Legal issues

What are my obligations during the let?

Can I be sure I will get my rented property back?

One of the major changes introduced with the Housing Act 1988 (Amended 1996) is the rules of possession. Make sure you use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST) which guarantees you possession of the property at the end of a tenancy providing the suitable Section 21 notice has been served. If your tenants do not vacate when they are supposed to (this is very rare), you can then apply to the courts for an accelerated possession order.

Is it guaranteed that the tenant will pay the rent?

No. No-one can guarantee you that your tenants will pay their rent but you can minimise the chances of this happening. Make sure your tenants are thouroughly referenced, paying particular attention to their employment and financial details. It pays to be approachable so that, for example, in the event of your tenant being made redundant, they feel they can alert you to their circumstances immediately. Where your property is occupied by more than one tenant, make sure they are all on the same tenancy agreement and jointly and severally liable for any rent or other costs. Finally, if your tenants do not pay their rent, make absolutely sure that you or your letting agent act promptly and efficiently in following non-payment of rent eviction proceedings.

What UK safety regulations for rented property need to be met by law?

  • You must ensure that all gas appliances and installations you supply are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out by someone who is registered with CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers). You must keep a record of the safety checks, and must usually issue it to the occupier within 28 days of each annual check. The occupier is responsible for maintaining gas appliances which they own, or is entitled to take with them at the end of the letting.

2. Electrical Safety Regulations

By law, you must ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances supplied with the let such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heaters are safe to use. If you are supplying new appliances, you should also provide any accompanying instruction booklets.

3. Fire and Furnishings Regulations

If you supply furniture or furnishings with the let, you must ensure that they meet the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Generally these cover the need for fire resistant filling material to upholstered articles and the passing of a match-resistant and cigarette-resitant test.

4. General Product Safety Regulations.

Landlords are required to consider the general safety of the tenants in their property. For example, you should provide instruction manuals and compile an information sheet pointing out any danger zones in the property such as hot surfaces or sharp objects.