Landlord Responsibilities and How to be a Good Landlord
Before learning how to become a good landlord for your tenants, it is useful to understand some set in stone, landlord responsibilities. These are obligations that you must abide by to be a successful landlord for both yourself and your tenants.
Please scroll to find the following sections of this guide
Health & Safety Responsibilities
Financial and legal responsibilities
How to be a good landlord
These landlord responsibilities vary between a few specific topics such as; safety, finance and regulations.
In this article we are going to cover off as many landlord responsibilities as possible, due to there being so many legislations and regulations, we cannot go through every single one, instead we will cover off the most important. Please use the government how to rent checklist or speak to us to learn more.
Health & Safety Responsibilities
There are a large number of landlord health and safety responsibilities for private landlords, it is important to understand them all. Below we have listed the most important whilst going into detail about a few of them a bit further into the article.
Make sure all gas (Jump link to gas safety) and electrical (Jump link to electrical safety) equipment is safely installed and maintained
Provide Energy Performance Certificates (ECPs) for all new tenants. This document contains information about the properties energy use and typical costs while also recommending how to reduce energy cost to save money.
Fit and test smoke & carbon monoxide alarms while following safety regulations.
Provide fire extinguishers if the property is a HMO.
Make sure there are appropriate locks on doors and windows for security.
Provide a written risk assessment. - This can be done by a fire safety specialist and can also include clear escape routes
If you are providing a furnished property, all furniture must meet fire safety regulations
If there is asbestos at the property, landlords must inform tenants and communicate where the issue is located to ensure tenants are avoid this at all times. You should actively take measures to prevent harm caused from asbestos.
Health and safety legislation requires risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria.
All of these obligations are necessary in providing a safe property for your tenant.
Tenants may ask for a health & safety inspection at some point if issues occur. This is carried out by the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This can also occur if the Council is doing a survey of local properties in the area. As a landlord, you should have nothing to worry about if the property is well maintained and safe.
We have managed to pull a fairly extensive list for you, but this does not cover all in detail, it is important you follow government guidelines and regulations in renting your property.
When it comes to Gas Safety, there are a few requirements of landlords. These are all fairly simple but very important.
The first of these responsibilities is to ensure that all gas supplies are installed correctly and maintained regularly. A Gas Safe registered engineer should carry out checks once every 12 months, this therefore ensures that gas appliances are safe for tenants to use.
In fact, carrying out gas safety checks is law and you must provide a copy of this certificate to new or existing tenants within 28 days of the check.
It is the landlords responsibility to test and ensure that all appliances are working and safe to use for all tenants. You could carry out an installation Survey or Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) so you can be sure you are compliant.
During the test and inspection procedure, a conduction report is issued of the electrical installation including:
- The condition of electrical appliances(sockets, light fittings and switches ect.)
- The condition of the distribution board (appropriate fuse board, correct fuse ratings, correct wiring colours ect.)
- Satisfactory wiring condition obtained from electrical circuit testing
The electrics in the house should be tested and inspected every 5 years or if a tenancy changes to ensure safety of all electrics and provide appliances. This will be proved with a condition report from a competent, qualified electrician with 18th edition wiring regulations (bs 7671) and electrical test and inspection (bs 2391)
Financial and Legal responsibilities
There are a number of financial and legal responsibilities for landlords, no matter your situation.
Inform your mortgage lender
The first of the financial and legal responsibilities for landlords is to inform your mortgage lender that you will be renting out this property. Failure to inform the lender can have dire consequences on your mortgage, such as; viewing this as mortgage fraud and demanding you to pay the mortgage up front or face repossession of the property.
The consequences for this do not outweigh the benefits so we’d advise you do not let your property without consulting with your lender.
Your first aim should be to seek whether the lender will allow you to change your residential mortgage for a buy-to-let mortgage. There is also a case for asking about a consent to let mortgage which allows you to rent your home on a residential mortgage.
Rental income is added to any other relevant income you are currently receiving, therefore it is important you understand the full implications on your income tax and capital gains tax.
This guide from Money Advice Services covers all grounds on the tax implications on landlords.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The Tenancy Deposit scheme is an insurance backed deposit protection scheme backed by the Government. All letting agents must offer this service, as you can see at the bottom of every one of our pages, we are members of this scheme.
This scheme is a legal requirement by all landlords, at Black Rock Lettings, we are a member of Client Money Protect which ensures that we protect all tenant deposits. This scheme protects tenants by making sure they get the deposit back – as long as they pay rent, meet the terms of their tenancy agreement and don’t damage the property.
The main legal responsibilities as a landlord
You have many legal responsibilities that you must comply with as a landlord, here are the 5 most important:
Having a legal tenancy agreement
Safety of gas and electrical appliances you supply
Providing an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
Protecting your tenants’ deposits in a government-approved scheme such as Client Manage Protect..
Ensuring tenants have the right to rent the property in England.
To rent out your property in England, you should have an in-depth read of the how to rent government documentation. This will ensure that you comply with all regulations and match all responsibilities of being a landlord.
We will now move onto one of the most misunderstood parts of being a landlord, which is repair responsibilities.
Landlord repair responsibilities
This section is one of the most important things to get right. Repairs often cause friction between landlords and tenants by neither parties understanding the rules for repairs on the rental property.
A statement which is unfortunately not fully understood is that landlords are responsible for most repairs in your home, despite what the tenancy agreement says.
It is common for private landlords to state that all repairs must be carried out by the tenant, when in fact that is not true.
The landlord is responsible for repairs such as:
gas pipes and boilers
heating and hot water
chimneys and ventilation
sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
common areas including entrance halls and stairways
the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
Normal wear and tear
Whereas repairs where tenants are responsible is limited to just the following three:
fixing appliances or furniture you own
damage caused by the tenant, their family or guests
any minor repairs set out in your tenancy agreement
Therefore, when looking at both of these lists, it is much easier to understand responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.
As you can tell, these responsibilities are quite extensive, but there are also soft responsibilities in being a good landlord. None of these are legal requirements but are advised if you want to provide your tenants a good experience.
How to be a good landlord
It goes without saying but providing your tenants with a happy stay at your property is one of the most important aspects of being a landlord. If you are unable to provide your tenants with an enjoyable tenancy then you are going to struggle in being a landlord.
Letting to bad tenants
One of the first ways you can be a good landlord actually involves the tenants. That is, to avoid letting to bad tenants.
We understand that you want someone in the property as fast as possible to help you pay the mortgage among other financial factors. But, don’t rush into it because it will come back to bite you.
When finding tenants it is important you carry out the full screening process and meet them and talk to them yourself so that you know that you’re letting to the right people. You don’t want to be having to chase rental payments or them to cause damage to the property.
Whilst letting to bad tenants is the first thing to avoid, the relationship goes both ways. Therefore, you must also be approachable, friendly and be willing to help them in enjoying their tenancy.
There are a few things here to ensure that you are approachable:
Be friendly - This should go without saying, but these people are like customers, you shouldn’t treat them badly otherwise they will go elsewhere.
Ensure that they can contact you easily but in a professional manner. Explain that you are contactable if they need help with anything to do with the property.
Dress neatly - If you want to ensure a professional relationship, it is important to act like a professional. Don’t turn up in tracksuit bottoms and an old t shirt to show them around the property because it just looks like you don’t care
Stay calm - If you react badly to repair responsibilities or micro manage what they do, the tenants will get fed up and you will likely end up with a very short tenancy.
Staying approachable and appearing professional is important in having a successful tenancy. But we’d advise that you also give your tenants enough distance.
Give tenants space
When the tenants have moved into the property, you should leave them to it. There is no reason to micro manage them or the property if you have chosen the right tenants.
You need to trust that they will treat the property well. That trust goes a long way in keeping happy tenants for a long period of time.
Treat it like a business
Your property is your business, you should have processes in place to make sure you can cover your mortgage, pay for repairs and not lose money from your property. Ensuring you have the right process is essential in becoming a successful landlord.
Being a Landlord can be very time consuming and will require you being on top of current legislation at all times.
At Black Rock Lettings we can ensure your property is fully managed by our dedicated, experienced team.