Why there is more to being a landlord than simply getting tenants!

There are a lot of things a landlord has to think about when getting a property ready to be let out – unfortunately, it’s not as simple as getting some tenants in. You have obligations to fulfil and expectations to meet!.

Some of these may be cosmetic in nature, like repainting the property or giving it a good clean out, or the may involve having appropriate landlord insurance in place to help protect your investment.

There are other aspects of any letting that may be legal requirements for landlords, so making sure these are on a list of things to do may typically be a good idea.

Fire safety regulations

There are fire safety regulations in place for furniture and upholstered furnishings including items such as including beds, mattresses, sofas, cushions etc and checking everything over for labels declaring conformity to the standards may typically make sense.

Any furniture made before 1988 may not meet these regulatory standards and your simplest option may be to replace them.

Safety of gas and electric appliances

You may find that you have a legal obligation to have gas appliances checked and serviced annually plus prior to any new let.

You also have to provide your tenants with a copy of a safety certificate for the gas appliances as well as instructions on how to use them.

All electric wiring should also be checked on a regular basis and if you are leaving electrical appliances for your tenants to use these should be checked and serviced.

Tenancy agreement

When you let a property to tenants, you are entering into a legal agreement, which confers certain rights to your tenants as well as their roles and responsibilities – and importantly yours.

To protect everyone’s interests you should insist on the use of a formal letting agreement, which clearly sets out who is responsible for what and under what circumstances. This could save you heartache and problems further down the line.

This agreement should include:

  • how and when the rent is to be paid;
  • how long the period of the let is;
  • the notice period that you or your tenant is require to give to terminate the let early;
  • your responsibilities for maintenance of the property;
  • other charges that may be levied in addition to the rent like service charges, council tax etc.

Deposit

In all likelihood, you might ask your tenants for a deposit prior to them moving in to your property. This would cover the costs of any damage they may cause to the property or cover your rental income losses if they left without giving due notice.

At the end of the rental period, you have to repay the deposit to your tenants (minus any sums retained for valid reasons) and there are a couple of options open to you to ensure that you have this money available if and when it is needed:

  • a custodial scheme, where the deposit is held by an authorised third party;
  • an insurance scheme, where the landlord may be able to retain the deposit and pay an insurance premium.