Letting a property offers financial stability and other lifestyle benefits that any landlord can ever wish for. However, it also has numerous challenges such as dealing with poor tenants, delayed rent payment and maintenance expenses, just to mention a few.
Therefore, if you own a property and would like to become a successful landlord in the UK, you need to know your rights and responsibilities as discussed below:
Your Rights as a Landlord
- Payment of Rent- As a landlord, you have the right to collect rent from all your tenants at the end of every month. It is advisable to have a written tenancy agreement such as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement to set out there rent you need and when it should be paid. If any of your tenants fails to pay rent as for many months, you have the right to serve him an eviction notice. Rent guarantee insurance can protect your finances in the interim. Make sure you follow the correct legal procedures while doing this.
- Raising the Rent- Depending on the specifics of the tenancy agreement, you can raise the rent at certain points in a tenancy. However, it is important to note that you cannot charge what you like. The rent has to be reasonable and comparable to similar properties found in that area. If not, tenants can raise a complaint and you may end up being arrested or forced to restore the rent to an acceptable level.
- Inspection- If you suspect that your property is being damaged or the furnishings have been damaged by your tenants or their visitors, you have the right to carry out an inspection. Before you go for the inspection, it is important to inform your tenants at least 24 hours in advance.
- Removal of Belongings Left By a Tenant- Landlords are exercised the right to dispose of household items left unclaimed at the premises within a specific period of time. If you have maintained a good relationship with the concerned tenant, you may consider giving him a notice before removing the items.
Your Responsibilities as a Landlord
- Repairs- If something is damaged or worn out, you have to carry out prompt repairs to prevent unnecessary accidents. This means that problems with the walls, drains, roof, chimneys and gutters should be taken care of by you. However, if the damage is done on purpose by a careless tenant, then he should be responsible for carrying out or paying for the repairs. Decent landlord insurance for your building and contents can make a huge difference to the financial impact of repairs.
- Give Your Tenants a Peace of Mind- As much as you are allowed to inspect your property and carry out repairs, you are not allowed to interfere with the lives of your tenants. Instead, you should make sure that they live peacefully. If you really need to visit them, you should give them a reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time that is convenient for all of you. It is also advisable to screen tenants before allowing them to rent your property. They should agree to live peacefully and respectfully with each other. You should also enforce a strict hours policy that all tenants must be ready to adhere to. For example, no one should make noise or listen to loud music after 11 p.m, especially in an HMO or block of flats.
- Ensure That There is Adequate Heat- You have to make sure that every tenant lives comfortably by providing adequate heat and ventilation. If there is no enough heat, especially during the cold months of winter, your tenants will get ill or even die from the cold. It can be a good idea to purchase emergency home emergency cover for landlords to avoid a boiler failure ruining both you and your tenant’s winter.
- Improve the Security of Tenants- As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of each of your tenants. Apart from installing alarm systems and security lights, you should also provide fire extinguishers and fire blankets. In addition, you should make sure that gas appliances are maintained accordingly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosion. As required by law, you should service all gas-related appliances at least twice every year to keep them in excellent working condition. You should also keep a record of regular checks and the condition of each appliance and provide your every tenant with an annual gas safety certificate.
- Maintain a Clean Environment- While it is not your duty to wash tenants’ dishes or clean their houses, you are required to maintain the cleanliness of the property as a whole. You need to organise for the garbage to be taken out of the property, either by you or by a qualified garbage collector. You should also make sure that the grass is cut and outdoor areas are free from debris, or you may be liable for any injuries that occur. If a tenant has a serious problem with cockroaches, termites, rodents or bedbugs, you should make an effort to get rid of them yourself or hire the services of a professional to do so.