There are many things to think about when letting your property…
The Landlord must ensure that the property is safe to be rented out which involves:-
Installation of working smoke alarms on every floor where there is living space;
• Installation of carbon monoxide detectors in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance;
• A valid gas safety certificate for all gas appliances at the start of the tenancy which must be renewed every 12 months and a copy passed to the tenant within 7 days;
• Comply with health and safety obligations including the preparation of a Legionella Risk Assessment in relation to the risk of Legionnaires Disease at the property
Arrange an EPC
Landlords are required to produce to their tenants a valid Energy Performance Certificate on the day they move into the property. An EPC, as they are more commonly known, compares the current energy efficiency of the property with potential figures the property could achieve with improvements.
From April 2018 landlords will have to ensure that the property has a minimum standard of an E rated building in order to be let and this should be considered when purchasing a property to let.
An EPC is valid for 10 years, unless improvement works have been undertaken, that amends their energy efficient rating.
Check your Tenant’s right to rent
From 1st February 2016 you must check that all tenants and/or lodgers aged 18 and over can legally rent property in England. This includes:-
- People residing at the property who are not named on the tenancy;
- Where there is no tenancy agreement;
- The agreement is not in writing.
You can check the status of those living at the property by checking and taking copies of the tenants’ identification. This can include:-
- UK passports;
- European Economic Area passport or identity cards;
- Permanent Residence Cards;
- Travel documents showing indefinite leave to remain;
- Home Office immigration status documents;
- Certificate of Registration or naturalisation as a British Citizen;
You are required to carry out checks on all tenants regardless of whether you believe them to be a British Citizen and failure to do so could lead to fines up to £3,000 per tenant.
Arrange a Tenancy Agreement
When a tenant agrees to let your property you must provide them with a tenancy agreement, the most common of which is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”). This will contain terms of the letting to include the name of the parties, the address of the property, duration of the tenancy and the rent payable. The AST will also include details the required notice period should the tenancy be terminated. The initial rental period will usually be 6 months and the Landlord cannot give notice terminating the Tenancy earlier than the end of the 6 month period.
You must also provide the Tenant with a copy of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ booklet as failure to do so will mean that you cannot serve a s.21 Notice to them later in the tenancy asking them to vacate the property.
Protecting the Tenant’s deposit
As a Landlord you must pay the deposit that your Tenant pays to you in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of receiving the same. This only applies to properties that are rented on an AST that started after 6 April 2007. The three Schemes that are currently government approved are
- Deposit Protection Service;
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
As part of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme you must provide the tenant with the Prescribed Information required under the Scheme. This must be done within 30 days of the deposit being protected and also must be served on any guarantor or anyone else who has contributed to or paid the deposit.
Other points to consider
As well as your legal requirements there are other points that you may wish to consider when letting your property such as:-
- Landlord’s insurance. Potential landlords need to make sure their buildings and contents insurer knows they are letting out the property and that the cover will remain valid.
- Whether you use an agent to market and manage the letting;
- Landlord’s Mortgage. If you have purchased the house with the help of a regular mortgage (as opposed to a buy-to-let mortgage) the landlord must make sure the mortgage terms allow the property to be rented out.
- Referencing your tenants;
- Income Tax; The first £1,000 of rental income is tax free, anything above must be declared to the HMRC.
- Conducting an inventory.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Valid gas safety and copy passed to tenant
Legionella Risk Assessment
Energy Performance Certificate
Rating of minimum standard
Copy passed to tenant
Improvement works carried out? Revised EPC obtained
Tenants right to rent
Identification checks carried out on tenants/occupiers
Paid into Government approved scheme
Arrange tenancy agreement
Appoint managing agent (if required)
Obtain references for your proposed tenant
Prepare an inventory