As a landlord, there are certain rights you have over your property and responsibilities that you have to your tenant. Landlord insurance and Buy To Let cover will protect the property from certain damages that the landlord is responsible for, and so is considered to be a major priority for landlords.
As a landlord, you are responsible for providing your tenant with a property that is fit to live in. This means that you must ensure that the property is both safe and sanitary, and that the heating, plumbing, and any gas and electrical appliances are all in working order. Landlords are also responsible for repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, including the roof, walls, drain and guttering. As the building is the landlord’s most important asset, landlords building insurance tends to be the most prioritised insurance cover for landlords. Investing in landlords building insurance protects the building from natural disasters such as floods and storms as well as fire and malicious damage.
If you refuse to perform necessary repairs to the property, your tenant may start a claim in the small claims court for repairs under £5000, carry out the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent, or request that the council inspect the property under HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System). Should the property pose serious health and safety hazard to the tenant if left unrepaired, the council may decide to take the issue up with the landlord further.
Landlords must ensure that, if they are renting a furnished property, any furniture within the property meets fire safety standards. You are also responsible for ensuring home security with appropriate locks and keys, and providing your tenant/s with Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and gas safety certificates for appliances. Landlords contents insurance will also protect the landlord from the repair and replacement costs of the landlord’s furnishings.
Landlords have a responsibility to protect their tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme, to be returned to them at the end of their tenancy in full (unless any damage repair bills or unpaid rent needs to be deducted from the deposit).
Landlords have a right to access their property for repairs and maintenance, but usually the tenant’s agreement will state whether the landlord needs to first get permission from the tenant or give reasonable notice (such as 24 hours). Though tenants can refuse access if the timing is inconvenient for them, to maintain a good landlord/tenant relationship, the best possible time for visits should be agreed upon by both parties in advance so as not to unnecessarily inconvenience either party.
Landlords must not harass or unnecessarily interfere with the lives of their tenants – so no daily surprise coffee stops at your tenant’s home to have a sneaky look at how they’re looking after your property! Tenants must also be able to contact their landlord at all times, so it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide their tenants with their full name, UK address and contact details.
Landlords must report changes to the council should there be a change of tenants’ circumstances or if you plan to make changes to HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation). Landlords are of course also responsible for paying income tax on their rental income and following correct and legal landlord procedures for certain tenant situations, such as eviction.
What Landlords are NOT responsible for
Landlords are not responsible for the payment of utility bills such as gas, electricity or broadband, unless it has already been stated in the tenant’s agreement that such bills are inclusive of the rent (usually common in multi-tenant households or single-room lodger tenants). In addition to this, it is not the responsibility of the landlord to pay council tax and water and sewerage charges for the property.
Although landlords usually carry out regular property inspections to ensure that the property is being looked after by the tenants, it is the responsibility of the tenant to maintain a clean and tidy property and not cause damage to the landlord’s property.
Landlords do not have control over the tenant’s choice of internal decor and furniture that they own as long as it does not damage the property in any way and all changes are reverted back to its original state when they move out. So if you don’t like the style, colour and placement of your tenant’s bright green sofa, there’s nothing you can do about it as a landlord.