Wealden District Council
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Avoid The Pitfalls of Private Renting

Ten Tips To Avoid Pitfalls of Private Renting.

To help meet financial commitments, many homeowners are looking to rent out their home.

When owners do their sums, safe enough when the phone has to first half and they often look at the rent they could charge and whether it would cover the mortgage costs. However, many owners fail to appreciate the responsibilities they take on by becoming a private landlord.

If you are thinking about renting out your home, this simple guide will help you avoid some other common pitfalls of private renting:

1. Speak to your mortgage lender

You could be in breach of your mortgage agreement if you rent out your property without getting consent from your mortgage lender.

2. Get references from potential tenants.

This will help minimise the risk of your property being damaged and the rent not being paid.

3. Prepare a formal tenancy agreement.

Having a signed tenancy agreement will make it easier to deal with any disputes, should they arise. Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common type. You can get tenancy agreements from most stationary suppliers you can get tenancy agreements for most stationery suppliers.

4.  If you take a deposit, it must be properly protected.

Any deposit you take from a tenant must be protected through one of the three government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes:

My Deposits – www.mydeposits.co.uk

The Deposit Protection Service – www.depositprotection.com

The Dispute Service www.thedisputeservice.co.uk

If you do not follow the rules, you may be ordered by the courts to pay the tenant three times their original deposit, plus the deposit itself in compensation. plus the deposit itself in compensation.  You would also lose the right to regain possession of the property using a Notice of Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988.

5. Obtain an energy performance certificate

You must get an energy performance certificate (EPC) and show it to prospective tenants. You must give a copy of the certificate to whoever takes up the tenancy, EPC’s usually cost about £100, but can be cheaper. if you let your property without an EPC, Trading Standards Officers might give you a £200 fine.

6. Find out whether you need a property licence

If your property has three or more stories and houses five or more people who are not all related, you must get a licence from your local council so that your property can be used for multiple occupation. in some areas licencing applies to other types of properties as well this is called an HMO (House in multiple occupation) licence. if you do not get a licence you could be taken to court, and upon conviction fined up to £20,000. If you are unsure if you need a licence, please contact the council for advice.

7. Get all your gas and electrical appliances checked

All gas appliances must be checked annually by a registered gas engineer and you must give your talents a copy of the landlord gas safety certificate before they move into the property from one April 2009 all gas engineers must be registered with the Gas Safe register [www.gassaferegister.co.uk].

You must ensure that the electrical installation and any electrical appliances you provide are safe, to reduce the risk of electrocution or fire. Electrical installations should be inspected and tested at least every five years and appliances more frequently dependent on their type. For details on how to find a local registered electrician visit: https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/

8. Minimise the risk from fire

You must ensure that there is a safe means of escape from the property in the event of a fire and that a suitable fire alarm system has been fitted. Each property will be different and you may need to carry out a fire risk assessment. To get further information, please contact the council.

LACORS’ National guidance on fire safety in residential accommodation can also be downloaded free of charge:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fire-safety-law-and-guidance-documents-for-business

9. Ensure that your property presents no risk to your tenants’ health and safety

Before the start of the tenancy, Be out an inspection of your property and look for any obvious hazards. the accommodation must be in good repair, well maintained, and capable of being affectively heated. any safety hazards must be promptly dealt with.

10. Don’t find yourself in court when something goes wrong

Being a landlord is a huge responsibility and you will need expert advice a wealth of information is available through landlord associations such as the British property federation https://bpf.org.uk/ or through local landlord accreditation schemes.

If you don’t want to take on the management of the property yourself, you may want to consider using a reputable letting or managing agent. details of local agents can be obtained from Propertymark  – https://www.propertymark.co.uk/ ,  Safeagents –  https://safeagents.co.uk/ or the UK association of letting agents – https://www.ukala.org.uk/ . terms and conditions vary so please check the small print before signing any agreement.

This information has been prepared to help you understand the responsibilities of becoming a private landlord it is not intended as a comprehensive summary of the relevant legislation and you may need to seek independent legal advice.

If you have any specific queries in relation to the topics covered on this webpage please contact: