Many of our clients rent out properties to provide a steady income while maintaining an appreciating asset – it’s an excellent way to cover the basic costs of maintaining your property while keeping it to sell at a later date. However, rentals come with a number of responsibilities for both the safety and general wellbeing of your tenants. It’s imperative that landlords take their duty of care seriously. Below are the basic requirements, but many of our clients choose to go above and beyond these to provide safe, secure, and comfortable housing for tenants (and therefore avoid a high turnover or vacant properties).
Obligations are broken in to 4 basic categories:
- Safety: landlords must ensure that their properties are gas, electric, and fire safe.
- Paperwork: landlords must maintain proper records and manage deposits appropriately.
- Administration: tax and licensing obligations must all be fulfilled.
- Conditions and repairs: properties must be in a good state of repair.
There are a number of tests and certificates you must regularly update and maintain when renting your property. These include:
- Annual gas safety checks, performed by a registered gas fitter/engineer.
- Carrying out risk assessments that comply with the Fire Safety Order.
- Ensuring that all electrical fittings are safe and devices have a CE mark.
- Electrical tests must be carried out every 5 years for houses of multiple occupation.
- Ensuring that the property has proper fire escape routes, fire-safe furniture and fittings, and working fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – some landlords equip properties with fire extinguishers, but it’s important to have a variety of extinguishers on hand to avoid tenants using water on oil or electrical fires.
Paperwork and Admin
It’s essential that deposits are protected by one of three tenancy deposit schemes, and that the details of your chosen scheme are provided for the tenant within 30 days of receipt.
Apart from maintaining appropriate insurance, administrative obligations depend on your property and the agreed let. You will need to gain licenses if your house is offered on a multiple-occupation basis, and tenancy landlords will need to provide an up to date copy of ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ when appropriate as well.
Maintaining Your Property
Rental properties must always be structurally sound and free from major disrepair, free from damp that could harm occupants’ health, and have proper lighting, heating, and ventilation. They must also have a water supply, drainage, and a suitable bathroom including a toilet, bath or shower, and wash basin. However, these are the minimum legal requirements – you will typically need to offer more than this in order to gain and retain quality tenants.
If you need to view the property or assess damage at any point, you must give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice.
We work very closely with a number of quality letting agents and would be delighted to introduce you to Rachel Circus of Belvoir Lettings who covers the wider Enfield area and Balinder Kaur of Victoria Knight who covers the Chingford and Walthamstow areas.
Categorised in: News
This post was written by Dennis Adam