As a buy-to-let landlord, there are a whole load of regulations that you and your properties must adhere to. Many of them are already covered by simple common sense, but there are some you may not be immediately aware of.
According to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994, every landlord must adhere to annual inspections of all gas appliances, as well as their supply.
All inspections must be carried out by a Corgi Registered Gas Engineer. If you fail to do so, the result could be criminal prosecution and a considerably large fine; anything up to £25,000.
As the landlord, you are responsible for keeping a record of all inspections on an individual appliance basis. This record must be made available to all tenants.
At the start of every tenancy, an electrical safety check must be carried out in every kitchen and bathroom. It must be done so by a Part P qualified electrician.
Any failure to comply would be in breach the Consumer Protection Act 1987; a criminal offence. You could end up serving a 6-month prison sentence for neglecting your duty of care.
As well as an inspection before every new tenancy, the very least you are obliged to do is an annual electrical safety inspection but it is strongly recommended that you have your property inspected far more regularly.
It is widely believed among landlords that they are obliged to take a security deposit from their tenants and store it with one of the government back schemes. It’s not true.
Firstly, you are under no obligation to take a deposit of any sorts. It’s your property so it’s your choice.
You can even opt for a deposit alternative that offers 8 weeks' worth of end-of-tenancy protection (beating the 5 weeks' cap).
Because you’re likely to have an awful lot of money invested in your property interests, landlord insurance is a must. It will cover you for fire and water damage, and it is something that most mortgage lenders will insist you have in place.
Standard home insurance is not enough for a buy-to-let landlord. One key reason for this is that landlord insurance will also cover you for any loss of income due to tenants not paying rent.
Many companies will include contents insurance with their landlord insurance, so everything in your property will also be covered.
Furniture and Fire safety
It might seem silly at first, but all of your furnishings must fully comply with the current fire regulations. Failure to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations is a criminal offence and can result in a 6-month prison sentence.
All upholstery must be made from fire resistant materials, including bedding, pillows and mattresses. When furniture is confirmed as compliant, a small label will be permanently attached to it. If furniture was made before 1988, it is highly likely that it will not comply with the regulations.
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