As a landlord renting your property out to tenants on the property market, you have a number of obligations and responsibilities. These are written into law and certainly aren’t optional. If you want to make sure that you don’t land yourself in hot water, it’s important to understand these obligations.
To help make things as clear as possible to you, we’re going to cover what you need to know about these vital obligations and responsibilities. So read on now to find out more.
Meeting Safety Standards
The first duty a landlord has to their tenant is to provide a home that’s safe and meets all the legal safety standards. Each floor of the property must have a smoke alarm fitted and any rooms with coal fire or wood burning stoves must also have a carbon monoxide detector in place.
Gas appliances must come with a valid gas safety certificate, relevant fire safety standards must be met and all electrical devices must be safe to use, which means PAT testing them. Relevant local authorities have the right to assess your property for potential hazards and any safety breaches that might be present.
When you’re a landlord, you need to purchase an EPC for the property, and this is something that needs to be done before you find a tenant to fill it. An EPC is an energy performance certificate. The certificate will give your property a rating, and the minimum rating you need to have before letting it out is an E.
As of 2018, it became a breach of the legislation to rent out a property that has a lower energy rating than that. And there are fines in place for people who break this rule, which can rise as high as £4,000.
Right to Rent
Landlords now have a duty and responsibility to ensure the people they’re providing accommodation to and renting out their properties to have a right to rent. That means, in most cases, checking to see that the tenant has the right to legally reside in the UK.
If a landlord rents out a property to someone who the government classes as an illegal immigrant who doesn’t have the right to reside here, there are penalties that they can receive. The maximum is 5 years prison time. So it’s worth making sure you don’t overlook this when finding tenants for your properties.
Protecting the Tenant’s Deposit
As the landlord, you’ll be paid a deposit by the tenant for potential damage caused by the tenant during their stay in your property. But when you receive the deposit, you’re obligated to protect the tenancy deposit with a deposit protection scheme that’s been approved by the UK government.
It can be more difficult for you to bring the tenancy to an end and you can face fines if you fail to protect the deposit in a way that’s considered adequate. Unless there’s a dispute over damage to the property or any rent that hasn’t been paid, the deposit must be returned to the tenant in full at the end of the tenancy.
When there’s a problem with the property and its structure, it’s the responsibility of the landlord to fix these issues and ensure repairs are carried out in a timely manner. So, any problems with the walls, roof or any other aspect of the structure have to be taken care of by the landlord of the property.
Cracked windows, boiler problems, leaks, chimney problems, wall issues and drain and guttering problems are also all the responsibility of the landlord. If you choose a managed service delivered by a property management company, maintenance can be taken care of for you.
Accessing the Property
As a landlord, it’s important to be very careful when it comes to accessing a tenanted property. Even if you’re arriving to carry out repairs or inspections, you can’t simply arrive at random or time of your choosing if it interferes with your tenant’s right to privacy.
You need to provide your tenant with a reasonable amount of notice and arrange a time to visit when it’s suitable for them for you to arrive. This is something that should ideally be written into your tenancy agreement so you can be sure that everyone is on the same page.
All of these things should be taken seriously by landlords, as they’re considered essential parts of operating as an ethical landlord. These are also legal obligations and responsibilities, and the last thing you want is to go through expensive court proceedings as a result of unnecessary mistakes.
Generally, if you have a number of properties, it’s always best to hire a property management company to keep on top of all of your legal requirements and maintenance. Based in Milton Keynes, LevelUP property management can handle each of the elements above. Read more about our property management in Milton Keynes here.