You have a range of responsibilities and obligations as a landlord which includes:
Quiet enjoyment and access
The landlord must allow the tenant to quietly hold and enjoy the property during the tenancy without any unlawful interruption by the landlord or any person acting on behalf of the landlord.
The landlord or those acting on behalf of the landlord are required to give the tenant no less than 24 hours written notice to enter the property or as agreed in the tenancy agreement, except in an emergency.
Private rented property licence
Depending on what part of the country you own rental property, you may already have a private landlord licence or could be facing the introduction of one at some point in the future. The general consensus is that the councils aim is to use private rented property licence to ensure that all properties are well managed.
Repairs and maintenance
The landlord and tenant act 1985 (as amended by the Housing Act 1988), imposes obligations on the landlord to repair and keep in good order:
- The structure of the property and exterior (including drains, gutters and pipes)
- Certain installations for the supply of water, electricity and gas
- Sanitary appliances including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences
- Space heating and water heating
You must also keep in repair and proper working order all mechanical and electrical items belonging to you the landlord and forming part of the Fixtures and Fittings, unless the lack of repair is due to tenants and their associates negligence and misuse.
Furniture and furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 were introduced to protect furnished goods against fire. These were amended by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendments) Regulations 1993. The Regulations state that soft furnishings made or upholstered after 1 March 1989 must meet standards and be labelled as such.
In the course of our work with suppliers and staging companies, we can refurbish and refurnish your property – either for sales marketing, presentation and rental. Please ask us for a quote.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 states you should provide instruction books for all electrical equipment and ensure that all electrical appliances within the property comply with regulations. Also ensure all electrical equipment and appliances supplied must be safe.
Gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1998
As a landlord you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deals with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.
If letting a property equipped with gas appliances the 3 main responsibilities are:
- Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in safe condition.
- Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue.
- Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. You must keep records for 2 years.
All installation, maintenance and safety checks works need to be by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
If you would like us to make arrangements for this our standard administration fees may apply.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by parliament and have come into force since 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are now required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Energy performance certificate (EPC)
An EPC is intended to provide prospective tenants with correct information about the energy performance of the property and practical advice on improving such performance.
An EPC provides an energy efficiency rating (related to running costs) for a property based on the performance potential of the property itself (the fabric) and its services (such as heating, insulation ventilation and fuels used). Not all properties are used in the same way, so the energy rating uses ‘standard occupancy’ assumptions which may be different from the way the property is used.
We can arrange an EPC subject to our standard administration fee as well as the cost of the EPC produced by an independent contractor.
You must place your tenants’ deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if you rent out your property on an assured shorthold tenancy.
Landlords will often need to obtain certain consents from various parties before letting property. Most landlords have mortgages on the properties they rent out. A mortgage agreement will consists of various terms and conditions. Most mortgages allow the property to be let but there is usually a stipulation that permission must be sought and granted before letting takes place.
Freeholder and head leaseholder
Most flats are sold under a long lease (the head lease), which places obligations on both the freeholder and leaseholder. These obligations would include the requirement that the leaseholder pays a ground rent to the freeholder and contributes towards the buildings upkeep and insurance. Many freeholders appoint managing agents to run the building on their behalf.
Again the tenants must be made aware that conditions are placed on them as a sub-lessee under the head lease or where the freehold contains covenants. It would be very hard, if not impossible, to force a tenant to fulfil their obligations if they had not been made aware of them before the start of the tenancy.
It is essential that the property and the contents included in the inventory and schedule of condition are adequately insured and that your insurers are aware that the property is let. Failure to do so may invalidate your insurance policy.
It is imperative to have both building and contents insurance, if only because of the public liability to protect against any personal injury claims by tenant, their guest or any contractors in the course of call out to the property.
There are specialist insurance companies that deal specifically with landlord and tenants insurance. However, some insurance providers will not cover tenanted properties.
The Walker Review was a government commissioned independent review of charging for household water and sewerage services. One of the possibilities from this review is that landlords become responsible for water charges if the tenant defaults, and the water company is not aware of who is occupying the property.
To comply with the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the payment of the final water account is the liability of the landlord if no forwarding address is provided for the tenant, or the address given is not deemed acceptable by the water company.
Gas, electricity, landline phones, broadband, TV satellite and council tax must be transferred to the tenants, you should also give meter readings at the point of the tenant’ changeover.
We will carry this out for you across all our service. In order to ensure that the details are given to the utility companies if the tenants fail to do so.
Inventory and schedule of condition
An inventory will give a fair and independent assessment of liability for deterioration and allow for the release of the deposit and the apportionment of liability for this deterioration. Without an accurate assessment of the property and the contents at the beginning of a tenancy, it would be impossible to arbitrate between a landlord and tenant on such issues.
A professional inventory clerk must be used to carry out an inventory and schedule of condition, so there is a legally binding and impartial snapshot of the property’s condition at the start of the tenancy.
We can arrange inventory, check in and check out at our standard admin rate plus the clerk’s cost which vary according to property size.
Tax and records
It is your responsibility to keep any invoices relating to your rental, to complete tax returns and tax on income arising from letting the property and you must inform HMRC that you are letting the property. There are a number of allowances that you can claim against this income. You should seek advice on these allowances from your accountant or from the HMRC website at: http://www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property/paying-tax.
If you live or work out of the country for more than six months in a tax year you are deemed to be an overseas landlord and you must obtain a tax approval number from HMRC. Until approval number is granted we will be legally obliged to deduct tax from your rental income at the prevailing rate. This money is forwarded to HMRC on a quarterly basis.
Find out more about your responsibilities as a landlord in the link below or get in touch, we’re only too glad to help make necessary arrangements.