When you are renting your property in the UK, there are many things that you might be afraid of. Not getting the ideal tenants or worrying about what your responsibilities include when you are playing the role of a landlord. If you have hired a skilled online estate agent to list your house up for rent, then the former problem can be taken care of, as a credit check would be done on the prospective tenants who are interested in renting your house. A credit score speaks volumes about how responsible an individual is about their spending and you can get a pretty clear idea whether they would be able to manage their finances enough to pay rent on time or not. For instance, a person with a bad credit score shows that they are not much careful about their spending habits. On the other hand, a good credit score shows that the individual is able to keep a track on the spending and is responsible enough to not get into debt or other financial problems.
Now that one of your troubles is solved with the help of your trusty online estate agent, you now need to know the responsibilities that would be on your shoulders as a landlord. Here is a handy guide which will outline all the major and minor responsibilities that you need to take care of in order to be a capable and praiseworthy landlord:
1. Protect the Tenant’s Deposit
The deposit of the tenant is your responsibility and you need to protect it. You need to return this amount by the end of the tenancy, the exception being if there is dispute with your tenant over any damage that they might have done to the house. If you do not protect the deposit, you are liable for a fine.
Another thing you need to know when you are renting your home: if you are using the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement, then you are bound by law to place the tenant’s deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. The TDP schemes are different in Scotland, and in Wales and England. Here are the details for each:
For Wales and England:
- Deposit Protection Service
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Letting Protection Service Scotland
- MyDeposits Scotland
- SafeDeposits Scotland
2. Provide the Tenant with Important Details and Documents
A landlord is bound by law in the UK to provide these documents to their tenant(s):
- An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate): This document includes the details of the typical energy usage in your home, and the various recommendations that the tenant can follow to minimise the energy waste. The tenant has the right to ask the landlord to carry out the recommendations in the EPC in order to improve the energy rating.
- A gas safety certificate: If you have any gas appliances in your home, this is the certificate that you must provide the tenant. It will ensure the tenant that all the safety checks regarding the gas appliances have been taken into account. The document also lists the details of the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant to maintain the gas appliances.
3. Installing Smoke Alarms
As of 1st October, 2015, the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations in England maintain that the landlord is responsible for installing:
- A carbon monoxide alarm in any room that will be the tenant’s abode where solid fuel is utilised
- A smoke alarm on every floor of the building
The tenant would be responsible for checking the state of the alarms and replacing batteries. The landlord is responsible for checking the alarms only on the first day of tenancy. Make sure that heat detectors cannot be installed in place of smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. If you do not comply with the regulations prescribed for installing the smoke and CO alarms, you can be fined up to £5,000.
As for the type of alarms, you can choose any one from the wired ones or battery powered ones. Be careful about the placement of the smoke alarms, though. They should not be in the kitchen, or else it would always start buzzing whenever anyone cooks. Place them a little farther from the kitchen so that they would not annoy the tenant.
4. Ensuring Safety of the Tenant
You need to make sure that all safety checks are in place before the tenant moves in, and take care of the regular maintenance of the electrical and gas appliances to ensure that are in working order and that they do not provide any hazard to the tenant.Apart from installing the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, there are other safety checks that you must take care of, such as:
- Ensuring all electrical appliances are installed properly: Around 50% of all house fire accidents in the UK are caused by faulty wiring. Make sure that the wiring is not frayed anywhere. If you are unsure about handling it yourself, call in a professional who will take care of the details. For maximum security, install a residual current device (RCD), which will automatically switch off the electricity in the case of a fault. This device can save lives if there is any frayed wire and an individual touches it.
- The furnishings in your house should be fire safe: Before you rent your home, you need to make sure that all the furniture and the furnishings in your house are properly tested for any fire hazards.
- Escape routes should be clear: Many of the escape routes are blocked by pots, boxes or other stuff that you put away. Clear away the route so that it is not blocked.
5. Follow the Rules on Rent
Make the payment of rent and other details related to it clear in the agreement, so that there are no misunderstandings. Follow the rules that you have agreed to. Provide a rent book to your tenant if your agreement asks for a weekly rent. Raise the rent as described in the agreement. The agreement would generally outline all the details about rent and the payment method, and you must adhere to it.