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Being a good and legally compliant landlord

Date Published 20 September 2017

As a landlord, you are in a position of trust and responsibility. You have certain legal duties to meet and certain things you must not do. You must not harass your tenants, you must make sure the heating works and the property meets all the statutory requirements.

Here we go through the main responsibilities placed upon landlords.

RIGHT TO RENT CHECKS

When selecting a tenant you are legally bound to check that the tenant and their family are legally entitled to be in the U.K. This can be a simple visa or passport check. If unsure it would be worth giving HMRC a call for your own piece of mind. You are welcome to give us a call instead and we can advise you too.

GAS SAFETY CERTIFICATES

It is a legal requirement to have any gas appliance checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

This includes gas fires and boilers. The cost is around £50-£60. There are very strong penalties if this is not carried out including prison in the worst cases. It is important that this is carried out before the tenancy starts.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES

A legal requirement since October 2008. This short survey of the property takes into account heat loss and energy used and includes measuring the loft insulation, working out how many low energy bulbs are being used and the type of boiler fitted. A rating is given. All tenants must be given a copy of the EPC upon signing the tenancy if not before.

SMOKE DETECTORS

All private landlords in England must make sure that a smoke detector is fitted and working for each floor of the property. If the property is a first floor maisonette, there must still be a working smoke detector on the ground floor. The detectors must be tested on the first day of the tenancy in front of the tenants.

ELECTRICS

There is no legal requirement to have the electric supply tested although it is good practice. The law states that they must be deemed safe. We would recommend for peace of mind, have the supply tested by a NICEIC competent registered engineer. Any portable appliance must be fitted with a safety plug that is in working order and the cord must not be frayed or damaged in any way.

FIRE REGULATIONS

We would always recommend offering your property as unfurnished, however, some landlords like to offer their properties furnished as there is a small tax advantage and it saves having to empty the accommodation although you would be responsible if any item was damaged or stopped working.
Any furniture left in the property must comply with The Fire and Furnishing (Fire Safety) Regulations 1993 (as amended) and must display the green triangle label to indicate the item is fire resistant.

DEPOSIT

By law any deposit that is held on behalf of a tenant must be held in one of the Government Schemes or insured against. We use one called the Deposit Protection Scheme which is free to use. If it is found that the deposit has not been placed in a scheme there could be financial penalties and it could be difficult to get the tenant out if the need arises.