There are many landlord requirements in the UK, and it can be easy to forget something when you are fulfilling your duties as a landlord or accommodating new tenants.
We have created a complete landlord checklist for renting a house. Stick to it if you want to be organised, take advantage of everything and avoid fines when letting your property to tenants.
One of the most important things on your rental checklist is ensuring the property is safe for the new tenants. Hence, it is your obligation to check the condition of the gas appliances, electrical equipment (sockets, fuse boxes, light fittings), fire detection equipment, carbon monoxide detectors, furniture, and other soft furnishings.
Your regular responsibilities on the checklist for landlords are:
Every ten years, you should add getting an Energy Performance Certificate to your landlord inspection checklist. With this type of inspection, you will find out the property’s energy performance rating from A, meaning most energy efficient, to least efficient properties rated with G. According to the regulations, the rental property should be EPC Band E or above.
You must provide the tenant with the EPC for free before the tenancy starts, as the certificate is also on the tenant checklist for renting a house.
Most home insurance offers in the United Kingdom don’t cover renting properties. Although it is not mandatory, getting the best landlord building insurance is highly recommended and beneficial. You can additionally get contents insurance for the items you leave to the tenants, even if you only provide them with carpets, white goods or curtains.
You should also get rent guarantee insurance to ensure your income from renting if a tenant defaults. Ultimately, we recommend landlord home emergency assistance for unexpected costs when there are problems with the heating system, electricity, or plumbing.
Did you know occupants can get tenant liability insurance for the rental property?
The landlord requirements in the UK imply renting permission. Properties with a standard residential mortgage can be temporarily rented in the UK with the lender’s consent. But, if you intend to rent the property permanently, you will have to change your loan to a buy-to-let mortgage. Note that you will have to pay a higher interest rate when switching.
In cases when the property you are trying to rent is a leasehold, you will need consent from the freeholder.
Your local council could help determine if you need a House in Multiple Occupation Licence in England and Wales. The criteria for a large HMO are:
An HMO licence is valid for up to five years, and you must renew it before the expiration date.
Once you have ticked the boxes of the landlord checklist in the UK regarding the property, you should start receiving tenant applications. You must confirm the applicant’s identity and pay attention to their immigration status, credit check, and employment status. If you have doubts, you can ask for a reference from a previous landlord.
Usually, you should look for tenants with a good credit history and whose rent will be one-third of their monthly income. This way, you can ensure they can afford to pay rent regularly.
Also, the applicants you pick must have the right to rent. You can manually do the background check on the tenants according to the documents the applicants provide or investigate the right to rent via the Home Office online checking service.
Related reading: How to rent with bad credit and no guarantor in the UK.
When you finish the tenant-seeking process, your next priority is drafting a tenancy agreement, and it should include the following information:
It is recommended you include all tenants in the agreement, and each tenant should receive a copy of the contract.
Every time you have new tenants, you must provide them with a copy of the government’s How to rent: The checklist for renting in England. You can give the tenants a hard copy or send it via email as a PDF document.
The British government has capped tenancy deposits. For instance, if the annual rent is below £50,000, you can ask the tenant for up to five weeks of rent. But if the annual rent you charge is above £50,000, you can get six weeks’ worth of rent as a deposit.
Furthermore, if the tenant wants to reserve the property, you can charge a refundable holding deposit which can’t exceed one week’s rent.
As a landlord, you must protect the deposit because you will have to refund it if the tenants return the property in good condition. Therefore, you will have to put the money in a government-approved scheme (Tenancy Deposit Scheme, MyDeposits, or Deposit Protection Service), which will hold or insure the deposits.
The Tenant Fees Act regulates the fees you can charge your tenants as a landlord. Legally permitted fees in the UK are:
On the contrary, fees for viewing, tenancy set up, check out, and third-party fees are banned.
An important task on the rental property checklist is conducting an inventory to protect your investment. An inventory is a document stating the property’s condition when new tenants move in and before they move out. You can do the inventory yourself or hire an independent inventory clerk or a letting agent.
You can also make inspections from time to time and check if there is any damage to your property.
Doing announced property visits is essential and one of the fastest ways to find out if occupants have maintenance issues they haven’t reported. Ensure you have the tenant’s permission before you enter the property.
Although it might seem like a straightforward process, collecting rent payments is a challenging feat. First, you should keep records of every rental payment, note the payment dates and late payments. Then, if a tenant falls into rent arrears, you should have all the evidence to continue issuing a legal notice.
You will have legal obligations to maintain the property and make repairs when needed. In addition, as a successful landlord, you must regularly inspect the inside and outside areas of the building and do routine servicing of installations like boilers and cookers.
You might be interested: Claiming house insurance for a water leak.
And last but equally important on your landlords checklist is paying taxes. The profit you will generate from renting your property is subject to taxation and should be reported in your Self-Assessment Tax Return.
However, you can reduce your tax in the UK by deducting expenses for maintenance and running of the property, replacing domestic items, and getting a Buy-to-let mortgage tax relief.
Your job doesn’t end by ticking the last box in the checklist for renting a house. You will have to maintain a healthy and trustworthy relationship with the occupants by doing inventory, regular property checks, handling disputes between tenants promptly, doing the necessary repairs as soon as possible, and taking into account the tenant’s complaints.
Finally, you must keep detailed records of the rent payments for each unit you rent, as well as your expenses for maintaining the property.
As a landlord, you should know what is on the tenant check list and that it is your legal obligation to provide the tenant with the following documents: a copy of the government’s How to rent guide, gas safety certificate, deposit paperwork, and Energy Performance Certificate. You should also inform the tenant about electrical inspections and proof that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order.
You should go through the following checks on your landlord checklist for renting a house: furniture and furnishing fire safety, electrical safety checks, gas appliances, PAT test on electrical appliances, and functionality check of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.