Legal musts for landlords
Self-managing as a landlord can be a daunting prosses. You need to be sure that as a new landlord you have the knowledge to ensure that you are on the right track to successful management. There is a perplex amount of best practise and legislation involved to keep track of. Having a clear, up to date legal guide is important. This is because they can go out of date quickly, so it is important that as a landlord you keep on top of any possible new consultations that may be put in place. This guide is going to give you the basics on the most important legal requirements to help you as a landlords fulfil your legal obligations.
Fire alarm systems and fire precaution’s in HMOs
As a landlord it is your responsibility to make sure that fire alarms are installed and checked regularly. In addition to this you must ensure that there are means of escape from the property via an assessable route (e.g. the landing, stairs and the halls.) This ensures that your tenant stays of safe as possible.
As a landlord you must ensure that there is a written risk assessment in place to abide by the fire safety order. Moreover, before the tenant moves into the property there should be an energy performance certificate (EPC) in place, which should be given to any tenant that moves in the property. If you do not give the energy performance certificate to you tenant, then you will not be able to serve a section 21 notice. Make sure that you are aware of the EPC.
If there are any gas appliances in the property, then it is your responsibility as a landlord/agent to make sure that there are annual gas safety checks done no more than 12 month intervals and a copy of the certificates should be given to the tenant each time on is carried out. These checks must be carried out by a qualified engineer or gas fitter who are registered on the gas safety register. The check must be carried out no longer then the 12 months before the tenant moves into the property. If as a landlord/agent, you don’t complete this annual safety check then you may lose your right to section 21 rights in England.
It is vital that you do not harass your tenants in anyway. If your tenant is in arrears with his rent or is breaking the rules of his tenancy, it is illegal to evict them using section 21 without a court order for them reasons. If you feel your tenant/tenants need evicting, then with must go through the court to get a possession order.
It is your responsibility a landlord to make sure that you perform a risk assessment for legionella disease, the amount of risk assessments required will depend on the type of property you have so make sure you are aware of this. If you fail to complete the risk assessment, then this will lead to a fine. You should be aware that properties will need extensive water sampling tests.
You must ensure that as a landlord, if you take deposits from you tenant under an assured shorthold tenant then the deposits must be protected under one of the three tenancy deposit schemes. In addition, the prescribed information regarding the deposit must be given to the tenant within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
Payments of administration fees
You must be aware that as of the 1st of June agents and landlords in England are now no longer allowed to charge administration fees to your tenant. This includes factors such as gardening, cleaning, referencing and a number of other factors.
As a landlord it is your responsibility to make sure that you check with your local authority as your property may require a licence. This could be selective, additional or mandatory licencing. It is vital that you get this sorted, as if you have not get applied for a licence then you will not be able to serve a valid section 21 and may even have to repay all of the rent to the current tenants.
If your property is. House in multiple occupations then you must ensure that you are doing a 5 year, yearly electrical safety check carried out by a competent electrician. You have to make sure that it is carried out even if you don’t need a licence. This will cover shared houses, flats in multiple occupation, bedsits, hostels and certain converted blocks of flats.
Keeping your data protection
It is important that you must obey the general data protection regulation. This means that you must register with the ICO and prepare a privacy notice, stating why they are entitled to use personal information of any tenants, guarantors, referees, etc.
Electrical appliances and electrical safety
It is your responsibility to make sure that any electrical appliances in the property is safe at the outset of the letting. We advise that you regularly test the appliances to ensure they’re safe. If you are a landlord of the HMOs are required to have an electrical safety test at least once every five years.
Agents Duties to publicise fees/their redress schemes
Under the consumer rights act 2015 it is now legal requirement for all letting and managing agents in both England and wales to make public of their details of their fees and to say whether they do not have client money protection. You must also give the name of the address scheme of which they are a member.