Will 2017 be the year you buy your first rental property?
If you’re new to buy-to-let properties, take a look at our must-do legal checklist to ensure you comply with the law.
- If you’re a landlord in Wales, you must be registered with Rent Smart Wales. If you manage the property yourself, you’ll also have to apply for a licence to do that. Read our guide to Rent Smart Wales here: http://louvainproperties.co.uk/a-landlords-guide-to-rent-smart-wales/.
- You must have the correct planning permissions if you’re converting a property from a single home into flats, and if you’re converting a house into a House of Multiple Occupation.
- You must have permission from your mortgage holder, from your insurers, and if the property is a leasehold flat, from the freeholder.
- Your property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when you market to a new tenant. An energy assessor will look at the energy efficiency of the property.
- If your property has gas appliances, you must have them checked by a Gas Safe-registered engineer and have a 12-month gas certificate. If you fail to do this, there are hefty fines.
- Check the fire safety requirements for your property, especially if you have three or more tenants in one property. You can do this with the local authority as rules for this kind of property are complex and stringent.
- If you’re letting a furnished property, you must check that the furniture and furnishings like curtains and cushions provided meet the requirements of the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1993. If tenants provide their own, you are not liable for checks to them.
- Tenants must be provided with the latest government-issue How To Rent guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england.
- You must protect tenants’ deposits and a statutory deposit notice, an s213, must be served within 30 days. Get proof that documents have been served. Without proof, you could be fined and won’t be able to evict them in the future under the s21 process – in other words, eviction becomes a far more difficult process.
- Ensure you have a filled-in tenancy application form, written tenancy agreement, and a written inventory. This gives your tenant information about what they are responsible for, and helps you ensure there are records if damage occurs or if you have to go through the eviction process.
Although ensuring electrical wiring and appliances are tested before a new tenant takes over isn’t a legal requirement at the moment, it is common sense to do that.
It’s recommended that electrical checks are carried out every five years after the initial check.
Once you’ve let your property, let the local council and utilities know immediately so they can organise payment of council tax and energy bills by your tenant.
First-time landlords should consider taking on an experienced letting agent, like Louvain Properties, who can act as their agent under the Rent Smart Wales scheme and take the hassle out of owning a rental property. See what we can do for you here: http://louvainproperties.co.uk/services/.
Need advice on your first buy-to-let property in Wales? Call us on 01495 440264.