Being a landlord is an investment in your future and your tenant is paying towards it. It is your responsibility to make sure you have made all of the necessary precautions towards keeping your tenant(s) safe.
You, as the landlord, have five main duties to your tenant. This can be a lot to take on, especially if you have bought the property as a financial investment and don’t live nearby. Some of these you will be able to do yourself if you wish, but they can also be outsourced.
Your first requirement is to make sure your rental property safe and free from health hazards and do all that you can to keep it safe. Consider the property from the perspective that; if you were to move in with your young children, would you feel that they were living in a safe property? This can be as simple as making sure that everything that is meant to be screwed to the wall is. If you have the D.I.Y skills, this may be something you are very happy and capable to sort for yourself. It is well worth considering, especially if you do not live in the area, finding a recommended person who can do all of these minor jobs for you. If you are using a letting agent, then ask them! There is also the CheckATrade website where you can search for the skills you require and read reviews of the previous customers of the companies. If you are paying for a fully managed letting, there may be some assistance included in your contract – read it! Depending on the age of your property, you may need to check for asbestos. This is an area that you will have to outsource as to remove and dispose of it requires a license.
A Corgi Approved and qualified electrician must install and maintain all gas and electrical equipment you supply. A Gas Saftey registered and qualified enginer will need to cary out gas safety checks out every 5 years. It is also essential to have a qualified person for any call outs that your property might need. Gas can easily be lethal and you must keep everything in safe working condition.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must now be obtained before you offer your property for rent. Unless you are certified, this is another task you must outsource to a qualified person. An EPC includes information about energy use and typical costs for your property, and recommendations to reduce energy and therefore save money. Your property will be given an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Regardless of the size of your property, this is likely to be of interest to potential tenants as it will indicate how much they will need to put aside for bills a month.
Fire safety is another area that you, the landlord, must take very seriously. While not statutory for some properties (your letting agent can advise), it is good practice and demonstrates care for your tenant, to consider a fire risk assessment. Alarmed smoke detectors should be installed and maintained. Take advice from your letting agent regarding fire prevention and fire safety equipment. Consider how someone may be able to exit your property in an emergency and get advice on it if you are not sure. If you contact your local fire station, they will often come and give you advice on your property for a small donation.
As a landlord, you have the duty to protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme. In England and Wales, you have three options. The Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured), MyDeposits and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. You can get more information on the Gov.uk website. If you are using a lettings agent, this should all be part of your management fee.
There are jobs discussed above that you can carry out personally if you are capable and jobs that require a qualified person to complete for you. You may need to organise this, your lettings agent may be able to advise on, or your lettings agent will include this in their fees. When you start a rental agreement with your letting agent, they will set out in their terms of business what tasks they will carry out for you. Read the small print and make sure you know the answers!