Rent is rising across England and Wales. The latest available data shows that rents have grown 1.12% in every region except London, where a slight drop is observed. With the market so lucrative, it has never been a better time for those with a spare property – or the cash to buy one – to get involved.
There are services available to create legally watertight documents to create the foundation for your business. The question, however, is what you need to know in the first place.
Before you even take on a tenant, it is crucial to have your house in order with regards to your advertised fees and charges. Just like when you’re looking to quickly sell a house, having your property inhabited quickly – and thus not losing money – is dependant on the information you can offer. It is legally important to know exactly what pre-tenancy document checks are required, as failure to abide could land you with civil penalties from the government. Furthermore, make sure your charges and fees are clear – whereas it is your prerogative to charge what you like, there are new regulations limited this practice. Furthermore, non declaration prior to crediting could lead to litigation against you.
Despite owning the property, landlords are constrained by a tightly regulated set of rules concerning their actions around the property. Once a legally sound tenancy agreement is signed, legislation comes into effect. Government regulation is set to focus on landlords, too, to ensure that quality of life is maintained for tenants and rogue practises are reduced. Be aware of the exact wording of your agreements and don’t make spurious use of ‘emergency access’ clauses.
Finally, a nod to health and safety. When you’re living in a private property, gas safety is entirely your own prerogative and not mandated by the government. Whether or not you check your devices are fit for purpose is your own choice. However, with rental properties, regular gas safety checking is crucial and a legal requirement. This doesn’t yet extend to electrical testing, but could in the future.
Becoming a landlord is an excellent way to earn extra income. However, it can be a legal minefield given the varying rights and contradictions between you and your potential tenants. Remain vigilant to changes in legislation and important laws, and make sure the information is always served.
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