The authorities are tightening up on regulation and enforcement of regulation. Things you may have been able to ‘get away with’ a few years ago may now cost you dear.
So I thought it was time for a roundup of some of the top mistakes I see landlords making
1. Failing to register the tenancy deposit
It’s been over 10 years since these rules first came into force but landlords (and even letting agents) are STILL making mistakes. Some still don’t seem to be aware that they exist.
So in case you did not know – you must:
- Protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving the money AND
- Serve prescribed information (ALL the prescribed information) also within 30 days.
Or you will not be able to use section 21 and may get sued by your tenant for the penalty.
2. Failing to get an Energy Performance Certificate
Under the rules, you need to give a copy to all new tenants or face a fine. However, EPCS are even more important now:
- Because serving an EPC on tenants is a pre-condition for serving a section 21 notice, and
- Due to the Minimum Energy Efficiency standards due to come into force next April.
3. Failing to get a gas safety certificate
Again, if this is not served on the tenants you won’t be able to use section 21 (and so will be in difficulties if the tenants won’t let you in to get it done).
Plus you can be prosecuted by the HSE for non-compliance.
And sometimes people die. Do you want to be responsible for that?
4. Not realising that your property is an HMO
- ALL HMO landlords must comply with the HMO Management regulations
- SOME HMO landlords will also need to get an HMO license.
Fines are fierce for non-compliance plus your tenants will be able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order. You don’t want this to happen – you may be ordered to repay up to a whole years rent back to them.
5. Not checking your tenants before giving them a tenancy
This is unbelievable. Your rented property is probably one of the most valuable assets you own. Yet some people are allowing tenants into occupation without doing any checks at all!
Which bearing in mind that it can take you six months or more to get them out again if they prove unsatisfactory (more if you have done, or not done, some of the other things in this post) is madness!
Gut instinct can only protect you so far. Remember that Confidence tricksters are very persuasive – that’s their job!
You will find some guidance here.
6. Renting to friends and family without proper paperwork
NEVER do this. Even if you are renting to your Mother.
Informal lettings to friends and family are a recipe for disaster. Particularly if you find you need the property back but then discover that due to a lack of paperwork you can’t get it.
What you need to do
First of all – don’t think that just because you are an amateur landlord only renting out one property – even if it is your own property while you are away for a while – that the rules do not apply to you. They do.
You need to know what you are doing. If you are not willing to use a letting agent (and note that even using a letting agent can lead to disaster if you use one which is not very good) do one or more of the following:
- Join Landlord Law (and take a look at our timeline here – with apologies to mobile device readers)
- Join a Landlords Association (the RLA and the NLA are the two largest)
- Book a place on our Landlord Law Conference
- Do some training – we have online courses and face to face workshops – as do the Landlord Associations
- Read a book. David Lawrenson’s book here is one of the best
- Sign up to get posts from this blog sent to you by email
But don’t think you can rent a property on your own with no training. If you do, its likely to cost you, dear.