The Legal Responsibilities and Regulations of a UK Landlord: All You Need to Know
Whether you’re an experienced landlord who has been managing a portfolio of properties for many years, or a new landlord starting out with your first buy-to-let property, understanding your legal obligations as a landlord helps you to protect your investment, yourself, and your tenants.
There’s a whole host of legal obligations, responsibilities and regulations to get to grips with. It’s also worth noting that the private rental sector is subject to frequent changes in legislation, so you need to make sure you’re always up to date.
Whilst there’s plenty of information on the government website, here at ZFA Group we have years of experience helping landlords manage their properties and maximise their investment. Check out our guide below for all you need to know on the legal responsibilities and regulations of being a UK landlord.
The law states that private landlords in England must check the identity of everyone who is 18 and over and is expected to live in your property, to ensure that they are legally allowed to rent. Make sure to check all new tenants as you must not discriminate against anyone. You must check their original documents which can be any of the following:
By law, you must provide your tenant with:
You also need to have a written tenancy agreement, signed by yourself and the tenant. This should include everything from the rental price and how and when it’s paid, to details on the deposit, to the dates of the tenancy and the clauses for ending the tenancy. This formal agreement clearly sets out the responsibilities of both parties from the outset whilst protecting your position and regulating the tenant’s use of your property.
Landlords are responsible for most repairs to the exterior and the structure of the property. This includes electrical wiring, gas systems and appliances, heating and hot water, ventilation and pipework. Often white goods such as fridges or washing machines are also the responsibility of the landlord to fix and replace if they’ve been supplied by the landlord and included in the tenancy agreement. It’s important to ensure the property is suitable to live in throughout the course of a tenancy, as tenants can take you to court over issues such as damp and mould if they believe you haven’t fulfilled your responsibilities. Not to worry, here at ZFA Group as part of our guaranteed rent scheme we offer a free property maintenance service to all of our landlords. Find out more here.
Since 2007 the law has required landlords in England and Wales to safeguard their tenants’ deposits in one of the three government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes. You aren’t obliged to take a security deposit from your tenant, but it is advisable. While most tenants are responsible and will look after their home well, the deposit gives you a safety net in case damage is caused to the property or furnishings. You must notify your tenants within 30 days of receiving their deposit of the TDP scheme you’re using, and the full amount must be returned to them at the end of the tenancy unless there’s a dispute over damage to the property or unpaid rent.
Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their tenants. This applies to the 4 following areas:
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 require landlords to make sure that the gas supply and all gas appliances in the property are in a safe condition. They should be fitted, repaired and checked every year by a registered engineer.
Under the furniture and furnishings regulations 1988, landlords must make sure that any upholstered furniture provided is fire resistant. Working smoke alarms must be installed on each floor and carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in any rooms with a coal fire or wood-burning stove.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 require you to make sure that wiring, plug sockets and any electrical appliances which you have provided are safe. Make sure all appliances have a portable appliance test (PAT) by a qualified engineer before a new tenancy starts and that regular safety checks are undertaken.
Anyone renting out or selling property in the UK needs an EPC. These measures how energy efficient the property is by giving your property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Since April 2018, it has been a legal requirement that all domestic properties meet the minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC E rating before they can be rented out.
In a crowded rental market, it’s imperative to know who you can rely on to maximise your return on property rental. If you choose ZFA Group, we will handle the management of your property with expertise and experience to offer you the highest quality service.
If you’re thinking of buying-to-let, chat to one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee and property management, estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.
Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.
I have been working with ZFA for 4 years and they manage my full portfolio. I don't need to worry about a thing, they manage every aspect of my properties - highly recommended.
Mr Stephen Jones