When you rent out your properties you become a private landlord and whether this is through choice or necessity, with this move comes a number of important responsibilities. Such obligations can vary for different tenancy types but generally the areas covered are the same. Here, we take a look at what these responsibilities are and consider how the Rentr app can help you manage these more effectively.
Making your property safe
Health and safety is very important when you have private properties to rent and by law you must ensure your flats and houses are free from hazards. To meet the legal health and safety standards you need to have the following:
- An electricity safety certificate to verify that all electric equipment you have available for tenants is safe to use. Details of which can be found here.
- Equally, all gas appliances must have a gas safety certificate and any repair work should be carried out by a fully qualified engineer.
- If you have a furnished property, the furniture must also be in line with fire safety standards
If you need any further detail or information regarding the above points, useful information specifically for private landlords is readily available here from GOV.uk.
Providing the right information for tenants
You also need to provide tenants with certain information. They must have your full name and contact details including your address. Furthermore, before a tenant moves into a property they should also be given a copy of the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). This includes information about the energy usage and costs for your properties as well as advice on how they can bring these down.
Carrying out repairs
When it comes to carrying out repairs it’s essential both you and your tenants understand their responsibilities; this is where your tenancy agreement is hugely important.
On the most part, you as the landlord, will be responsible for most of the repairs to your property, so along with making sure your appliances are safe and maintained, as stated in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 you also need to look after:
- All sanitary fittings and fixtures (e.g. sinks, shower units, baths)
- The structure and exterior of the property (covering gutters, piping, drainage)
- The installations for heating and water in the property
On top of this, if you, or the person you’re using for these jobs, causes any further damage, you’re obliged to repair this too.
Your tenants can be made responsible for smaller repairs and maintenance, providing this is clearly stated in your tenancy agreement. This can include tasks such as keeping the property clean, tidy and maintaining the decoration. Also you can make them responsible for looking after the gardens should your flats or houses to rent have them.
Using a deposit protection scheme
Another important requirement as a private landlord is to put tenant deposits into a deposit protection scheme that’s recognised by the Government. This must be done within 30 days of the tenancy beginning and for private landlords in England and Wales you have the following options:
For private landlords in Scotland and Northern Ireland:
You can also find further information about why these are essential and what types of tenancy these apply to here on GOV.uk.
Sticking to the right procedures
The tenancy agreement form you have should also dictate the rules regarding the correct procedures for you and your tenants to follow. This ensures that when it comes to aspects like how and when the rent will be paid and how much notice you need to give for repair work for example, all parties are fully aware of their obligations.
How to make this easier for yourself
As an accidental or inexperienced landlord, all this might seem like quite a lot to take in. However, you can get help and support from places like the previously referenced Government sites, as well as charities like Shelter, where useful advice can be found. Equally, you have the option of using a letting agent to manage some of these aspects for you; although this can be expensive.
Another viable solution is to use the Rentr app, which contains a variety of property management tools you can use to assist you in letting your properties yourself. A few of the features available can help you with your responsibilities, for example:
- You can draw up contracts and tenancy agreements using the templates available on the app
- If you use MyDeposit you can store information about your tenants’ deposits for easy reference
- You can directly contact tenants about any issues through the app, rather than having to go through others
- You can find helpful advice, guidance and best practice tips from other landlords
So if you’re about to venture into private landlord lettings, make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re responsible for. Furthermore, if you need an affordable helping hand, be sure to give Rentr a try and you’ll be on your way to a quick and secure let.