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Becoming A Landlord – What Are Your Legal Responsibilities?

Renting out a property is one of the best ways to make a profitable passive income. If done well, you can expect a healthy return on investment from a regular income source that can see you through to retirement.
 
However, it’s not just a case of sticking your property on the books of a letting agency. Then waiting for your tenants to walk through the door. You may have just invested in a buy-to-let, or you’re planning to rent out a property you already own. Either way there are some important legal responsibilities you need to be aware of.
 
Here’s a look at the legal regulations you’ll need to comply with when you become a landlord.
 

Safety Regulations

 
As a landlord, you need to ensure your property is safe to rent. Check for any signs of damp and mould and general wear and tear damage. Then carry out any necessary repairs before the tenants move in. You’ll also need:
 
  • A gas safety certificate; all gas appliances must by checked by a registered Gas Safety engineer. This is to ensure they are properly installed and running safely. Carry out inspections yearly on the gas appliances. You must provide the tenants with a copy of the certificate. Read our article for more information on recent changes to gas safety certificates.
 
  • An electrical safety check; carry these out before the tenancy begins. This is to ensure that all electrical appliances, lights, sockets and wiring is safe and comply with the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations.
 
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of the property. And a CO2 alarm in any room that has a solid fuel burner. If the property is an HMO, fire alarms and fire extinguishers are also required.
 
  • If renting out a furnished property, all soft furnishings must adhere to the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations. This includes items such as beds, sofas, mattresses, and even cushions. Also, each item must have a “Carelessness Causes Fire” label attached.
 

Energy Performance Certificate

 
Before you rent out your property you are now required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a minimum rating of E. This contains information on typical energy costs, and recommendations on reducing energy consumption. An accredited assessor must carry these out, they are valid for 10 years.
 

Tenancy Deposit Protection

 
All deposit payments must be paid into a Government backed, Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme (TDP). This applies to all shorthold tenancies in the UK.
 

Landlords Insurance

 
Although not technically a legal requirement, landlords insurance will cover you for extras such as fire, flood, and malicious damage. Normal home insurance won’t. It can also protect you from rental payment defaults and tenant liability claims if they injure themselves while living in your property.
 
Also, bear in mind, your mortgage company will insist that you have dedicated Landlords Insurance in place on a buy-to-let property.
 
For more information and advice on landlords insurance, request a call back for one of the team to call you back.

The Difference Between Residential and Landlord Insurance

When you rent out a property, in whatever capacity, you need to have the right insurance in place for both you and your tenant.
 
Even if you’ve got residential insurance, it won’t be enough. Renting out a property brings a whole new set of risks with it. You need to be sure that your investment is as secure and as protected as possible.
 
Landlords insurance covers a whole range of risks that your residential insurance won’t. You run the risk of a claim rejection if you tried to claim on the residential insurance on your rental property.
 
So what are the main differences between Residential Building and Landlords Insurance?
 
Landlord insurance covers everything your residential insurance does such as buildings and contents. It can be tailored, though, and extended to cover tenanted property risks such as:
 

Re-housing Costs/Loss of Rent

 
This will cover if your property becomes uninhabitable due to insured events such as flooding or fire damage. Your residential insurance won’t cover this. Landlords insurance can also cover non-payments by defaulting tenants. It also allows for vacant periods between tenancies.
 

Malicious Damage/Theft

 
Landlords insurance covers wilful damage caused by tenants, unlawful activities and theft. Residential insurance will only cover acts of vandalism to your property,
 
It’s advisable to thoroughly screen tenants before letting your property. Even so, there’s no 100% guarantee that they will treat your property with respect. Landlords insurance gives you extra peace of mind that if your tenants mistreat your property, you’re covered.
 

Liability Cover

 
On the other hand, as a landlord, you have a duty of care to your tenants. Residential insurance public liability will cover you if someone injures themselves such as a tradesman or a guest. However, it won’t cover any accidents and injuries to your tenants. Serious injuries that result from landlord negligence like loose tiles, water leaks, broken floorboards or ripped carpeting could result in a hefty claim from your tenant. Without the right insurance, you could end up facing crippling costs that will affect your cash flow. Read more about the Human Habitation Bill and what it means for you as a landlord.
 

Legal Expenses

 
As your rental property qualifies as a business, you’ll need the right kind of insurance for legal liabilities. This is in the event that a tenant makes a claim against you. Or for you yourself if you intend to take a tenant to court for non payment of rent.
 
Landlords insurance may not be a compulsory legal requirement, but are you prepared to take the risk?
 
As landlords insurance specialists we can offer a tailored policy to cover all your requirements.
 

For competitive commercial insurance call us now

01273 827090


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