Compliance with government letting regulations is an essential part of being a landlord. You must do your own research and make sure you are fully informed of the legal requirements and best practice before you begin your journey into buy-to-lets. Here is a short guide to some of the essential letting documents, certificates and agreements that you and your tenants need to have copies of.
AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) Agreement
The most common form of tenancy agreement is the AST. A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It should contain all the details of the tenancy including agreed rental length, what is included with the property, what isn’t allowed in the property etc. By law a written tenancy agreement isn’t obligatory unless the agreement is for more than three years but it is really essential. This type of tenancy agreement offers tenants and landlords the best protection and also that tenants deposits must be protected. Tenants deposits should be protected by a deposit protection scheme and information regarding its protection should be given to the tenant within 14 days.
How to Rent Guide
Landlords must provide all tenants with a copy of the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide available on the gov.uk website.
Right to Rent
It is the landlord’s responsibility to check a tenants ‘right to rent’ in the UK. The best practice is to make this part of your tenant screening and application process, you need to have copies of valid passports and visas for everyone living in the house to establish their right to rent in the UK.
Gas supply and gas appliances must be annually inspected. This must be carried out by a Registered Gas Engineer registered with Capita in order to meet legal requirements. Tenants should be given a copy of safety certificates.
Before each tenant comes into the property an electrical safety test must be carried out by a Part P qualified electrician. Once the tenant is in the property the minimum requirement for landlords is an annual electrical safety inspection (i.e. the Enhanced Electrical inspection or”E2”), which includes the electrical equipment. Tenants should be given a copy of safety certificates.
It is a legal requirement that any property available to rent has an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate Energy Efficiency takes into account factors such as insulation, heating and hot water systems, ventilation and fuels used. The tenant must have access to a copy of the EPC and they have the right to request to make change to increase the energy efficiency of the house, although it would be at their own expense.
One of the best ways to ensure your compliance with statutory requirements is to ask the advice of an expert. Here at Nick Fox Property Mentoring we have a variety of resources available to help first time landlords on their journey to property investment success. Please get in touch to see how we can help you.
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