With many first time buyers finding it difficult obtain a mortgage; and a shortage of social housing nationwide more people may be looking to private rented accommodation as a long term housing solution than ever before.
This leaves property owners in a good position to become landlords, offering their property as rented accommodation. Before becoming a landlord however there are a few essential things you may need to think about:
- Your responsibilities as a landlord
According to the British Government, you will need to accept the following responsibilities as a landlord in England and Wales:
- Keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- Make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained and provide your tenants with a copy of the property’s gas safety certificate which will be renewed annually by a registered Gas Safe (previously CORGI) Engineer
- You should ensure that your property is fitted and tested with smoke and carbon moxide alarms and follow any fire safety regulations which may apply to the type of property you own
- Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property – you could be fined without one
- Protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- Check your tenant has the right to rent your property if it’s in England
- Give your tenant a copy of the How to rent checklist when they start renting from you (you can email it to them if preferred)
- Remember to declare the income you receive from renting as you may be required to pay tax on this – you will usually have to pay
2. Protecting your tenants deposit
It is important to take a deposit from any potential tenants to protect you in the event of damage or unpaid rent. The deposit must be placed in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. Failure to comply could result in you receiving a fine.
3. Get references before you take on any tenants
When looking for potential tenants it is important to consider the persons who will be living in your property. You may decide it best to obtain references from previous landlords or employers to ensure they are of good character and can pay their rent. You could arrange to meet the potential tenant before offering tenancy and, if you want to, obtain a credit check. This should help ensure you tenant is responsible and trustworthy.
4. Tenancy Agreement
Tenancy agreement’s can be purchased online or through a solicitor; alternatively if an agency is managing your tenancy they may provide the agreement.
As the landlord it will be your responsibility to understand the contents and recognise the requirements outlined in the agreement, it must include:
• Names of the tenant/s
• Tenants/landlords responsibilities for repairs/maintenance
• Deposits and fees payable
• Cost of rent & breakdown
• The length of the contract
Once you have found a suitable tenant you may want to carry out:
5. Pre-tenancy & post-tenancy Property Inspections
This will make the tenant and landlord mutually aware of condition of property when the tenancy is agreed.
If the property is part furnished Landlord contents insurance could cover these items in the event of accidental damage.
Before the end of the tenancy you may choose to re-inspect the property to ensure it has remained in good condition – this could also highlight areas of the property that have become damaged and are in need of work. Accidental damage cover can be purchased as part of your Landlords Insurance to provide cover for any damage caused.
Should any damage occur during the tenancy such as a burst pipe, flood, fire or theft landlords insurance could cover the cost of the repair work involved.
6. Landlords Insurance
As a landlord it is your responsibility, if you wish, to insure your let properties; without cover you could be personally responsible for any damage caused to your property.
Your exact insurance requirements may vary depending on the types and number of properties you own.
More Information and Quotes
This guide is part of our series on insurance for landlords, for product information, links to more guides or to get a quote, visit our landlord insurance section here. You can also call our UK based sales team on 08081686868.