New Year Refresher on Property Rental Regulations06 May 2016
It’s a New Year and maybe one of your New Years resolutions’ is to invest in a buy to let property. If you are thinking about becoming a landlord and maybe it’s is your first time, you need to be certain that you know the latest regulations which you have to adhere to and what’s “best practise” as a landlord.
Once you have found a great tenant, you need to keep them happy and safe, which generally means they will stay long term and that what most landlords want!
What safety precautions do I need to follow and how do I make sure that my property meets the legal requirements?
As a first time landlord, you might be surprised (possibly put off!) by the seemingly large number of regulations that you have to adhere to, both relating to yourself as a landlord and the property itself. Making sure that your property meets all the legal requirements can be quite costly to begin with but remember, many of them are “ one off costs” and its worth the peace of mind to know that your property is safe for any tenant. So what are the legal requirements:
- Annual landlord gas safety check must be completed and given to the tenant – this must be done by a qualified gas safe engineer who will check that all gas appliances within the property are safe – expect to pay around £60 for an average property.
- A mains interlinked smoke alarm system should be present in the property – this should include a mains unit in every communally used room and thorough fare in the property and a smoke alarm and heat detector in the kitchen. A qualified electrician will be able to supply and fit these for you and advise on how these can be installed with the least damage to your property – approx. £90 per unit supplied and fitted.
- A carbon monoxide detector should be present in every room which houses a gas appliance – grab one at B and Q for £20.
- All properties should have an Energy Performance Certificate available to any would be tenant and all property adverts should include an energy rating – done by a qualified assessor for around £65-80, needs done every 10 years.
- A legionnaire risk assessment should be offered to the tenant- this is a report explaining the risk level at the property of the presence of legionella bacteria in the water system, it only needs done if there is any fundamental change to something in the water system – expect to pay around £90.
- All landlords should be registered with the landlord registration database. As a landlord you must register yourself with the specific council where your rental property is located and then register your property (properties). To do this you can visit the website www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk or request a form from the office. The council make a charge of £66 to keep you listed and it should be renewed every 3 years.
Legally that’s it, but bear in mind you probably need to speak to your insurance company and your mortgage provider to check that they are OK with a tenant moving in.
Electrical safeties are not required by law in Scotland and neither are PAT tests (Portable Appliance Tests) but you might want to get them done for your own peace of mind.
Another nice touch is to supply a fire extinguisher or fire blanket to make sure you have offered them as much protection as you can offer!