Being a landlord requires you to legally comply with certain regulations and you should be aware that it may be necessary to invest some time and money in ensuring your property is ‘fit for purpose’. A landlord should also remember that he may be liable for any incidents/accidents relating to gas/electrical faults where he cannot prove that he took precautionary measures. The landlord is responsible for the safety of all items provided in the property.
The landlord should be certain that the mortgage company is aware that the property is to be let. Where a flat/apartment is to be tenanted there may also be some permissions/clauses in the lease that the landlord should be aware of. For example, they may stipulate ‘no pets’ or may require you to notify the management company that a flat is to be tenanted.
It is of course necessary to have buildings insurance, and in most cases where letting a flat/apartment this will be included in the block management fees. It is advisable to have contents insurance where a property is to be let furnished. Prime Surrey Lets can advise on this.
These have been necessary since October 2008. An energy assessor visits the property to assess energy efficiency and will make recommendations, as well as providing key information on the likely energy consumption of the property. From April 2012 an EPC must be obtained with 7 days of marketing the property and the full report made available to prospective tenants. I am often asked by tenants about the likely bills for the property and this information is made available on an EPC. The government are keen to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their property and this EPC will highlight what measures they can take.
Since April 2007 any deposit taken with regard to the letting of property must be legally protected. Prime Surrey Lets uses the Deposit Protection Service. There is no charge to landlord or tenant and under this government authorised scheme the deposit monies are paid to the Deposit Protection Service for safekeeping. All deposits are promptly registered, within one week of tenancy commencing.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1984 (amended 1996) all gas appliances must be inspected by a GAS SAFE (previously CORGI) registered engineer every 12 months and a Gas Safety Certificate issued. A copy should be made available to the tenant and kept on the premises, the landlord also keeps a copy for his own records. (Each gas hob, gas fire, boiler etc. has to be individually checked).
A Gas Safety Certificate is not the same as a service for your boiler and Prime Surrey Lets recommend that a service and inspection take place together, annually. It is recommended that a carbon monoxide alarm should also be present in the property.
Unlike the requirement for the annual inspection of gas there is no such obligation with regard to electrical safety in a property. However, by law, landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition. If a landlord is found to be negligent over electrical safety it can lead to prosecution. The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has produced a simple guide for landlords www.esc.org.uk/landlords. The ESC calls on landlords to ensure their property has adequate RCD protection, Residual Current Device. This is a life saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces risk of electrical fire. Prime Surrey Lets highly recommends the installation of a RCD Fuseboard.
As a landlord you should be aware that it is your responsibility in accordance with Section 11 to 16 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to
It is also generally accepted that as a landlord you are liable for any repairs to domestic appliances unless you feel blatant misuse has occurred.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations 1988 provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, including beds, headboards, mattresses, sofas, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows etc. Generally speaking there should be a permanent label attached confirming the filling adheres to the 1988 regulation. This regulation does not apply to antique furniture!
Clearly the property must be secure with appropriate door and/or window locks.
Patio doors, balconys, glazing etc. must all be safe and secure. Generally the property must be safe to live in.
A hard wired smoke alarm or battery type alarm must be fitted. There should be an alarm fitted on each floor of the property. A battery type alarm should be ‘tested’ prior to and on commencement of tenancy.
A property that is clean, uncluttered, with a neutral décor is going to have more appeal. Prime Surrey Lets are happy to give advice on how to present the property. This doesn’t mean spending lots of money. A fresh coat of paint, a professional clean will enhance a property. Keep it simple, keep it clean.
If you show that you care for your property you will increase your chances of letting and the likelihood of the tenants taking care of it.
Should a property should be furnished or unfurnished? My experience tells me that tenants are more likely to be young professionals who have few possessions and are only too pleased to have a furnished flat but Prime Surrey Lets are happy to advise on this.