13:17 PM, 17th January 2011, About 12 years ago
Landlords are often fined huge sums in court for failing to maintain their properties. Some deserve their fines but many others are confused by the law and rely on advice from letting agents and other property professionals who may not know much better themselves.
This troubleshooting guide for buy to let landlords answers many of the most common questions:
Property owners must make sure a home is fit to live in and are responsible for repairs to the structure of the building plus water and gas pipes, electric wiring, basins, sinks, baths, toilets and any fixed heaters or water heaters.
Gas safety checks
Boilers and appliances must have an annual check by an engineer listed on the Gas Safe Register. Tenants should have a copy of certificates issued by the engineer.
If you have a mortgage, the lender probably stipulates you must have adequate buildings cover. Landlords insurance that covers liability is not compulsory but a good idea.
Any money held on deposit for a tenant should go in to a protection scheme – the principle is sound but the lawyers are still out on when the money needs placing on deposit due to unclear wording of the rules.
Letting shared homes or ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs) is a big headache for landlords because special rules come in to play involving planning and licensing. These rules can vary from council to council.
All homes of three or more floors shared by five separate households require a mandatory licence.
Small HMOs – ordinary flats and houses – shared by three separate households may need a licence in some areas, so check this out with the council.
New HMOs may require planning permission as well, so don’t forget to ask the council before you buy or start conversion work.
Every let should have a tenancy agreement, which is essentially a contract laying out the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant.
Energy performance certificates (EPCs)
Every buy to let property or HMO should have an EPC by law.
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