Here are our tips for landlords planning to rent out their property:
1. Look at your mortgage agreement
Many mortgage agreements state borrowers need written consent from lenders before they rent out property. Take a look at your mortgage agreement or ask your mortgage lender directly to find out whether you need consent.
2. Screen tenants
Take the following steps to screen potential tenants and avoid professional con artists:
Ask the tenant to complete an application form. The form should include space for date of birth, national insurance number, next of kin, and details of residences over the last three years (minimum).
Ask for a copy of a driving licence or passport to prove identity.
Ask the tenant for copies of bank statements for the preceding six months.
Use a reliable credit referencing service to investigate the prospective tenant.
Pay a surprise visit on the prospective at their current premises to see how they look after the place and confirm they actually live there.
Ask for a deposit equal to six weeks rent to cover yourself if the tenant fails to pay the last month’s rent and there is still damage when they leave.
Watch out for people in a rush or living with their parents since these people often fit the profile of “problem” tenants.
3. Write a tenancy agreement
Having a signed tenancy agreement will make it easier to deal with any disputes that arise. Find a solicitor who specialises in landlord-tenant law for advice.
4. Obtain an energy performance certificate
All new rental properties in the UK now require energy performance certificates. Rules vary by jurisdiction. For more information, read Guide to Energy Performance Certificates (England and Wales), or visit NI Direct (Northern Ireland) or Scottish Building Standards (Scotland).
5. Obtain a property license
Houses in Multiple Occupation are subject to mandatory licensing by local authorities. Again, rules vary by jurisdiction. Click on a link below for further information:
6. Get registered
Scottish landlords must register with their local authorities. For more information, visit Better Renting Scotland. England, Northern Ireland, and Wales do not have mandatory landlord registration schemes, but plans are afoot to introduce one in England soon.
7. Comply with gas and electric safety regulations
Landlords must maintain all gas appliances and arrange and pay for an annual safety check by an engineer certified by Gas Safe (Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands). For more information, read the Gas Safety Regulations. In addition, landlords should ensure the electrical system and all appliances are safe to use. .
8. Comply with fire safety regulations
All landlords must comply with UK fire safety regulations. For more information, read Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Requirements and LACORS’ Fire Safety Guide.
9. Carry out repairs and maintenance
Rules on repairs and maintenance vary by jurisdiction:
For property in England and Wales, read: (1) Assured Shorthold Tenancies; (2) Repairs; and (3) Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
For property in Northern Ireland, read: (1) Private Tenancies ; and (2) Repairs .
For property in Scotland, visit the Private Rented Housing Panel website and read: (1) Private Renting; (2) Repairs; and (3) if common property is an issue (e.g., you own a tenement ), Common Repair, Common Sense.
10. Protect rental deposits
In England and Wales, almost all deposits should be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS). For more information, visit GOV.UK .
Scotland passed legislation to introduce mandatory TDPS in 2006; however, the Scottish Government has delayed implementation and encouraged landlords to join a voluntary accreditation scheme instead.
Currently, there is no mandatory TDPS in Northern Ireland, but the Northern Ireland Executive recently announced it is being considered.
11. Consider hiring a property management company
All of the above legal responsibilities should be dealt with before you let your property. If you do not have time to do everything, you should consider paying a property management company to do it for you.
12. Obtain landlord Insurance
Obtain comprehensive landlord insurance to protect your property.
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