If you want to rent out your property instead of living in it you will need to seek approval from your mortgage provider. This process is slightly different for everyone as some lenders will ask you to complete an online consent-to-let application, whereas others will ask you to fill out the form and send it through the post. Your mortgage lender can advise on the exact process.
There are now strict practises in place to crack down on borrowers who decide to let their properties without prior consent, so we strongly advise that you speak to your mortgage lender before taking any action.
Selective licensing was introduced in 2006 and is applied to designated areas where there is low housing demand or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour. Landlords with property in the areas under the selective licensing scheme must apply for a property license before renting it out.
The local council will undergo background checks to see whether the person is suitable to be a landlord and make decisions over the management of a property and safety measures. It is important that you research whether your property is in a selective licensing area and what actions you should take
All landlords must have an EPC in place for each property they are letting out, with a copy provided for the tenant. In 2018, a new set of Energy Efficiency Regulations have come into force which require landlords to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E for their property.
Landlords have already been advised to make improvements to their property to ensure that their property will be up to standard in time. They could face penalties of up to £40,000 if they fail to meet the minimum efficiency grade.
Landlords have a duty of care to ensure that tenants are safe whilst living in their property and there are legal requirements in place to ensure that all appliances are safe for tenants to use:
Gas safety - It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that gas installation and appliances that are provided within the property are safe. The Gas Safety Regulation 1998 states that appliances must be tested annually for safety by a qualified engineer registered as gas safe, and that all tenants must receive a copy of the gas safety certificate upon entry and within 28 days of a gas check. The UK law states that all installations, maintenance and gas safety checks are carried out by gas safe registered engineers. There are extra legal responsibilities for landlords who are renting out HMOs, which include annual gas safety checks.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms - Since October 2015, installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors has been a legal requirement. Landlords must provide a smoke alarm on each storey of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms which contain a solid fuel burning appliance.
Furniture and furnishings - Furniture and furnishings supplied by the landlord or agent in rental accommodation must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Regulations 1988 and must be maintained throughout the tenancy. Some materials that are used to fill or cover furniture could be a fire risk and produce poisonous gases. Failure to comply with the regulations could incur a fine of £5,000 per item, six months of imprisonment and your insurance may become invalid.
Electrics - Landlords must ensure that all electrics within the property are safe to use and are tested on a regular basis by a qualified engineer registered with NICEIC as stated by the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 1994. It is advised that landlords carry out a fixed wire test and provide a valid electrical safety certificate to prove that all electrics are safe to use.
It is at the landlord's discretion whether a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) is carried out; however, it is recommended by the Electrical Safety Council that it is done as it ensures that the portable electrical appliances are safe to use. There are extra legal responsibilities for landlords who are renting out HMOs, which include electrical safety checks every 5 years.
Legionella - Legionella pneumophilla is a bacterium which is most commonly found within water systems. Exposure via inhalation, or less commonly through drinking water, can result in legionellosis, a serious respiratory disease.
It is recommended that landlords with residential properties complete legionella risk assessments regularly in order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which states that landlords must ensure a duty of care is shown towards tenants.
Since 6th April 2007, landlords have been required to protect all deposits for assured shorthold tenancy contracts in a Government-backed scheme to avoid disputes at the end of a tenancy. Landlords may choose their preferred scheme and must then confirm with the tenant which scheme their deposit will be held under within 30 days of receiving it.
Landlords can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy under Section 21 after a fixed term tenancy ends or during a tenancy with no fixed end date. The law states that landlords must give two months’ notice to tenants for repossession of the property. Additionally, tenants can only be evicted from their rental property during a fixed term if a breach of contract can be proven.