The Art Of Being A Good Landlord
Being a landlord is a juggling act between customer service, maintenance and being an agent. You need to know the rules, regulations and best practice for your industry. There are the basics every landlord needs to provide then there is that something extra that you want to add to make your property special. But before you can start letting, there are some essential requirements.
Health and Safety
We all want our tenants to be safe, to ensure this, the law states the following must be undertaken. Protect your tenants’ means protecting yourself from prosecution.
Carbon Monoxide, the silent killer. Before letting your property ensure you have had the boiler and gas checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You also need to provide tenants with a Gas Safe certificate (sometimes called a report) within 28 days of being completed. You must keep an accurate record of all checks and any maintenance / repairs undertaken. Although it’s not required, we would recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm.
First to note, if the wiring in your property is over 15 years old it needs to be checked annually. It’s always recommended to have a complete check by an electrician on purchase of a property to ensure there are no hidden horrors. Any electrical work needs to be signed off by an electrician and accurate records kept. If you are providing any electrical equipment such as a dishwasher etc., they are required to be PAT tested annually.
Faults in either gas or electricity can cause a fire. You are required under common law duty to ensure that your property is safe. As in all homes, it is highly recommended that you install smoke alarms. Failure to do so could mean that you are letting a property that could be deemed as not safe.
Furniture and Furnishings
In the Furniture and Furnishings (fire) (safety) Amendment Regulations 1993, the policy is strict and clear. All furniture that you provide must be fire resistant. The good thing nowadays is that the majority of new products are required to be fire resistant but it is your responsibility to check prior to purchasing.
Be careful of using furniture and furnishings when you don’t know the source, as you will be unable to guarantee it’s fire resistance. There are exemptions to the legislation, such as carpets and curtains, but as a landlord this is one area you want to be safe, not sorry.
Repairs and Maintenance
The issue of repairs and maintenance can create tension between the landlord and tenant; this is mainly down to confusion. It is in your interest to ensure that who is responsible for what is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and that your tenant signs in acknowledgement of understanding.
According to Section 11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 you are required to maintain:
• The structure and exterior of the property e.g. roof, guttering and drains.
• Baths, sinks and other sanitary ware.
• Heating, water, gas and electricity.
You may wish to offer small DIY jobs, but be sure your tenant understands clearly where your responsibilities end.
You are required to pay your tenants deposit into a UK Government Approved Deposit Protection Scheme. You also need to clearly state when and how your rent money is to be paid. If you do not want to accept cheques, you must state it.
When you let your property you are providing your tenants with a home, and so your rights change. You will need access to your property for repairs and inspections but these must be agreed with your tenant in advance.
Before you let your property it’s crucial to have a number of documents in place. The most important is the tenancy agreement; this is your legally binding contract between you and your tenant.
The second is your inventory. The inventory details all the contents in your property together with it’s condition, even down to marks on the wall. It is recommended that you check your property against the inventory every 3 months to check for any damage.
Just as when you are selling a home, you need to provide your tenants with the Energy Performance Certificate before they move in.
The Art of Being A Landlord is no easy task. Know your responsibilities, document everything and remember to be thorough with your checks. If you choose to use a letting agent such as us, we can advise you every step of the way and ensure that nothing gets missed.
We believe in protecting our landlords and their investment.
What to know more about the role of a letting agent?
Call 01273 672 333 or visit our website