So you have just bought a ‘buy to let’ property, or maybe you have inherited it from Auntie, and you are thinking of renting it out to tenants.
Good idea, but before you do anything there are a number of things you need to sort out to make sure you are doing things legally.
If you own a freehold property without a mortgage you may not need to worry about this. However:
If you are going to rent to three or more people who are not family, this will usually be classed as an HMO property where special rules apply.
Two things to check first:
Both of these can be answered by your Local Authority so you should have a word with the housing department and get their advice. Note that in some areas, you will need to get a license even if you don’t have an HMO – so probably worth checking with them anyway!
I will be writing more about renting to sharers later on in this series.
Rented properties need to be in good condition. Otherwise
You should also get the following checks done:
It is best to make sure the property is in tip top condition at the time it is let as it will make things easier for you – plus it is difficult to get work done on properties if someone is living there.
Don’t forget also that furniture and fittings need to comply with the furniture regulations and carry the correct labels.
If you have any electrical appliances which are not new, consider getting a PAT certificate for them (PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing). You will find more information by doing a search on the internet.
This is a big one. At the moment you need to get an Energy Performance Certificate before advertising your property to let and you must give a copy of this to prospective tenants.
However from April 2018 there is a requirement that all properties will need to have minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate. There is a useful information page on the Residential Landlords Association page here.
It is important that you get all necessary permissions and ensure that your property is in tip top condition before you start to advertise to rent. The authorities are getting more particular about standards and more and more prosecutions are being brought against landlords.
It is unwise to assume this ‘won’t happen to you’ so make sure you do all you can to sort things out properly from the start.
Next time I will be looking at checking tenants.
Tessa is a lawyer specialising in landlord & tenant law and runs the popular Landlord Law online service for landlords.