Areas to consider when you start out with your first rental property, and your role as a landlord. (Please note this deals with landlords in the United Kingdom...... different requirements will apply in different countries)
Once you have decided that the finances can be put together to allow you to buy a rental property, and you embark upon your project to build a rental portfolio, you have to realise that your role as a landlord gives you an inordinate number of plates to keep spinning together!
Don't get me wrong, being a landlord is exciting and fulfilling, and with the right advice, it can be very profitable!
With your first rental property (as part of your future rental portfolio!), you will be able to lease it out for financial gain. However, you will now be responsible for a number of legal and safety requirements.
Quite naturally, you realise that the building you have bought must be maintained by you.
In addition to the above, you are now responsible for anyone who rents your rental property.
Unfortunately, you may find that occasionally you may have to deal with tenants who are troublesome and tenants who cause damage in the property.
Legal and Safety Issues
If you are a landlord, then not only do you need to keep your property in good condition, but there are a number of legal safety and maintenance issues that you must adhere to. If you don't fulfil these duties, you will be potentially liable for any accidents that occur to your tenants whilst they are in the property.
It is obvious that a well maintained rental property will be better equipped to attract tenants and keep your property rental income returns at a healthy level.
In order to help you keep your tenants happy and safe in your rental property, and also keeping you safe from any legal problems I have noted below regulatory requirements you really must attend to:
Repair : Under the" Landlord and Tenant Act 1985" it is your responsibility to ensure the property being rented is looked after, and kept well maintained inside and outside
Furnishings: The regulation titled "The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety Amendment) Regulations 1993" is important to understand.
Faulty or unsafe furniture and fittings could result in a tenant being seriously injured or even killed. It is imperative that you check your furnishings are both fire resistant and comply with the latest regulations.
Gas safety : Under the latest regulations " The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 " it is your responsibility to ensure all gas appliances in the property are fully maintained and are covered by an annual Gas Safety Certificate which is implemented by a fully qualified Gas Engineer.
Electrical safety: the regulation "The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 "insists that all wiring, fuses and electrical equipment are working properly and not a danger to your tenants. An annual Electrical Safety Certificate, carried out by a suitably qualified Electrical Engineer will help ensure your electrical equipment is up to the standards required.
Smoke Alarms: Under "The Building Regulations 1991 - Smoke Alarms" you will find an important piece of legislation. If your property was built after 1992, smoke detectors and alarms that are mains operated must be fitted in the property. This does not mean that you should not fit smoke alarms in older properties. To ensure your tenants safety and your peace of mind, it is a requirement that, at the very least, smoke alarms (battery operated) are fitted in the "danger "areas throughout your rental property.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) : it is now a legal requirement to have an EPC carried out by a qualified person (normally a surveyor) and have the EPC displayed in your property.
Now you have carried out all the above required works, you definately can say that your rental property is ready to be rented out.!
If you do nothing else.. read below for your own sake!
It is quite obvious that should you not adhere to the legal requirements outlined above, you will be deemed to be an irresponsible landlord, and, heaven forbid, should an incident occur as a result of your negligence, the words " not have a leg to stand on" will have real meaning when you find yourself in Court facing the prospect of heavy fines and possible time in HM's rental property!
The costs to comply are not as expensive as you would think, and the resulting "peace of mind" factor makes the costs involved in making your rental property safe and legal ... a case of money well spent!
If you feel that you will not have sufficient time to properly look after your rental property and your tenants, it is quite in order to find a rental agent who has experience in all aspects of property rental.
Although a rental agent will charge a fee, if the rental agent is good, you will end up with a safe and secure property, coupled with tenants in your rental property, providing you with the rental income that you seek.