Buy-to-let, are you doing it right?
Do, how many business owners are actually in the buy-to-let property market also? A few right?
Now, I know you’re busy, BUT are you aware that as of October 1 2015, new rules came into force which you MUST comply with as a landlord. These rules apply to all new tenancies set up on or after October 1 2015. A statutory periodic tenancy arising after the 1st October 2015 is not deemed to be a new tenancy in this regard; but a replacement tenancy (where a new AST is signed) is a new tenancy.
As a residential landlord, you will already be used to complying with legislative requirements as part and parcel of your responsibilities, yes there are now more to come!
It will probably come as no surprise to you that the first change is provided for in the new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
Sounds complicated, right? WRONG.
All it requires you to do is follow three simple rules
- Ensure that the property has a working smoke alarm on each storey of the premises where it is used as living accommodation (including bathrooms and toilets)
- Ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room (used as living accommodation) which has a solid burning combustion appliance, such as a burning boiler.
- Ensure that these are both checked and working on the first day that the tenancy begins.
The landlord or letting agent would need written evidence that this has been carried out
WARNING – failure to comply with the changes could attract you a civil penalty of up to £5,000 from your local authority.
TIP – to keep yourself covered, simply download the explanatory booklet the government has issued on YOUR new obligations.
But wait before you rush off to do so, there are a few more changes you must follow for assured shorthold tenancies after the October 1 2015, in the way of ensuring your tenants have these three documents.
- A Energy Performance Certificate;
- A Gas Safety Certificate; and
- A copy of the governments “How to Rent Guide” – this is useful for both yourself and the tenants in case anything goes wrong.
Additionally, ALWAYS keep written evidence that these documents have been given to the tenants and ensure you obtain as signed acknowledgement.
It should also be noted that a copy of energy performance certificate should be given to the applicant when they first view the property or before if they have asked for information about the property to be sent out to them. Again, you need written evidence that this has happened.
Finally, ensure that any deposit handed over by the tenant is correctly protected.