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A-Z of Lettings L is for Legal List For Landlords

A-Z of Lettings; L is for Legal List for Landlords.

First things first it is essential that you have permission to Let your property, whether this is from the leaseholder or the mortgage company. It could be a financial disaster if you have committed to renting your property with getting the correct permission.

You will need specialist Landlord insurance. General household insurance is not adequate for rental properties. Most Insurance companies will offer Landlord insurance. However, specialist cover at reduced rates is often available from various Landlord associations or through your local Letting Agent. Certain policies could include a level of rent protection but be aware of the small print as “rent guarantee” offers are not always as they appear.

Most types of property require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Certain graded building do not. It is essential that there is a certificate when your property is advertised and also a copy is given to the incoming tenant. We also, advise that you get the tenant to sign that they have received a copy of the certificate as you will be unable to serve a Section 21 otherwise. This regulation came into force in October 2015.

Gas Safety Certificate: Where a property contains a gas appliance a gas safety certificate must be issued. The safety check must be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer prior to a tenant moving in to the property. A safety check must then be carried out on an annual basis thereafter. A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant. We advise that you get the tenant to sign that they have received a copy of the certificate at the start of the tenancy. Failure to provide a valid certificate and invalidate any notices served to the tenant.

Tenants Deposits: Any deposit taken by a landlord from a tenant must be protected in one of three deposits schemes. A certificate and any prescribed information must be given to the tenant with 30 days of receiving the deposit. Further information can be found here.

If you are providing any furniture with your property you will need to ensure that it complies with current furniture regulations. Items such as soft furnishings, cushions, padded headboards, seat covers and mattresses must be fire retardant and carry the appropriate labels. Furthermore any electrical equipment provided must be safe. It is not mandatory but we would always recommend having items checked for safety at regular intervals by a qualified electrician.

It is a legal requirement that all rental properties in England have to have a smoke alarm on every floor of the property. Also a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in any room where there is a solid fuel appliance i.e. wood burning stove or coal fire. It is advisable to fit a carbon monoxide alarm where a boiler is located. All alarms should be tested on the first day of the tenancy and we recommend getting the tenant to sign that they are all working correctly. Throughout the course of the tenancy the alarms should be tested by the tenant and reported immediately if they are not working.

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