Whether you are a new landlord just about to put up your first buy-to-let notice or an experienced landlord, you must be clear on some of your legal requirements, so you’re certain yourself, your investment and your tenants are adequately protected.
There are so many rules to adhere to as a landlord that you could become easily overwhelmed initially. But don’t worry, we’ve helped you simplify the major points. With this and a little more research of your own and you shouldn’t have a problem meeting your obligations and making sure you’re on the right side of the law.
Ensure the Property Is Safe to Live In
You have a fundamental obligation to your tenants, their families and guests to ensure your property is safe to live in. This means all electrical fittings and gas equipment are safely installed, regularly checked and maintained. You should ensure there are no health or fire hazards in and around the property and that there is a smoke alarm on every floor of the property, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms that have fireplaces or usable wood burners. Additionally, home furnishings in the property must be fire-proof, and there must always be a clearly labelled exit point in the event of a fire.
As a property owner, the law also requires you to have an Energy Performance Certificate for the unit you are renting out. Your tenants’ deposit must also be kept safe in a government-approved scheme.
Maintain the Property
When you become a landlord, you must repair or fix any part of the property. It’s important you also understand if an emergency occurs, that makes the tenants in the property unsafe and insecure while they are still residing in there, you must fix the problem quickly and pay for any repairs. Such risks could include; damaged doors or windows, faulty plumbing works or cooking equipment and similar property hazards. You are legally required to act accordingly as the landlord.
As a general rule, you must maintain the property and keep it clean, safe and habitable; while keeping to all building codes. Therefore, it’s wise to take out a landlord insurance policy that provides good value and covers you for any situations where a claim might arise, from properly maintaining the property to rent cover and possible legal fees.
Disclose the Name and Addresses of The Landlord, Caretaker and Agent
As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to make the tenants aware of some key information about the property owner and everyone connected with its management. This includes names and official addresses of the property owner, agent and lawyer.
This responsibility falls on whoever signs the lease agreement with the tenant, whether it’s the agent, the lawyer, the landlord or any other individuals acting as a legal representative. Anyone who has the power or authority to manage the property, maintain it, collect rent, address complaints or issue notices must have his/her name and address disclosed to the tenant.
Deliver Possession of The Rented Property
Another legal requirement of becoming a landlord is to ensure possession of the rented apartment is delivered to the tenant. This means the unit must be vacant by the agreed and signed move-in date in the lease for the tenant to take possession. If the unit is still occupied by another person or unavailable for some reason, the tenant may be able to take the landlord to court for failure to honour the lease agreement.
In the same vein, the landlord may take legal action against a squatter or another individual who lives in the unit but does not have the legal right to reside in the apartment. The landlord could be awarded damages if this is the case.