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As a landlord, you must always stay updated with any changes to landlord and tenant law. It’s important to know what your legal obligations are, but also what your tenants are entitled to.
Case in point, on 17th May 2023, the Renters Reform Bill was introduced to parliament which impacts both landlords and tenants throughout England. Abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions, allowing tenants to request a pet, eliminating automatic rent increases, and more are included in this new legislation. Read more here.
This guide will walk you through the basic fundamentals of landlord and tenant law, so you don’t break any laws or get taken advantage of by tenants.
The Law for Residential Landlords
It’s worth noting that we are referring to landlords with residential properties rather than commercial or industrial ones. If you rent commercially, you will need to find separate laws/regulations to follow.
Residential landlord and tenant law in the UK is relatively straightforward in terms of a landlord’s legal obligations. The Housing Act 1985 has been in place for over 40 years and continuously keeps up to date with all changes known to be in force.
There are other housing acts that have been introduced since and it’s your responsibility as a landlord to follow the legislation. Currently, here’s what you must do:
Obtain the Right Licensing for Your Home
There are three different types and working with a property management company will help you select the right one.
Ensure Your Property is “Safe & Fit”
This means it mustn’t have any obvious safety concerns regarding the structure or inner workings of the home. It should also meet specific safety standards, meaning it needs to:
- Have a gas safety check every 12 months by a gas safe registered engineer
- Provide safe furniture
- Provide electrical equipment that meets the required safety standards
- Install a working smoke alarm on each floor of the property
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with solid fuel-burning appliances
- Provide a working water supply
- Boast an Energy Performance Certificate rated E or above
Conduct Rent Checks
As the landlord, you’re legally required to check if tenants are over 18 and can legally rent in the UK.
Protect Tenancy Deposits
You have to protect your tenant’s deposit with a government-approved deposit protection scheme.
Provide Key Information for Tenants
An often-overlooked aspect of landlord and tenant law, but all landlords must provide key documents for tenants. It is technically illegal to evict a tenant if you fail to provide these documents:
- A copy of the How To Rent guide
- Your Energy Performance Certificate
- Manuals for any appliances
Keep Up with Utility Maintenance
You have to check that all utilities are working correctly and act if they aren’t.
Keep Up with General Safety Maintenance
As the property owner, you are responsible for checking the structural integrity of the home and keeping tenants safe from any hazards.
Purchase Buildings Insurance
If you own the building, you have to buy buildings insurance before you can rent to any tenants.
Any repairs to appliances or the structure of the property should be organised by you, the landlord.
Give Proper Notice
If you want to evict a tenant, you must give at least 2 months’ notice.
Return the Tenant’s Deposit
At the end of the tenancy, you are legally required to return the tenant’s deposit under landlord and tenant law. Provided they have followed the rules of the tenancy and you don’t need to take any money out to conduct repairs or cleaning thanks to them.
Overall, these are the main things to know about tenant and landlord law. Landlords are responsible for the property itself, meaning you have to manage most things about it. It’s your overall obligation to provide a safe place for people to live. Keep in mind that tenants are able to request repairs or replacement appliances if they’re faulty and break down. They are also allowed to stay for two months after being told they have to leave.
It can be challenging to handle all of this, which is why working with a property management firm can help – particularly if you lease multiple residential properties.
If you’re looking for a professional and reliable property management company, look no further than BPS. Get in touch with us today to arrange a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your property needs.
This information sheet contains a very basic summary of landlord and tenant law. It is not an all-encompassing guide and should not be relied upon as such.
Its intention is to inform the reader of the basic provisions and processes of a lease renewal.