Your Obligations & Legislation

Things to consider as a new landlord

October 14, 2019
Information published was correct at the time of writing

If you’re new to the buy-to-let market, preparing your property for tenants can seem like a challenging prospect. There’s no doubt that a lot of work is involved.

When preparing to let your property, it’s important that you are aware of not only your legal obligations as a landlord, but also how you intend to find suitable tenants and maintain the property.

We’ve compiled the following list to give a brief overview of the main things a landlord should consider before letting their property.

Get assessed for an EPC

These certificates are a rating system to summarise the energy efficiency of buildings in the European Union. The building is given a rating between A – G, depending on how efficient the building is.

Energy Performance Certificates are required whenever a property is built, sold or let out. All tenants must be provided with an EPC on the day they move in. When advertising your property, it is necessary for you to display the EPC.

Ensure the property is safe

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that the property is safe. This includes installing the necessary safety equipment such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. It is also a legal requirement that tenants are provided with a valid Gas Safety certificate at the start of their tenancy.

The Housing Health Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is what governs the safety of properties. HHSRS is overseen by local authorities and it enables them to inspect properties, require landlords to repair their properties and in serious cases, pursue prosecution.

The new Fitness for Human Habitation Act will also enable tenants to bring cases against their landlords for failing to provide a safe home from March 2019.

Market your property effectively

Advertising your property online has never been so important. According to a 2019 Home Let survey, 55% of respondents first found their rental property through Rightmove alone. Therefore, it’s vital for landlords to create web-friendly advertisements with high-quality photographs.

Know your responsibilities regarding a tenant’s right to rent

A government scheme – The Right to Rent, requires landlords to check that all tenants who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK. This means, that it is a landlord’s responsibility to undertake immigration checks prior to letting their property. There are plenty of helpful guides on the government website to assist landlords with this process.

Tenancy agreements

Before a tenant can move in, both parties must sign a contract. This contract should include the basic information of the tenant, landlord and property. It will also contain the proposed dates and duration of the tenancy, a breakdown of payments and the required notice periods to end the tenancy by either party.

Your tenants’ deposits

The most common tenancy agreement is “assured shorthold tenancy”, deposits collected under this type of tenancy requires the landlord to place the funds within a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). More information about these schemes can be found here. At the end of a tenancy, deposits have to be returned to the tenant within 10 days of agreeing on full return or reduced deposit.


Carrying out an inventory before and after a tenancy means you can make sure everything’s accounted for. It also lessens the chances of a deposit dispute further down the line.

This inventory should cover:

  • a comprehensive list of the normal furnishings and fittings found in a house or flat
  • the condition of carpets, walls and doors
  • the conditions of items at the start and end of the tenancy

It is recommended that each occupier of the property must sign and date the inventory as being correct. Any photographs should also be signed and dated.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords have the right to enter their property to view its “condition and state of repair”. However, the inspection must be conducted at “reasonable times of the day”, and at least 24hrs written notice must be given.


It’s important to understand what risks you face by renting your property and what protection is available if things were to go wrong.

There are different types of landlord insurance available to cover different risks.

Landlord buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your property. You can also buy landlord contents insurance to cover furniture and other items within the property in case of theft or damage.

Tenant default insurance can be taken out to cover your rent for a period of time if your tenants fail to pay.

HMO – House of Multiple Occupancy

Ensure you are aware if your property and tenants fall under being a house of multiple occupancy. There are certain standards and obligations you must meet as a landlord of a multiple occupancy property. You may also need a license from the council.

Tax responsibilities

We recommend seeking professional tax advice before taking out a buy to let mortgage. It is worth researching whether or not you want to take personal or Ltd Company ownership of a buy to let property and be sure of the different tax implications involved with both.


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