Home » Appendices » Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Practical checklist for landlords: obligations & considerations

Preparation before letting

  • before investing, prepare a business plan that takes into account the cost of the investment, running costs, cash flow and rent level. Allow at least 7% for voids;
  • if necessary obtain permission from mortgage lender and/or freeholder for renting the property;
  • consider what part of the private rented sector market the property is designed to serve;
  • decide about the kind of tenant to let to, is a tenant needing Housing Allowance an issue, is the property to be let furnished or unfurnished?;
  • calculate realistically whether the rental income will cover loan or mortgage payments, repairs and all the other rental costs. If not, budget to set aside money from earnings each month (in the early years) to cover any shortfall;
  • decide on the likely market rent;
  • decide whether gas, electricity and water charges are included in the rent;
  • consider who will manage the property and the cost of this. If using an agent agree costs and levels of service;
  • ensure adequate levels of relevant insurance (check the policy is suitable for rented property);
  • deal with the tax implications of the revenue stream and inform Revenue and Customs;
  • consider joining a Landlord Association and undertaking professional development;
  • obtain planning or Building Control approval for major improvement work done to property;
  • make sure the property is both safe and healthy for any potential:

• occupiers or visitors, including;
• adequate heating and insulation;
• free from tripping and falling hazards;
• free from significant disrepair and asbestos;
• good lighting and ventilation;
• good security;
• good sanitation, food preparation and is hygienic.

  • obtain a tenancy agreement suitable for your letting and avoid unenforceable unfair terms;
  • decide on length of letting;
  • advertise through the internet, agent, newspaper or other means;
  • obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC);
  • undertake an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer;
  • comply with the electrical & furniture standards;
  • ensure the property meets with the relevant fire safety standards with the fitting of alarms and/or smoke/heat detectors and emergency lighting.
  • if the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO):
  • ensure any electrical installation is inspected by a qualified person before letting and every 5 years subsequently;
  • contact your Local Authority to check whether a licence is needed and if it is apply for a licence and comply with the conditions of the licence and the HMO regulations;
  • ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out under the Fire Safety Order;
  • ensure that smoking does not take place in public areas under the Smoking and Health Act 2006.

When the tenant moves in

  • sign the tenancy agreement - two copies, landlords retain one signed by tenant and tenant should have one signed by landlord;
  • consider asking tenant to sign bank standing order form for rent payments, or letter of authority to the Housing Benefit office if tenant is on benefit;
  • complete and agree an Inventory and Schedule of Condition (consider using professional inventory clerk, if appropriate);
  • give the tenant the landlord (or agent’s) contact details for repairs and other problems. Name, address and telephone;
  • notify the utility suppliers and the Local Authority (for council tax etc) of the details of the new tenant/s;
  • inform the tenant/s of utility suppliers etc and read any relevant meters;
  • if charging a deposit and letting on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy ensure that the deposit is protected under one of the schemes available and give the required information to tenants to confirm this;
  • consider any local council schemes such as deposit guarantees;
  • keep tax records of income and expenditure and if rental income exceeds (allowable) expenditure, set an amount aside to cover future tax demands. Complete a tax return ideally soon after the end of your tax year;
  • provide receipts to tenant for any cash rent payments;
  • keep detailed records of repair requests, inspections, safety checks, repairs done, other management issues and a rent statement.

When the tenant moves out

  • make a note of when a tenancy is due to end and see if the tenant wants to extend or renew their agreement;
  • if leaving, arrange a joint inspection of the property and agree on any damage or decoration that needs rectifying;
  • provide information about any cleaning required;
  • advise the tenant about taking final utility readings for an end of tenancy bill;
  • make arrangements for the handover of keys.