be performed during the move-out of the tenant. On finding any damages caused by the tenant during their stay, the landlord can deduct the repair cost from the tenant’s deposit.
SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT
The foremost thing for a property to become eligible for renting is safety. It sounds simple, yet it is a broader term with many aspects, such as fire, gas and electricity.
Landlords should follow all fire safety regulation guidelines.
- Fire exits should be free from any obstruction, so they can provide a clear passage in case of need
- Fire alarms should be installed on all floors of a building, and each room meant for living
- CO (Carbon monoxide) detectors to be installed in a room with a solid fuel-burning appliance, like a coal fire
- All furnishing in the property should be fire-resistant
- Fire extinguishers should be available in HMO (house of multiple occupations) properties
Landlords should consult a registered Gas Safe engineer for ensuring the norms.
- All gas safety equipment should be properly installed and functional
- A record of gas safety check must be presented to the tenant before they shift in
- Annual gas safety check by an engineer for ensuring things are maintained well
Landlords should call upon a qualified electrician to inspect all electric things in the property every five years.
- All the sockets, buttons, electrical appliances, fittings, lights, etc. should be checked for proper functioning and safety
- Any faulty or outdated fitting, light or appliance should be changed
- Any repair/replacement work should be done within 28 days of inspection
- All electrical appliances in the property should be PAT tested every year
As per the law, the landlord must provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to its tenants on the first day of their tenure.
EPC shows how energy-efficient a property is. This should also be included in the advertisement for renting a property.
As of April 2020, all properties should have a valid energy performance certificate with an ‘E’ or above EPC rating.
TENANCY AGREEMENT & DEPOSIT
Before renting out a property, an essential document for a landlord is the tenancy agreement – a contract that allows the landlord to receive rent and the tenant to receive tenure.
You can either refer to the model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy from the website of the UK government or create the agreement through an attorney.
The tenancy agreement should also include the details of the security deposit given by the tenant. The security deposit is capped at five-week rent for an annual lease of up to £50,000 and six-week rent for leases above £50,000.
As per law, the landlord should keep the deposit in one of the government-approved tenancy deposit schemes, which should be mentioned in the tenancy agreement.
SHARE “HOW TO RENT GUIDE”
The landlord should share the How to Rent Guide (created by the UK government) with the tenants when they move into their property. Recently updated, this Guide has been designed for those looking for a flat or house to rent.
LANDLORD INSURANCE POLICY
Although it is not a legal requirement, still having a landlord insurance policy is always beneficial. Several mortgage providers also need landlord insurance before enabling you to let your property.
Landlord insurance helps in taking care of unforeseen maintenance complications in the house, which otherwise comes with hefty call-out fees.
Last but not least, the landlord should preferably ask fortenant references before approving to let out their property. This means that tenants without reference might also face problems finding a landlord willing to let their property out to them. This works for both parties. And so, landlords should ensure to get the references before the tenants move in.