In the context of building a property portfolio, regardless of the size you intend to grow it to, it can be a real help to employ the services of a competent letting agent to manage and run your properties. It is a huge relief knowing that the details are looked after and any changes in the law are adhered to.
The convenience factor of this set up means that you don't need to be too involved with the letting and management and so, if you choose to, this gives you time to find more properties, or pursue any other form of work or leisure activities.
That being said, there are certain factors for which you, as a landlord, are ultimately responsible. As with any business, it boils down to you, the owner, to keep an eye on what is going on. This is why it can be useful to have your own system in place to record renewal dates and keep a check on what your agent is doing.
It is actually a legal requirement that you, the owner of the property and landlord, have covered particular angles. For example, below is a list of what you need to have in place to avoid the possibility of prosecution, fines, or in the worst instances, imprisonment:
Your Legal Obligations
The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 require that all landlords keep in good maintenance and condition all gas appliances, flues and pipes. You as the landlord are responsible for making sure this happens.
Landlords must comply both with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994. Any records relating to electrical safety need to be filed for safe keeping.
Furniture and Furnishings
If you decide to provide furniture in your property/ies, particularly items such as sofas, beds, pillows or cushions, then you will have a legal duty to ensure these items are fire resistant.
Repair and Maintenance
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord is legally responsible to keep the property in good repair.
Energy Performance Certification
Landlords are obliged to provide tenants with a proof of Energy Performance Certificate.
Legionella Risk Assessment
Landlords are now obliged to perform a Legionella Risk Assessment on each of their properties at recommended intervals of 2 years, or whenever the risk is said to have 'changed'.
As a landlord, your legally required fire safety obligations are as follows:
1. You must follow fire safety regulations, i.e. ensure your tenants have access to escape routes at all times
2. You must ensure all furniture and furnishings you supply with the tenancy are fire safe
3. You must provide fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and extinguishers (extinguishers only legally required if your property is an HMO,
i.e. House in Multiple Occupation)
Smoke Alarm Regulations
Carbon Monoxide Detector Regulations
Landlords need to ensure that any properties occupied under a tenancy have carbon monoxide alarms in any rooms which are used as living accommodation which contain a solid fuel burning appliance. This includes wood burning stoves, open fires, and solid fuel cookers in a kitchen.
'Right to Rent' Immigration Check
In accordance with the Immigration Act 2014, a landlord who lets property in England must conduct checks to establish whether a person has the right to rent. You must check ALL new tenants, not just those you think are not British Citizens.
'How to Rent' Guide
As part of the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords in England must now provide new tenants with 'prescribed information' that makes them aware of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This information is contained in a single Government pamphlet entitled 'How to Rent', which you can find by going to this link.
In essence, your letting agent will help you keep an eye on all of these aspects, however, the principle of keeping a simple record (the most convenient way being in the form of a spreadsheet) is a quick and easy activity to keep abreast of your role and responsibilities as a landlord.
With so many important aspects to think and know about running a property business, I have put together a report which you can download with my compliments which is entitled:
'What To Know Before You Buy Your Next Investment Property'
For full access, hop across to here and you can download the report immediately. On an ongoing basis, I will also send you lots of great tips, news and help keep you up-to-date with the running of your property business with my Weekly Property Wisdom emails.
Enjoy the summer...while it lasts!
Hazel de Kloe
Property Investor | Property Mentor | Speaker | Author
The contents of this article are for educational purposes only and we make no recommendation of any particular property purchase. The price of property can decrease as well as increase and you make any investments in property at your own risk.
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