Some people choose to become buy-to-let landlords, others have being a landlord thrust upon them. There are times when people inherit property, or get married and have a property from their previous single life, and the market is just not right for a sale, or they’re just not ready to let go of it. Renting out the property can be the best option.
What that means, however, is the ‘accidental’ landlord has to quickly get up to speed on all of the regulations governing the ever changing sector and learn the tips to ensure the value of their property is protected.
Here’s our at-a-glance guide for those renting out a property for the first time:
1. Get the property valued.
Without a proper valuation, landlords won’t know a property’s worth when it comes to letting or insurance. We can provide a complimentary best price guide.
2. Make an inventory.
List all the furniture, fixtures, and fittings, and make a note of the condition of everything. New landlords should take pictures for their records. Without an inventory, it will be almost impossible to win any claims on deposit. We can help with providing a 3rd party unbiased inventory.
3. Get a gas safety record in place.
Ensure all gas appliances, pipes, and flues are safe and in working order. This includes any appliances your tenants bring to the property. New landlords will need a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer to do this every 12 months.
4. Furniture and furnishings
Furnishings provided must comply with legislation and display compliance labels in a prominent position to reduce the risks in fires.
5. Electrical safety
Get a survey done (Periodic Safety Inspection) of the electrics and electrical appliances. PAT testing appliances is recommended.
6. Smoke Alarms
At least one smoke alarm per floor must be installed to comply with legislation, and a carbon monoxide alarm must be present in any room where there us a solid fuel fire, wood burner, or open fireplace. These must be tested correctly on the starting day of any new tenancy by the landlord, then it is up to the tenant to regularly check the alarms. Once a month is recommended. If they do not work, the tenant should be told to report this as a maintenance issue.
7. Landlords building insurance
Landlords should ensure they have adequate buildings insurance, covering the reinstatement value of the property – the cost of clearing the site and rebuilding it in the event of a disaster.
8. Energy Performance Certificates
Landlords must arrange an energy performance certificate for their property before letting it, or they risk a fine. They must also ensure a property’s water supply is working properly to protect tenants from legionella.
9. Tenancy deposits
Landlords are required to register a tenant’s deposit with an approved Tenant Deposit Scheme, protecting their money until the end of their tenancy.
If landlords are not renting to a family group, they will have to comply with rules regarding houses in multiple occupation.
11. Rental income tax
Landlords will be liable to income tax on any earnings from the property.
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