by Rajiv Singh, 01-10-2021

9 essential tips for landlords

These are the essential ingredients to a successful tenancy. The private rental sector is full of pitfalls and do's. It's crucial to be aware of your legal obligations if you are a landlord or thinking about becoming one.

We have prepared nine top tips for landlords, sourced data from ARLA Propertymark and the professional body for Landlords.

1. Learn more if you require a landlord license

Check with your local council before you start looking for potential renters. In 2006 legislation was passed. Some areas have also implemented licensing to crack down on rogue landlords.

2. Tenant referencing checks should be kept in mind

This means that you must be thorough when referencing tenants on rental applications. You want to ensure they are responsible and reliable tenants. Tenant screening involves checking credit eligibility, obtaining references from past landlords, and ensuring that they are legally allowed to live in the UK.
If you fail to perform Right to rent checks under the Immigration Acts, you could face a fine or even jail time. You could utilize zyPass screening feature of RentOnCloud to do reference check new tenants.

3. Protect your tenant's deposits

You must protect tenants' deposits safely in a government-accredited scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Once you have done this, you will need to give your tenant the Deposit Protection Certificate, Prescribed Information, as well as the How to Rent guide from the Government.
There are three options available: Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits, or Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These schemes help to resolve deposit disputes and protect the property from potential damage.
The Tenant Fees Act landed on 1 June 2019. As a result, the maximum amount you can request from potential tenants is five weeks rent. Six weeks if rental costs exceed £ 50,000 per year.

4. Have ready EPC certificate

You can ensure that your property has the highest energy performance. Give your tenant a copy.
Your property must be at least an 'E' rating in the EPC by April 2018. You could be fined if you try to arrange a new letting without checking that your property meets this standard.
More information on Energy Efficiency Certificates.

5. Safety checks

Legally, you are required to have every gas appliance in your property checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer each year. Tenants must also be provided with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 day of the annual check.
This is not all. It is a landlord responsibility that smoke alarms be installed on all floors of the property. Carbon monoxide detectors are required in every room where solid fuel is used, such as charcoal or wood. On the first day of tenancy, test both alarms. Although it is not mandatory, it's a good idea for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed near gas appliances.
The new electrical safety regulations, which came into effect on June 1, 2020, require that every fixed electrical installation be inspected and tested by an electrician at least once every five years.
You must obtain a report detailing the results of the inspection.
Your rental property in England must be suitable for human habitation. Tenants can sue you if you don't comply with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. It is a good idea to respond positively and efficiently to maintenance requests.

6. Draft tenancy agreement

Although it's not required by law, having a tenant agreement signed by you and your potential tenants is crucial, especially in relation to rent arrears. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are the only type that landlords can use. RentOnCloud provides an easy to use document builder where you can create rental agreement digitally and send for esign, all can be done with just few clicks.

7. Regular inspections with consent of Tenants

It is a good idea for you to check on the condition of your property regularly. You are not allowed to enter the property without permission from the tenant. It is best to give your tenants notice in writing within 24 to 48 hours. This should be stated in your tenancy agreement.

8. Find the right insurance coverage for building and contents

A landlord insurance policy that covers loss of rent, damages, legal expenses, and liabilities will be a good investment.
You should know that standard building insurances don't provide landlord protection so you can shop around for specialist landlord coverage. You risk losing your policy if you do not tell your buildings insurer you are renting your property.

**9. Prepare the property "rental ready" **

Consider who your target tenant might be and ensure that the property is available for them. You should ensure that your property is attractive and has modern decor. Don't be afraid to promote the property's key features, such as a south-facing terrace, garden, parking lot, or access to public transport. It must be safe, clean, and tidy.

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About Rajiv Singh

A Chartered Accountant in UK with 15+ years of experience in FinTech Consulting, Accounting & International Taxation. I enjoy being a Social, Foodie and Father of two young children, reachable at linktr.ee/RajivSingh.

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