1. Check tenants have the ‘Right to Rent’
Landlords must ensure tenants can legally reside in the UK before letting to them. The penalty for renting to someone without the right to rent is a £3,000 fine or even imprisonment. The government has issued a list of commonly available documents to check. If your tenants have the right to rent, take a copy of the document and keep it on file.
2. Protect the deposit
Deposit protection is a legal requirement for landlords. Landlords must protect deposits within 30 days of receiving funds, or face a fine of up to three times the deposit amount. At the end of the tenancy a court may also decide that the tenant will not have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if the landlord has not used a TDP scheme when they should have.
You must place your tenants’ deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP)
These government-backed schemes ensure your tenants will get their deposit back if they:
– Meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
– Don’t damage the property
– Pay the rent and bills
3. Make your property fire safe
A smoke alarm must be on all floors of the property, and carbon monoxide detectors must be in any rooms consisting of fuel-burning devices. If your property comes with furniture, it should be flame resistant.
4. Make sure your Gas Safety Certificate is up to date
If there’s a gas supply at the property, you must arrange a gas safety inspection each year. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy.
5. Make sure your EPC is up to date
Landlords must have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to let a property legally in the UK. You must give a copy of the certificate to tenants at the start of a tenancy. (EPC must be done every 10 years)
6. Give tenants a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ guide
This guide lists landlord obligations and tenants’ rights. You must either give tenants a hard copy or email it to them as an attachment. A link to the guide is not enough. Landlords who fail to do this are unable to evict tenants under a Section 21 Notice.
7. Make sure appliances are in working order
Any appliance left in the property must be safe to use. Anything not working should be replaced or removed.
*This article is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this page was first published.