If you are a first-time landlord or are simply looking to update your knowledge of what your tenants need from you, we are on hand to help. As a landlord, you have a number of responsibilities in order to provide a safe, fair and legal tenancy for your residents. From initial tenant vetting to ensure their affordability, to Energy Performance Certificates and the right insurance for your property, knowing what you need to provide is crucial. Don’t know where to start? Check out our handy checklist to get started, below.
Before The Tenant Moves In
Whether you’re between tenants or your first-ever residents are set to move in, there are a number of things you should consider before that final move-in. As a Landlord, you have responsibilities to protect yourself, your property and your tenants and ensuring that you’ve ticked all the boxes in advance will save any stress at the last minute. Here’s what you need:
- Landlord Insurance – Before allowing any tenants to move into your property, you need to ensure that you and your property are protected and, as a result, your tenants will be too. Landlord Insurance protects you against the potential risks of renting out a property, including building damage, contents damage, public liability, loss of rent, malicious damage and legal expenses. It ensures you are protected financially if a claim is made against you, or you need to claim for damages and repairs.
- Right To Rent Check – Landlords are legally required to ensure that their tenants have a right to rent in the UK, which could include seeing passports, immigration documents and other proof of the legal right to live and work in the UK. All tenants aged 18 and over must be checked even if they aren’t named on the agreement. This must be done for all tenants to prevent and avoid discrimination.
- Tenant Vetting– Every landlord should conduct full tenant checks and screening before signing any contracts. It is your responsibility to ensure that the tenant is suitable for the property and the lease you’re offering, so checks will usually include affordability assessments for the rent, and any credit or ID checks necessary. References from employers or former landlords can also be helpful in determining whether they are a trustworthy potential tenant for your property.
- Safety Requirements – As a landlord, you have responsibilities to provide a safe place to live for your tenants. Before allowing tenants to move in, you should investigate the following:
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – Your property must have an energy performance rating of ‘E’ or above. There were discussions as to whether to raise this to ‘C’ but this has currently been set aside, meaning that providing your property currently reaches a minimum rating of ‘E’, you can legally let your property to your tenants. Regardless of the rating, however, you have to have this certificate to be able to let the property at all.
- Safe And Liveable Condition – Your property needs to be in safe and liveable condition according to the Homes Act 2018.
- Gas Safety and Electrical Safety – You need to meet all gas and electricity safety regulations before letting out the property to tenants.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms – You need to provide these alarms and they will need to meet certain regulations and standards in order to be deemed safe and legal.
- Fire Safety and Legionella Risk – You will need to conduct risk assessments for both fire safety and legionella risk in the property before you can let out to tenants.
- Carry Out An Inventory – Having a full inventory of the property before tenants move in will ensure that you and they are on the same page about what is your property or should be in the property when they leave, as well as offer a documented list that can be referred back to. It’s also worth providing photo and video evidence for quality purposes. A comprehensive and signed copy for both you and the tenant can help when it comes to deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.
As well as ensuring that the relevant checks and safety are in place, you also should provide your tenants with certain documentation when they move into the property. This includes:
- EPC – The energy performance certificate should be available before they sign the documents but a copy of the report can be provided when they move in.
- Gas safety – Tenants should have a copy of the gas safety certificate at the start of their lease, as well as updated certificates every 12 months when the certification is renewed. This is a legal requirement and can result in fines or even imprisonment if not provided.
- How To Rent Checklist – The How To Rent checklist available from the Government gives tenants information bout how to rent in the Private Rental sector. You can provide this to your tenants for additional help with their move.
- Deposit Protection Scheme details- Whichever scheme you choose to use, you should provide your tenant with the details of the deposit protection scheme that you use.
- Inventory– As mentioned before, your tenant should have a copy of the inventory you take.
- Contracts – This is a given, but your tenant should have a copy of the tenancy agreement and contracts, including any and all rules and details about rent repayments etc.
- Contact Details – You should always have an open line of communication with your tenant throughout their tenancy, so you can keep on top of any necessary repairs, issues or conflicts that may arise.
Being a Landlord isn’t as simple as signing a contract – you have responsibilities and legal requirements, but with our checklist and support from your local council for the rules and regulations in your area, you can set up your tenancy properly. For more information about Landlord Insurance and how we can help, get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance on 0800 1696137.