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The Legal Requirements for Landlords

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Whilst the press emphasises how difficult it is to rent accommodation in London, Landlord and Tenant Solicitors appreciate that it is no walk in the park being a London landlord. Whether you are a professional landlord with a property portfolio or an accidental landlord renting out your own home because you are relocating with your job, you need to follow the same landlord legal requirements.

In this blog, our Landlord and Tenant Solicitors run through the legal requirements for landlords.

UK Online and London-Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For advice on landlord and tenant law or to book a consultation call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Why legal requirements for landlords matter

You may think that the legal requirements for landlords are too complicated or will take too much time to comply with. Landlord and Tenant Solicitors would agree with you BUT compliance is not optional because of the potential ramifications if you do not comply.

These include:

  1. Difficulties with getting your tenants out of your property
  2. Risk of massive fines
  3. Facing civil or criminal proceedings
  4. Lack of valid insurance
  5. Prevented from getting an HMO licence in future
  6. Finding it difficult to get a mortgage or insurance in the future

Some landlords think that they won't be unlucky and won't get caught out. The attitude of Landlord and Tenant Solicitors is that the risks are not worth it. If you do not have the time or the energy to comply with your legal requirements then renting property out is not suitable for you unless you are prepared to delegate the job to professional letting agents and Landlord and Tenant Solicitors.

A landlord’s legal requirements

A landlord’s legal requirements can be summarised as falling within 2 categories:

  1. Providing a safe rental property for their tenants
  2. Legally being allowed to rent to their tenants

There are other things that you should do to legally safeguard your position, such as ensuring you get tenants to sign a tenancy agreement before renting a property, making sure you comply with tenant deposit rules or avoiding discrimination when choosing who should rent your property.

Providing a safe rental property for the tenant

Whilst you can decide to not check your boiler or electrics in your family home ignoring safety checks is not an option if you are renting a property out to a tenant.

The law imposes wide-ranging tenant safety obligations on you. These obligations apply whether you are renting out a one-bed flat or a four-bed family home.

The safety obligations include:

  1. Gas Safety Check - an annual Gas Safety check is required from a Gas Safe engineer. The tenant must be given a copy of the certificate at the start of the tenancy agreement and within 28 days of the annual inspection
  2. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)- this certificate needs to be provided to tenants so they understand the property’s energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. Certificates are valid for 10 years but can be updated earlier if you carry out home improvements and want to show prospective tenants that the property’s energy efficiency has improved
  3. Electrical Safety Standards Inspection/Report (EICR)- the law says that landlords must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). The report is valid for 5 years and another inspection and report is then needed. The report must be given to a new tenant before they occupy the property and any additional 5-year reports must also be given to the tenant

Legally being allowed to rent to a tenant

Although a landlord owns their property, the law says that you cannot rent the property to someone of your choosing without first checking that they have the right to rent in England and Wales.

If a property owner rents out a property without conducting a right-to-rent check (or does not carry out the right-to-rent check following the latest regulations) then they do not get a statutory excuse to protect them against Civil Penalty Notices and fines.

A landlord can be fined £10,000 for a first-time offence of renting a property to a tenant who does not have the right to rent. The fine increases to up to £20,000 for a repeat offence.

Landlords can also be caught out by not having a house in multiple occupation licence issued by the local authority where the property is situated. The rules are confusing as different rules on what amounts to a house in multiple occupation are applied by councils so a professional landlord could have 2 or 3 similar size properties in different areas but only 1 will require an HMO licence.

How can OTS Solicitors help with your landlord and tenant legal needs and questions?

At OTS Solicitors our Landlord and Tenant Lawyers understand whether you are an accidental first-time landlord renting out your own home or a professional landlord hoping to grow your property portfolio that you need speedy expert legal advice you can rely on so you can get to grips with your legal responsibilities and tenant rights.

Our Landlord and Tenant Solicitors work with you or your letting agent and accountant to provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of landlord and tenant law ranging from tenancy agreement advice, deposit disputes, possession proceedings and evictions.

UK Online and London-Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For advice on landlord and tenant law or to book a consultation call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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