With one in five households in the UK currently living in private rented accommodation, the number of people renting in the UK is only set to increase, with rising house prices making it harder for many first time buyers to get on to the property ladder.
So is this an ideal time to benefit from the growing demand for rental property?
There are many aspects to now consider about becoming a landlord or even adding to an existing portfolio. It isn’t as simple as finding a tenant and collecting rent. There is a veritable minefield of ever changing legislation as well as many unforeseen circumstances you just can’t plan for when renting out property.
Let’s look at the legislation. At present there are 156 pieces of legislation that govern the private rented sector. Some is heavily publicised, while some can slip under the radar, but with many carrying hefty fines and some prison sentences it is import that landlords get it right from the beginning.
Before the property is placed on the market for rent
1. Furnishings – If you are providing the property with furniture such as sofas and sofa beds, dining tables, beds, mattresses and pillows, cushions, they must meet strict fire regulations under the Furniture and Furnishings (fire safety) regulations 1988. These regulations set the levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstery. Furniture which complies with these regulations should display a permanent label ensuring the item complies with BS7177, this label should be displayed on both new and second hand furniture. NB: Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a £5,000 fine or six months in prison.
2. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms – It has been law since October 2015 that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the property and carbon monoxide alarms in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. Once installed the landlord MUST ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
3. Gas safety inspections (CP12) – A landlord gas safety inspection is required to be carried out annually. The landlord is responsible for all gas appliances in the property (except those provided by the tenant) as well as flues and gas pipework. CP12s can ONLY be carried out by qualified GasSafe register engineers. You MUST provide the tenant with a copy of the most up to date CP12 BEFORE they move in, or if already a tenant, then 28 days from the check being carried out. NB: There are no transition days and a CP12 must be renewed before or on the day the current one expires. Since 6th April 2018, the CP12 can be completed up to two months prior to the expiry date of the existing certificate but will retain the original expiry date, meaning the landlord does not lose any days by carry out the inspection early.