If you are renting out a property, or are considering renovating your home (for example, adding a loft conversion) with the intention of then becoming a landlord, then there are a number of different laws you need to be aware of, prior to becoming one. We take you through the main laws governing how to rent property in the UK.
Whilst the law in England does not specifically state a written tenancy agreement, it is considered best practice to do so, and as a landlord, you are recommended to arrange this, as it clarifies the rights and responsibilities of both you and the tenant.
The standard agreement that is used is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) which can be valid for as long as tenant and landlord agree to. This can be up to seven years, with a minimum of six months.
Using letting agents
When it comes to letting agents if you decide to use one when renting out a property, it is in your best interest to use one that is a member of a professional body, like ARLA. That means that in the event something goes wrong (for example, the letting agent runs off with your hard earned cash, or the company goes into liquidation) you will be reimbursed by the ARLA. If you choose an agent who isn’t a member from a professional service, you could end up having to refund your tenant the deposit and lose rent money if the firm goes bust.
Tenancy deposit protection
When you get the deposit from your tenant, it is necessary for you to register it with one of the Government’s tenancy deposit protection schemes. These are DPS, TDS or mydeposits. You will be required to provide the Prescribed Information and the certification to your tenant within 30 days. If you do not, you could be penalised: it may end up in a court order requiring you to pay the deposit in full back, plus a fine. This could be as much as up to three times the original deposit amount.
Other documentation you must provide your tenant
There are other types of documentation you will need to give your tenant too. If you do not, then you will find that it will be very difficult to evict the tenant in the event that things go wrong and you end up in court. The documents you should provide are:
A valid Gas Safety certificate
- A valid Energy Performance Certificate
- Property license that is required by the local authority in your area
- A copy of the DCLG How to Rent guide
If you have a large HMO (this is stated as a property with more than two floors and at least five unrelated people who share common facilities like a bathroom or kitchen) it will need to be licensed. There may also be additional licensing required, but this will need to be verified with your local authority.
Right to Rent checks
From 1st February 2016, it is now a legal requirement for all adult occupiers within a new tenancy agreement to meet a Right to Rent check. That means that for you as a landlord, you will need to carry out ID checks when renting out your property.
As a landlord, you must abide by the Equality Act 2010, which stipulates that you must not discriminate against any tenant on the basis of disability, race or sexual orientation.