Being a successful landlord takes time, hard work and a thorough understanding of your responsibilities. It can be a headache trying to figure out what needs to be ticked off so that you can ensure your tenancies run smoothly.
Here at Eastern Landlord Association, we try to remove some of the stress by providing you with a Landlords’ Checklist. This enables you to keep track of your responsibilities as a landlord and ensure you are complying with legal requirements.
The Landlords’ Checklist can also help to provide the best possible rental experience for both you and your tenants.
It will contain a number of detailed sections, including:
1. Make sure you have permission to rent out the property
If you have a residential mortgage on the property, you will need permission from the lender to rent it out. If this is a temporary rental, they may give this permission. However, if the let is planned to be long-term, you will need to switch to a buy to let mortgage.
2. Find out about licensing
If your property is an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation), as a legal obligation you will require a license from your local council.
3. Arrange an EPC Inspection
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) measures how energy efficient a property is and gives your property a rating between A and G. Every rental property must have an EPC in place and a new certificate is required every 10 years.
4. Electrical Safety
You will need an electrical inspection of your property every 5 years. This inspection provides you with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Any remedial work noted in the report must be rectified within 28 days and written confirmation obtained from a qualified electrician. Electrical appliances must also be PAT tested every year.
5. Gas Safety
A Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out an inspection of your property every year, and any defects that are noted must be rectified. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate must be supplied to your tenants.
6. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Landlords are legally required to provide fire detection equipment. There must be at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the property and any room with a solid fuel burning appliance will need a carbon monoxide detector. This includes gas or wood fires and oil or gas boilers.
7. Fire Safety and Furniture
Any upholstered furniture supplied must be fire resistant, in accordance with the furniture and furnishings regulations act (1988). Not following fire safety regulations can result in a fine or even prison term.
8. Check your Insurance
Standard home insurance policies do not cover renting out your property. Your mortgage provider will require landlord buildings insurance and you should also take out contents insurance to cover any items that you supply to the tenant. Even if you are letting the property unfurnished, you will still need a small amount of insurance cover for white goods, carpets and curtains etc.
You may also wish to consider rent guarantee insurance and home emergency cover. We can provide further advice on these as required.
9. Preparing and Marketing the property
There are a number of things to do that will help to present your property in the best way to appeal to tenants. We can provide further advice on the best things to do, without spending significant amounts of money.
10. Right to Rent checks
It is your responsibility to check that your tenants are over the age of 18 and are legally allowed to rent in England. You may also need to carry out follow up checks, depending on the tenant’s status. If you use a letting agent, they will carry out these checks on your behalf.
11. Tenant Reference Checks
Knowing that your tenants will pay on time, look after your property and be good neighbours will give you peace of mind. Landlords and letting agents find out this information through tenant referencing. The referencing process includes asking for proof of income, carrying out credit checks and securing references from previous landlords or an employer. If your tenant fails these checks, but you still feel they are right for your property, you can ask them to provide a guarantor.
12. Put a Tenancy Agreement in place
It is important to have a proper tenancy agreement in place that both you and your tenant sign. We can provide you with a template AST and pre-fill with landlord and tenant details etc for an extra charge.
13. Protect Tenant’s Deposits
Not all landlords take a security deposit at the beginning of a tenancy, but it is sensible to do so, to cover you if your tenants cause any damage to your property. If you do so, you must put your tenants’ deposit into a government approved tenancy deposit (TDP scheme) such as:
- The Deposit Protection Service
- The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
Security deposits are capped at 5 weeks rent (if the annual rent is less than £50k) or 6 weeks rent (when the annual rent is more than £50k).
14. Compile an Inventory
At the beginning of a tenancy, you should compile a detailed inventory of everything within your property and the state that it is in. Your tenants should sign this to demonstrate that they agree. If any damage occurs, an inventory allows to you justify any deductions from the security deposit.
15. Provide a copy of ‘How to Rent’ Guide
The How to Rent Guide from the UK Government helps both tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities. Landlords must supply a copy of this guide to tenants. Failure to do so could mean that you are unable to take legal action against your tenant if they break their tenancy agreement.
16. Understand Tax Rules
You will be required to pay income tax on any profit that you make from your rental property. Profit is your rental income, less any allowable expenses, including utility and council tax bills, insurance, letting agent or accountant fees, maintenance costs or costs relating to finding new tenants. Interest payments on mortgages are no longer an allowable expense.
If you would like more information on our Landlord Checklist or have any questions regarding your responsibilities as a landlord, our experienced staff can be contacted Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm via phone or email.
The Eastern Landlords Association (ELA)
The ELA represents the general views of the Associations membership, Local Authorities, national authorities, Parliament and any other body which has jurisdiction over or an interest in the letting of private properties.
We consider all matters which affect private landlords in general and seek to promote such actions that will benefit the members and safeguard their interests, consistent with the maintaining of professional standards of conduct.
Landlord Association Membership
Our landlord association membership is set up to represent landlords in their dealings with tenants, whilst also offering them support, advice and benefits.
We represent our members’ views to Local and National Authorities, Parliament and any other body with jurisdiction over the letting of private properties.
- Eastern Landlord Association membership includes the following benefits:
- Free help and advice line with our dedicated team.
- Full access to our website for information, forms, template letters for landlords.
- 1 x Free set of ASTs in your joining pack (Further ASTs are £2 a pair, including other paperwork).
- Free Tenant find service, contact us for full details.
- Regular email updates including latest industry-related news, landlord events, landlord courses and meetings including guest speakers, all held across the region.
- Access to our Free 15 min legal surgeries.
- Discounts available with our associated solicitors, accountants, and other landlord related services.
- Members have access to our tenant credit checks, (£20 per applicant) or credit checks with references, (£30 per applicant), £35 per applicant if a guarantor is required.
If you’d like more information on membership, contact us today.