Private landlords and managing agents

Private landlords

There's a lot to consider for private landlords and lots of choices to make about letting your home. It's important to make sure you're fully informed of your rights and responsibilities.

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Rights and responsibilities

You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities in our frequently asked questions for landlords and managing agents in the private rented sector. 

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  • What do I need to provide the tenant at the start of the tenancy in order to ensure that if I serve a notice, it is valid and meets the requirements?

    For tenancies that started on or after October 1 2015, you are required to provide a number of additional documents or you will lose your right to serve a Section 21 notice.

    In addition to this, you could face fines of up to £5,000 if you do not check that the required smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working at the start of the tenancy.

    You need to provide your tenant(s) with the following:

    • Gas Safety Certificate (if applicable to the property).
    • Energy Performance Certificate.
    • How to rent: The checklist for renting in England (ensure you provide the most up-to-date version).
    • Smoke alarms fitted on every floor of the property, ensuring they have been checked and are in working order at the start of the tenancy.
    • Confirmation that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning source (such as a wood burning stove), ensuring they have been checked and are in working order at the start of the tenancy.
    • Confirmation that the deposit has been protected if already paid.
    • Confirmation that the prescribed information for the deposit scheme has been provided.
  • Where is the tenant’s deposit kept during the tenancy?

    Landlords and letting agents are required to register tenants’ deposits with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme, designed to protect the tenant’s money and help resolve any disputes at the end of the tenancy.

    For information on tenancy deposits, please visit www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection.

  • What is an inventory and why do I need one?

    An inventory provides details of the contents of your property and its condition prior to the tenancy. Should there be a dispute between you and the tenant over damage at the end of the tenancy, the inventory provides proof of the original condition of the property and its contents.

  • Why do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

    An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is a report that details the energy efficiency of the property. It provides an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). EPCs are valid for 10 years and all landlords are required by law to possess EPCs for rental properties.

    For more information on Energy Performance Certificates, please visit www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates.

  • What standards should my furniture meet?

    You must ensure that all furnishings supplied in the property comply with furniture and furnishing regulations. All compliant furniture must display standard labels in a prominent position.

    For more information on furniture standards, please visit the Fire Safe website.

  • What are the regulations regarding gas appliances?

    By law, landlords must be in possession of a Gas Safety Record to ensure all gas appliances, pipes and flues are in safe working order. This must be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe Register engineer and needs to be checked every 12 months. A copy of the Gas Safety Record needs to be left in the property at the start of the tenancy and after every annual gas safety check.

    For more information on gas safety, visit hwww.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/faqlandlord.htm.

  • Do I need to fit smoke alarms?

    Yes - at least one must be fitted, tested and working on each floor of the property at the start of the tenancy. If there are any solid fuel appliances in the property (such as a wood burning stove), a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted in every room where there is an appliance.

    For more information on alarm requirements, please visit the Government website.

  • Do I have to tell my mortgage lender before I rent my property?

    Yes. If you buy the property with the intention to live in it yourself and then your circumstances change, you must get ‘Permission to Let’ from your mortgage lender and they may give you strict conditions. If you are buying a property with the sole aim of letting it, you must have a buy-to-let mortgage.

    If you have bought properties without a mortgage, then you do not need to speak to a mortgage lender. 

  • Who pays the Council Tax – the landlord or the tenant?

    In the majority of cases, the tenant is liable to pay the Council Tax (unless the property is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation). If you decide to include it in the rent this must be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. If the property is empty, it is your responsibility to pay the Council Tax.

  • What if the tenant damages the property?

    If the tenant damages your property they will be required to fix the damage or pay the costs for fixing the damage. This can be deducted from their deposit at the end of the tenancy. Fair wear and tear is not included as it is not considered damage to the property.

  • Do I need to test my water for Legionella?

    Yes - every year and at the start of every tenancy. A “competent person” must identify areas where water could lie for long periods of time and allow the health-risk bacteria to grow.

    Legionella bacteria is commonly found in water. The bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20 and 45 degrees centigrade and nutrients are available. The bacteria are dormant below 20 degrees centigrade and do not survive above 60 degrees.

    Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing Legionella bacteria.

    For more information on Legionella and your responsibilities, please visit the Health and Safety Executive website.

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