Becoming a landlord can be a wise investment. Whether you decide to rent out an inherited property, your own home, or a property that has been purchased solely to renovate and rent out- becoming a landlord is a rewarding occupation. Nevertheless, there are a lot of legal requirements, property maintenance and tenant welfare obligations to fulfill, and if these are not met to a high standard, then you could face the possibility of losing your landlord status and all of your financial income related to the rented properties. If you’re wanting to seek more advice before you take the plunge into becoming a landlord, here at West London Gas, we have compiled some of our best advice.
Why Should I Become a Landlord?
In Britain, private rental prices have been rising steadily over the past few years. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) states that rent prices have risen since 14.5% since 2011- which is a great way to gain passive income and protect your assets.
Investing in the Right Property:
It’s important to consider what type of tenant you intend to let to. If you want to become a student landlord, then investing in a property with multiple bedrooms and a few bathrooms may be a good idea, or alternatively, a one-bedroom flat may be popular with young couples or working professionals. If you want to provide a rental home for families, a property with a garden may be suitable and more desirable for families with children.
You must be aware that if you are wanting to rent out a property with multiple bedrooms (House in Multiple Occupation, HMO), then you are required to have a license in the UK.
Safety Responsibilities for Landlords:
In England in Scotland, landlords have a legal duty to ensure that your tenants are safe throughout their tenancy in the property. Being a landlord is not an easy occupation to have, and to put it into perspective, there are around 145 pieces of legislation to adhere to by law. By law, it is paramount that the safety of the tenant is a priority- so everything in the property needs to be fit for purpose. Some things to consider are:
- Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants. This is a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. For more information, check out Landlord Gas Safety Inspections | West London Gas
- All electrical cables and equipment will need to be inspected and tested by a professional in accordance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations. This includes things such as fitted kitchen appliances and showers. Once this is done, an Electrical Installation Safety Report will need to be provided.
- Taking the time to account for all maintenance and refurbishments, for example if there is something that needs urgent attention such as a gas leak, you may need to spring into action.
- Ensuring you have an Energy Performance Certificate.
- Carrying out fire safety checks.
- Keeping your tenants deposit safe in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
How to Get Your Property Ready:
Preparing your home in advance is key. The legal side of renting out a property is often lengthy, so adding time onto that process by not having your property ready may be to the dismay of your soon-to-be tenants. Ideally, you want your tenants to be able to move into a clean and furnished house but remember it’s the landlord’s choice how much furniture comes with the property- however this should also be reflected in the price of rent. When getting your property ready for your tenants, here’s a few things to consider:
- Remove anything from the property that is fragile or precious as it may be a safety hazard.
- Making sure all repairs have been carried out and checks on electrical, gas and plumbing systems.
- Checking all appliances are in working order- such as kettles, toasters and shower.
- Updating the property (a mini makeover if you will). Think about the condition of mattresses, shower curtains etc.
Becoming a landlord can be a rewarding job. In addition to the luxury of passive income, you can change peoples lives for the better by providing them with a roof over their head, and often make friends for life. However, there are many responsibilities and regulations that have to be met before you can reap the benefits. The safety and wellbeing of your tenants and building should always be a priority, as these people rely on you to make their tenancy as safe and comfortable as possible. Ensuring you meet all the legal requirements too is absolutely essential, as you don’t want to end up in any legal hot water whilst trying to become a landlord. If you’re seeking to become a landlord, its vital that you conduct thorough research in every field before you commit to the task. Speaking to other landlords, tenants, accountants, estate agents and the council will aid in your quest to become a landlord.