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Landlord Responsibilities

A lot of people are turning to property investment as a way of protecting their savings or generating income through property development or renting out homes to tenants. If you choose to let your property, it can be a good way of earning an extra income or at the very minimum paying for your property, but it can be hard work to prepare a property for renting out, as well as organising tenants and the responsibilities that come with being a landlord. The rewards however, can be worth the extra expense and effort. You will need to familiarise yourself with your legal responsibilities in order to avoid any problems in the future for both your tenants and yourself as a landlord.

Finding tenants initially is not an easy task. You can choose to go through a letting agent but this can prove expensive so it really depends on your budget. However for a fee a letting agent will usually arrange tenant checks, which include things from credit checks to references, as well as organising payments. Depending on the level of service you require or what the letting agent offers, they can also manage your property, dealing with repairs, other problems as well as guaranteeing your rental income in the event that the tenant does not pay or the property remains empty, but you will need to work out if this makes financial sense as this level of service is likely to eat into your rental income somewhat. On the other hand, you could opt to manage the property and tenants yourself. If this is the case, you will need to arrange your marketing as well as initial tenant checks yourself to ensure you take on the right tenant. Doing it yourself is not only cheaper but also gives you full control over how your property and your tenants are managed, but of course there are risks involved.

When you have found tenants you are happy with, you will need to arrange a tenancy agreement outlining the tenants and your responsibilities which will need to be signed by both parties, and it’s always a good idea to have it witnessed too. This will usually include things such as details of what to do in the event of repairs needed, general tidiness and maintenance, rules regarding decorating, pets and much more. If you take a deposit, this will also be outlined within the tenancy agreement and you will be responsible for putting it into a government approved Deposit Protection Scheme.

Whenever you take on a new tenant you will also need to provide them with an Energy Performance Certificate which is renewable every 10 years. You will need to pay someone to attend your property where they will give your property a rating depending on the energy efficiency of the home as well as make recommendations to improve the rating. There are a number of specialists that can carry this out, but it is worth getting several quotes, but they are all essentially the same outcome. You also need to give notice to your tenants if you need to enter the property for any reason, and remember to follow the correct legal process when dealing with your tenants, whether that is for gaining access to the property or giving them notice to leave.

by Cormac Henderson

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