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Anyone thinking of renting out a property should be aware of legal obligations before proceeding.
Stockton Council, in partnership with the Government's advisory body, Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), has issued a checklist that potential landlords should refer to before proceeding with a property rental.
- Talk to your mortgage lender.
- Get references from potential tenants.
- Prepare a formal tenancy agreement.
- If you take a deposit, it must be properly protected.
- Find out if you need a property licence.
- Get all gas and electrical appliances checked.
- Obtain an energy performance certificate.
- Minimise the risk of fire.
- Ensure that your property presents no risk to your tenants' health and safety.
Failing to talk to a mortgage lender could see people lose their home, while not storing a tenant's deposit in an approved deposit protection scheme could cost landlords three times over.
Failing to apply for a licence for a licensable property could result in a prosecution where a Magistrates Court could impose an unlimited fine or the issue of a Civil Penalty by the Council of up to £30,000.
Handbook for landlords
Renting out properties can unearth a minefield of problems. A useful handbook for landlords has been issued to help you keep on the right side of the law, protect your property and maintain your reputation as a good landlord.
The book covers issues such as:
- Welfare reform and the Local Housing Allowance
- Changes to tenancy deposit protection
- Property inspections
- Responsibilities and liabilities of the landlord
- Setting up a tenancy
- Ending a tenancy
Take a look at the handbook to get all the information you will need to be a great landlord.
Checklist for landlords
Although there is no specific training required to become a landlord in England there is a lot of legislation that if not followed could result in serious consequences, both in relation to the health and safety of the occupants and potential legal issues for a landlord. Therefore, we have produced a checklist to help you ensure that you are fully aware of your responsibilities and how to comply with all relevant legislation.
This checklist is not exhaustive and legislation is likely to change at any time so if in doubt contact the Private Sector Housing Division or a Solicitor.
- Before renting out a property get permission from your mortgage lender.
- Check with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate protection and advise tenants to obtain contents insurance.
- Review Stockton Rental Standard.
- Have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available for prospective tenants to view.
- Complete annual gas safety checks Gas safety - landlords and letting agents.
- Have a written tenancy agreement suitable to your lettings.
Read a guide for Landlords on GOV.UK.
- Within 30 days of receipt protect deposits under a Government Approved Scheme. Visit the Deposit Protection Service website for further information.
- Provide tenants with a copy of How to Rent - the checklist for renting in England.
- Ensure that you provide working Smoke detection, suitably located on each floor and Carbon Monoxide detection in any rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance. The following documents will be help in understanding your responsibilities:
- Ensure you conduct Right to Rent checks and keep copies of the appropriate documentation.
Read the Right to rent immigration checks: landlords' code of practice on GOV.UK.
- If the property is shared by more than two people check whether or not the property is an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and if so you must comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. If the property is determined to be an HMO you must also confirm if it is licensable and if so complete a licence application.
- Contact the Council's Planning Team to get approval for major improvement work you are planning for the property.
- Contact the Council's Building Control Team to check if you need to apply for Building Regulations.
- Ensure there is adequate heating and insulation.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for further information.
- To ensure you are kept up to date on private renting matters join the Council's Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
Deposit protection services
How to rent
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations
Right to rent
Houses in multiple occupation