Legal requirements

As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities.  Some of the following measures are required by law, others come highly recommended.

  • Inform your mortgage lender that you are intending to rent out the property.
  • Inform your insurance company that you are letting the property – you may need to get a different buildings and/or contents policy.
  • Health and safety:  you must have a gas check and a maintenance check carried out by a corgi-registered technician once a year.  A tenant can demand to see a current certificate.
  • You must meet fire and furnishings regulations.  For example, all sofas must be manufactured to fire-retardant standards (see the DTI website for further details).
  • Make sure electrical fittings are in good order.  Take care to insure all wiring and plug sockets are checked properly by a qualified electrician.
  • You must take out references – a bank reference to make sure a tenant can pay the rent and a personal/employer reference to check that they are of good character and won’t damage the property.
  • Make sure that all of the utilities are transferred into the tenant’s names from the date they move in.
  • An inventory and condition report is essential.  This must be checked on the first and last day of the tenancy.
  • Take the right deposit before the tenant moves in.  This should be four to six weeks rent.  And also take the money for the first period of the tenancy before handing over the keys.
  • At the end of the tenancy go through all of the above again, not forgetting to refund the outgoing tenants deposit and collecting the keys to give to the next occupiers.