Landlords: Are You Aware Of Your Obligations?

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The rental market continues to absorb more demand across the country, and new landlords are springing up everywhere, realising the value of a buy to let investment. Some, however, are unprepared for what the role entails. It isn’t as simple as handing someone the keys, stepping back, and watching the cash roll in…

Like any business, buy-to-let properties carry obligations with them. Such laws are designed to protect you (and your tenants) from any issues. So we’d like to clear the mist from your eyes, and show you what they are:

Electrical and gas safety

To keep the home warm and safe, you’ll need to get a Gas Safety Certificate for the boiler, vents and pipework. In terms of electrics, your appliances should have a CE industry badge, and you legally have to get a full house inspection every five years if more than one person lives there. It’s advisable to hire an electrician anyway, once a year, to check the switchboard is in good shape.

Checking the ‘right to rent’

You can face fines for granting rent to someone who doesn’t have permission to live in the country. Background checks must be done; UK nationals are fine, as are tenants who’ve received asylum or the ‘right to abode’ (e.g. a foreign spouse). Time-limited rent rights are permissible as long as you conduct further checks. But don’t worry, a service like ours will take care of this for you.

Functioning fire alarms

There should be a smoke detector on every floor of the house or flat, including hallways and stairwells. Alongside them, a fire extinguisher is mandatory for HMOs (Homes with Multiple Occupants). It’s also important to ensure that entrances/exits aren’t blocked, so people can escape if a fire breaks out. Finally, every piece of furniture – except mattresses and bed bases – must be fire-safe: you can find the label on any reputable product.

A legionella assessment

Ever heard of Legionnaire’s Disease? It’s similar to pneumonia, caused by a water system that’s hit a 20C-45C range, which encourages bacteria to spread and multiply. People can ingest these organisms in their drinking water, or inhale them through re-circulated moisture droplets. Hire an accredited body for a legionella assessment to ensure you don’t have any stagnant water in your system.

Deposit protection

Lastly, it’s vital to register your tenant’s deposit with a recognised scheme. Should a dispute occur, there has to be a third party involved, refereeing what damage claims are applicable. Full details of the DPS should be sent to the tenant – both in written and email form – as soon as they pay you the holding sum. Again, we can take this burden off your shoulders.

There’s a lot to think about when renting out a property, but with a property management service like Summermere, you can ensure you’re staying compliant. Our lettings agents, property managers and associated contractors are always just a phone call away. See our FAQs for more information, and call us on 0161 798 6633 for a chat about your portfolio.