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Landlord Regulations: What you need to know

When renting a property, it's imperative that you keep up to date with landlord regulations. We take a look at what you need to do.

As a landlord, it’s imperative that you are up to date with the legal requirements you need to meet before you can rent out your property. Any breach of regulations can lead to substantial fines and potentially invalidate your insurance. It’s important to know what you need to do and when to ensure you are complying with the current landlord regulations. We’ve had a look at some of the most important things a landlord must do before a tenancy can begin.

Energy Performance Certificate

Since 2007, it has been a legal requirement that all properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate before they can be advertised to rent. An EPC is valid for 10 years and can be arranged through your agent for a small fee. An EPC shows how energy efficient your property is. Gradings are from A to G, with A being the highest rating that can be achieved.

Period properties tend to get a lower band rating than modern homes, as they often have single glazing, uninsulated lofts or open fireplaces. It is possible to improve your EPC rating should you need to do so, and you will be offered advice from your EPC provider on how to achieve a higher rating. New regulations have come into force this year that require all rental properties to have a grading of E or above, before the property is marketed.

Portable Appliance Testing

Although a Portable Appliance Test is not a legal requirement, a landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that any electrical equipment in the property is maintained and safe, and a PAT ensures you have complied. The easiest way to ensure that you meet the regulations is to have your electrical equipment such as kettles, toasters and microwaves tested before you start each tenancy. This can also be arranged by your agent.

Gas Safety Certificate

If your property has gas it is a legal requirement to annually provide a Gas Safety Certificate. This must be kept up to date and still be valid at the start of any tenancy. All gas appliances and flues must also be safety checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer, which can normally be done in conjunction with your gas safety certificate.

Alarm installation

Any rental property must be fitted with smoke alarms, as well as carbon monoxide alarms if the property has any gas appliances before a tenancy begins. There must be a working smoke alarm fitted for each floor of a property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a fuel burning appliance.

Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Scheme

Since 2007, all deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (almost all new tenancies are AST) must be registered with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme and cannot legally be held by the landlord. If you are using an agent to rent out your property then the agent will normally place the deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme on your behalf.

HMO

Changes to regulations and the definition of what a House of Multiple Occupancy is have come into play this year. The new definition of an HMO for licensing purposes is any property occupied by five or more people, forming two or more separate households. If your property now falls in to this category, you will need to apply for a license to rent through your council. You will also need to check that your property complies with the revised regulations and if it does not, you will need to ensure you meet them before a tenancy can begin.

Tax

You must declare any income you receive from a rental property to HMRC and you are legally obliged to pay income tax on the full amount.

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