November 6, 2017

Landlords: is your letting legal?

Landlord Law

Lettings expert Jill Griffiths describes how landlords can leave themselves open to risk by failing to ensure that every legal consideration has been taken into account and actioned before tenants occupy a property.

Are you legally allowed to rent your property?

In order to legally rent out your property, you may need express written permission from the company who provides your mortgage and the company you insure your property with.  Without permission, you could be in breach of your agreements with these companies, which could leave you unprotected and at risk.

Once you have addressed this question, there are several other considerations to take into account, to make sure that when you are letting your property, you are remaining legally compliant.

These include:

Electrical appliances

 Make sure that any electrical appliances you may provide with the property, such as a fridge, hoover or washing machine, have been inspected for safety.  It’s also a good idea to get them inspected again each time you rent out a property to new tenants.

Alarms

For rented properties, you need to provide a fire alarm on every floor of the property i.e. one downstairs and one upstairs in a standard house with two floors.  You also need to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms that contain a source of fuel such as a fire or a boiler.

Gas safety checks also need to be carried out on an annual basis.

Safety hazards

Guidance around many safety hazards is often common sense, but some hazards that are absolutely key to avoid include:

  • All fire escapes should be easily accessible and unobstructed at all times.
  • Furniture should be fire retardant and have labels to show this.
  • There should be nothing left in the way which tenants could easily trip or fall over.
  • There should be minimal risk of trips or falls within or outside the property.
  • There must be no broken steps or furniture.
  • There must be sufficient heating to keep tenants warm.
  • There should not be damp or mould which may present a hazard to tenants.

Energy performance certificates

As a landlord, you are legally obliged to provide your tenants with an energy performance certificate.  This should be in place before you rent your property out.

From 1st April 2018, landlords will also be required to ensure that the energy efficiency of the property they are renting has a minimum rating of E on their energy performance certificate.  This will apply to new lettings agreements and tenancy renewals, from this date.

Licences

Depending on the type of property you are renting out and whether it is to one person or several different people who are not related to each other, you may require a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence to be in place.  For more information about this, contact our lettings specialists who will be happy to help investigate whether you need this or not.

Advice about what landlords need before renting a property

To speak to a lettings expert about what needs to be in place before a property is let out, or what needs to be renewed at the point of setting up a new tenancy, please feel free to get in touch.  You can speak to lettings specialists at any of our Leicestershire offices, using the telephone numbers below:

  • Leicester: 0116 242 9929
  • Market Harborough: 01858 439080
  • Loughborough: 01509 235534