LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Landlord CPD... Necessity or Nightmare?

Landlord CPD... Necessity or Nightmare?
Phew!  It's enough to put anyone off the idea of becoming a landlord! When you consider the amount of legislation and 'jumping through hoops' we have to do as landlords, you might be right to think 'Why bother?' The reality is, there have always been rules, regulations and responsibilities in the context of being a landlord, so why would you let additions and alterations in the law put you off now?  The good news is that it will knock many 'less scrupulous' landlords out of the market and encourage the people who are 'still in' to make sure their properties are safe and up to standard. The world is becoming a more litigious place, whether we like it or not.  As with any business, the fact remains that Continued Personal Development (CPD) is a very necessary part of keeping informed in any role which contains responsibilities, so why would being a landlord be considered any different? As a landlord, it is not enough just to sit back and let your letting agent do the work.  Whilst there are plenty of very good agents out there, you will also find an equal number whose operations are not as efficient or well-managed.  There are some important operations which you need to make sure are being carried out on each and every property in your portfolio either by yourself personally, or by your letting agent. There is more to letting a property than can meet the eye and as the landlord, you are ultimately responsible for the proper running of each property.  Below is a list of basic requirements and best practices:  
  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) – it is highly recommended for each property to be let under an AST.
  • Inventory – Whilst it is not obligatory by any means to have a comprehensive inventory done, again, I would recommend that you do so to protect your interests in the event of damage caused by tenants and the ensuing debates.
  • Ensure that your tenant’s deposit is protected and inform them accordingly along with the correct Prescribed Information.
  • Landlord Insurance – I always recommend my clients to have a decent level of landlord insurance in place.  The major difference between this and regular home insurance is that you are protecting the public liability aspect of your business, amongst other things.
  • Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) – needs to be renewed on an annual basis on all appliances within a property which are required to be tested by law by a qualified gas engineer.
  • Electrical Safety certificate (ESC) – although not a mandatory requirement, as a landlord, you are still ultimately responsible for the electrical safety within the properties you own.  As such, it is a good idea to have an up-to-date ESC – renewable every 5 years.
  • Portable Appliance Testing (PAT testing) – like the ESC, this is recommended to ensure that any portable electrical equipment you supply is safe (i.e. kettles, microwaves, fridges, etc).
  • Furniture and Furnishings Regulations – any items of this nature within a let property are required to pass the ‘match-resistance’ test and will not emit noxious smoke in the event of a fire.  You must ensure that any furniture or furnishings carries a label indication that they comply with the regulations with the exception of the following list: bed linen, curtains, carpets and furniture manufactured prior to 1950.
  • Building Standards – you must check with your local council that any alterations you have done or are intending to do comply with local building regulation requirements.
  • Fire Safety – it is in your interests to make sure that fully operational battery operated (and preferably hard-wired) smoke detectors are in place in your properties.  If you have a property built after June 1992, they should have mains operated smoke detectors fitted on each floor.
  • From October this year, it is becoming mandatory for Carbon Monoxide detectors to be put in place in any room of a rental property where there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
  • Immigration checks for 'Right to Rent'
  • Risk assessments for Legionnaires disease
  Please note, if you let or are considering letting Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) then there is a lot more regulation to comply with.  Check with your local authority to ensure you are meeting standards. I hope you have found the above to be a useful guide.  Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure that the regulations are being met and safety checks are being done as failure to do so is a criminal offence. Here's to keeping 'up to speed'!   Hazel de Kloe Property Investor | Property Mentor | Speaker | Author The contents of this article are for educational purposes only and we make no recommendation of any particular investment. The price of property can decrease as well as increase and you make any investments in property at your own risk. © Why Property Works 2015 | www.whypropertyworks.co.uk