With significant demand for rental property and rising rental fees, it is easy to see why many people believe being a landlord is lucrative. In Coventry, the student population creates a demand for rental property. Therefore, it is not surprising many investors and letting industry professionals look to the city as a suitable location.
However, being a landlord is often more challenging than many people expect or recognise. New landlords are often overwhelmed with the number of regulations they must adhere to. Even experienced landlords have been taken aback by the increased roles and tasks they must comply with. If you want to ensure you know what a landlord’s responsibilities during a tenancy are, we are here to assist you.
Leading landlord responsibilities during a tenancy include:
- Maintaining a safe rental property, free from health hazards
- Making sure all electrical and gas equipment is installed safely and is being maintained
- Holding an Energy Performance Certificate for the rental accommodation
- Placing the tenant’s deposit into a Government approved scheme
- Carrying out the Right To Rent test on prospective tenants
- Providing all tenants with the latest edition of the How To Rent guide
Some of these responsibilities are in effect before the tenant moves into the property, so it is vital landlords comply with regulations as quickly as possible.
Safety is critical when letting property
It should go without saying landlords need to offer safe rental accommodation. Tenants have a part to play in maintaining the security and standard of rental housing, but landlords hold most responsibility.
With the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, tenants can sue landlords if the rental property isn’t of sufficient standard. This threat should provide landlords with all the motivation they require to maintain a reasonable standard of safety and security in the rental property.
Landlords have fire safety responsibilities
As you would expect, there are stringent fire safety responsibilities for landlords, including:
- Fitting and testing smoke alarms on every floor of the rental property
- Fitting and testing carbon monoxide alarms in every room where there is a solid fuel-burning device
- Ensure tenants know the escape route(s) and that these routes are kept clear
- If the landlord provides furnishings, they should be fire safety compliant
Gas safety responsibilities for landlords
If there is a gas supply in the rental, landlords are required to have them checked each year. Gas appliances, pipes, installations and air vents should all be checked to ensure they are safe to use. This work should only be carried out by a Gas Safe registered professional.
When the landlord receives the Gas Safety Certificate, a copy should be presented to the tenant.
Landlords should also ensure all supplied electrical appliances are safe.
Carrying out repairs
In addition to maintaining the safety standards of rental accommodation, landlords are responsible for many repairs.
Landlords have a legal responsibility to inspect rental property and to undertake repair work. Landlords should provide tenants with notice of their attendance at the property, although this can be waived in an emergency. Landlords should be aware tenants have the right to remain in the property while repair work is carried out unless there is a health and safety requirement for them to leave.
The repairs, which are the responsibility of the landlord, include:
- The internal and external structure of the rental property
- Sanitary fittings such as sinks, basins, showers and baths
- The hot water system and any central heating
The rental property must have an EPC
One matter Coventry landlords must be aware of is whether they need an EPC, or Energy Performance Certificate.
The guidance states; “An EPC is not required for an individual room when rented out, as it is not a building or a building unit designed or altered for separate use. The whole building will require an EPC if sold or rented out.”
If this applies to you, you need to ensure you have an EPC in place because you aren’t allowed to let property without this certificate, and the property should be ranked an E or higher. If your rental accommodation doesn’t meet this standard, and you still let the property, you are in breach of regulations. Landlords who breach this regulation, as part of the MEES regulations, face severe financial penalties.
There are reasons why landlords should look to make their home more energy efficient. Energy efficient homes usually have a higher value. This is because energy efficient homes are cheaper to run. If you want to appeal to more tenants, or you are looking for a feature that would allow you to charge a higher rental fee, an energy efficient property is a great feature.
Landlords have financial responsibilities
It is crucial landlords remember they are running a business, and there are many financial responsibilities associated with the role. Landlords must pay income tax on their rental income after day to day expenses have been accounted for. Also, landlords who let property as a business are required to pay Class 2 National Insurance.
Landlords must ensure their mortgage lender is happy with them letting the property. If the accommodation was bought with a buy-to-let mortgage, this wouldn’t be an issue. However, if the landlord used a standard mortgage to buy the property, or they have owned the property for some time and are now changing its use, make sure you gain permission to do so.
Landlords should also be aware that standard home insurance isn’t suitable for landlords. There is a need to arrange specialist insurance for the rental accommodation, while tenants should arrange their own home and contents insurance.
At Student Circle, we are pleased to say we have helped many landlords let property in confidence. Coventry landlords looking to reach the local student population need help, and we are in a position to help you connect and run your business.
If you want to make sure you take care of your responsibilities concerning Coventry student accommodation, we are the letting industry professionals you can rely on.