If your property is mortgaged you will need permission from your lender to let it. Tenants are entitled to ask for proof that you have asked permission as without it, their tenancy may be invalid.
Make sure that you have adequate buildings and contents insurance and advise your insurer that you are letting your property.
Your property should be structurally sound with wiring, plumbing, heating and any appliances in good working order. These should be regularly serviced by an approved contractor.
The interior and exterior of your property should be kept in good decorative order and all furnishings in good condition.
Landlords need to arrange for the property to be thoroughly cleaned and gardens tidied before a new tenancy begins.
If the property is left empty for any length of time during the winter months, arrange for a plumber to drain the water system to help prevent possible damage caused by burst pipes.
Remove valuable or sentimental items from your property before the tenancy begins.
You should factor into your business plan to use a percentage of your rental income to cover general servicing and maintenance.
You need to be aware of the following regulations:
The Housing Act 2004 states that a Local Authority must keep the housing conditions in their area under review with a view to identifying any action that may need to be taken by them under any provisions of the Act in relations to, amongst other things the assessment of property conditions and the identification of hazards.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 (PDF) have been approved by Parliament and came into force on 1 October 2015. These require you to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of your property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (such as a coal fire or wood burning stove). After that, you must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 means that all gas appliances in rented properties must be serviced and checked for safety annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The engineer will provide a Landlord Safety Certificate after each check.
Provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). By law, landlords are required to provide an EPC to new / prospective tenants. The EPC lasts for 10 years so you will not need to renew it will each tenant.
Although there is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical installations and appliances as there is with gas, it is strongly advisable that you make simple visual checks (PDF) at least once a year and at each change of tenancy. The Institute of Electrical Engineers recommends that a formal periodic inspection and test should be carried out at least once every 5 years or on the change of tenancy. This periodic inspection and testing should only be carried out by someone competent to do so, such as an ECA or NICEIC qualified electrician.
Furniture and Furnishings Fire (safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended) require landlords to ensure that all soft furnishings meet certain safety standards.
Tenancy Deposit is a legal requirement for landlords and letting agents to protect their tenants’ deposits with a government scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Remember, a deposit is considered ‘received’ from the moment you take the payment, not when the funds have cleared. This applies to all forms of payment, whether it’s a cheque, a bank transfer or cash.
You must provide tenants with a copy of the guide “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” either via a link or as a printed copy. The ‘How to Rent’ guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help you understand you rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process.
The ’Right to Rent’ scheme was introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014. The scheme requires landlords of privately rented accommodation to conduct checks on all new tenants or lodger to establish if they have a legal right to be in the UK and therefore have the right to rent. Before the start of a new tenancy, you must make checks for all tenants aged 18 and over.
Landlord must provide tenants with the following information. If you do not provide these to the tenant at the start of the tenancy, you can’t evict the tenant until you do.
A good general guide to all the regulations can be found on the gov.uk website.