What are my responsibilities as a Landlord?
If you're thinking of becoming a landlord, there are a number of rules and regulations you’ll need to consider:
It's the landlord's responsibility to ensure the electrics in a property are safe, including wiring, fittings and any appliances.
An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a requirement when you let the property to new tenants. This tells them how energy efficient the property is. It also gives you recommendations for how you can improve energy efficiency. Rental properties need to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E.
If you don't have an EPC available for prospective tenants to view, you could risk a fine. You could be fined up to £5,000 if you provide false information, fail to adhere to compliance notices or let properties that don’t meet the regulations.
The only exception is houses in multiple occupation (HMO). These are exempt from the EPC rules as they typically have to abide by stricter regulations.
A smoke alarm must be provided on each storey of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which has a 'solid fuel burning appliance' (for example a wood-burning stove or coal fire).
Escape routes should have access at all times. Furniture and furnishings must be classified as fire safe. Landlords with larger Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must also provide fire alarms and extinguishers.
Landlords must ensure that any gas equipment has been installed and maintained by a registered Gas Safe engineer. An annual gas safety check on appliances should be completed by a qualified engineer.
Tenants should be provided with a gas safety check record before they move in, or within 28 days of a check being done.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property rented by at least three people from more than one household who share facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen.
If you're letting out an HMO, you should check with your local council to see if you need a licence. You will require a licence for a 'large HMO' - properties inhabited by five or more people from more than one household.
You'll need a licence for each HMO you let, and licences are valid for five years. You can find out more and apply on the government's website.
Right to Rent
Landlords are required to carry out 'Right to Rent' checks when setting up a new tenancy agreement. You will need to check that your tenants have the legal right to live in the UK by looking at and making copies of immigration documents, such as their passport. If you use a letting agent, they can conduct these checks for you. For more information, visit the government's Right to Rent guide.
Selective landlord licensing
The introduction of a UK-wide landlord licensing system has been debated, but it's currently up to individual councils to decide whether landlords are obliged to obtain a licence or adhere to a code of practice. Some permits only apply to landlords letting HMOs, while others are compulsory for all landlords in an area. Check your local council’s website to see if you’ll need a licence.
Thomas Morris's Landlord Compliance Guide provides more information and can help to advise you on this.