Are you thinking of buying your first rental property? We would always advise having your property fully managed to let us do the hard work for you, but whether you are using a managed or let only service, you will need to be aware of the following laws and regulations;
Deposits must always be placed and held in a tenancy deposit scheme; When a deposit is taken from the tenant, it must be placed into one of the three government backed tenancy deposit schemes within 30 days and held for the length of the tenancy. The three deposit schemes available are DPS (Deposit Protection Service), TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and the LDPS (Landlord Deposit Protection Scheme). If the deposit is not placed in one of these schemes and instead in a normal bank account, it is a criminal offence and could make you liable for a fine of up to three times the deposit amount. It will also mean if you wish to serve notice to your tenants, the section 21 notice will be invalid.
The property must always have a smoke alarm; In compliance with The Deregulation Act 2015, all rented properties must have working smoke alarms fitted. Once fitted, tenants should be advised to test the alarms three times each month. You will also need a carbon monoxide alarm if there is a fuel based appliance in the property.
The property must have a valid gas safety certificate; Once every 12 months, a qualified gas engineer will visit the property to carry out checks on the boiler and any gas appliances such as fires and cookers. Once satisfied with the checks he will issue the certificate which is then valid for the 12 month period.
Check in's and check out's; When a tenant is moving in to a property or out of a property, a check in / check out is essential. They should both include a full inventory, a condition report, a full set of clear dated photographs and meter readings. If during the tenancy, there is any disagreement regarding what the tenant is liable for, this evidence is the only way you can prove your case.
The tenants right to rent should always be proven; You or your letting agent must check the tenants have the 'right to rent'. All prospective tenants will need to provide either a passport, birth certificate or resident's permit to prove they have the right to reside and therefore rent in the U.K.
The condition of the property should always be maintained; You have a legal duty to ensure the property is kept in full repair and working order, unless the damage has been caused by the tenant. If the tenant is not liable for the damage, they can report poor housing conditions to the local authority who will investigate and advise repairs must be carried out in a reasonable time frame to avoid further action.
Tenants should maintain the condition of the property; Tenants should look after and maintain the standards of the property and carry out small up-keeping jobs as and when required. You are not required to repair or maintain any damage caused by the negligence or misuse from the tenant.