Being a landlord involves a bit more than just finding a tenant and then collecting the rent.
There are now legal obligations and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants and you, as a landlord, may need to know about these and more importantly comply with them.
Your relationship with your tenants
A formal tenancy agreement may not be obligatory in all types of lettings but you may find that even if there is no legal requirement for you to enter into such an agreement with your tenants, it may be in everyone’s best interests.
An agreement can formalise things such as:
- the length of the tenancy and its start and end dates;
- the rent to be paid, the dates on which it is due and how it is paid;
- the deposit and how it is protected;
- who is responsible for bills such as utilities and council tax etc.
This may mean that in the event of a dispute there will be no uncertainties of the type that may arise if you have entered into some kind of verbal agreement with your tenants.
Your property and its safety
Most properties, even those which are not furnished, may typically be let with appliances such as gas boilers, water heaters, cookers etc. As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to ensure that these are serviced once a year and at the beginning of each rental. Safety certificates are required and these have to be issued by a qualified and certified professional.
If your property is let on a furnished basis then the fabrics used for your soft furnishings must all conform to fire safety regulations.
Remember too that you must now formally notify your tenants about the status of their deposit. This must be protected and there are a couple of options for this. The important point to note though is that this is not your money to do with as you please.
If your property is standing empty and is likely to remain so for an extended period of time, then you may wish to ensure that water and heating systems are turned off or even drained down.
Remember too that depending on the timescales involved – typically periods in excess of 30-45 days depending on the provider – then you may also need to consider getting an unoccupied property insurance quote.
This is to ensure that your property is covered in such circumstances.