Aspen Woolf , landlord, home owner

How to be a landlord

Ready to be a landlord?

As soon as you rent out your property you are a landlord, and in becoming one you have to adhere to various regulations.
You must:

• Make sure your rented property is safe and non-hazardous.

• Ensure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained.

• Have an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate for the property.

• Protect the tenant’s deposit in a scheme approved by the government.

• Check whether the tenant has the right to rent your property if you’re in England.

• Give a copy of the ‘how to rent’ checklist from the site to your tenant when they start renting your property.

• Fit and test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.

• Follow fire regulations for property that has been adapted into flats or for purpose built developments.

You may be subject to an inspection from the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. These are carried out when a tenant requests one, or when the council thinks that your property might be a problem.

Repairs and rebuilding

You can enter the property to make repairs or for an inspection, but you must give the tenant 24 hours’ notice of your visit…

If the property is damaged by flood or fire, then you don’t have to rebuild or renovate it. But if you do, the cost falls entirely to you. You cannot charge tenants to help out with costs.

If you own an apartment block then you’re also responsible for repairs made to common areas, such as gardens and car parks.

If you fail to carry out repairs, tenants can make a claim against you for repairs under £5,000 or make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost of repairs from the rent.

If any repairs you carry out are disruptive to your tenant’s lives, then they might be able to claim a reduction on their rent. However, depending on your tenancy agreement, you may also be able to increase the rent after the repairs or improvements are completed.

Be informed

There are many consumer protections on most other investments, but these do not apply to buy-to-let properties. It is vital to understand everything possible before you commit to a property, a mortgage or any other type of funding.