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By Patricia Woodbridge,
Director, Seymours Letting and Management Services
In the last of a three part series on buying property to let Patricia gives a landlord’s legal obligations. For other articles in this series see the ‘Property Features’ section under Ads & Property.
Now is a seriously good time to consider investing in property to rent out. In the 20 years I have been involved in letting and management services in Surrey, there have been few better moments to consider becoming a landlord. You will wish to consider your legal obligations as a landlord. They fall into the following categories:
Safety & Protection of Tenants
1. You must ensure that your gas is safe with all appliances and flues checked by a qualified and competent engineer – preferably a member of Gas Safe – the official list of gas engineers qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances – who will issue you with a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate. This check must be done annually.
2. Electrical checks are equally important with a fully-qualified electrician (preferably an NICEIC member) scrutinising your electrical equipment and wiring. This is called a Periodic Inspection Report and should be done before your first let and every five years thereafter. Portable Appliance Testing should be carried out at the same time and then annually.
3. Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations: these demand that upholstered furniture in your property complies with the above regulations and are produced to the correct standards with appropriate labelling. This applies to: beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles. Also nursery furniture, garden furniture used indoors, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows, loose and stretch covers for furniture. Quite a list!
4. You are also legally obliged to show prospective tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which will detail your property’s energy rating. This is valid for 10 years.
5. You are legally obliged to have Landlords’ Insurance to cover your buildings, contents and personal liability.
6. If you’re letting your own residence (perhaps you are going abroad on business for six months), then you must tell your mortgage lender, be it or your bank or building society, and obtain their written consent.
7. Equally, if you are moving abroad, you will need to instruct your UK accountant to deal with your tax accordingly as rental income is liable to UK tax.