As a landlord, there are certain legal responsibilities you need to shoulder, and a number of rules and regulations that you need to take into account when renting out a property. As per the law, landlords are responsible for maintaining the property, taking care of any repairs that are required, and having safety checks conducted on a regular basis.
The maintenance of the structure of the house, and the condition of its exterior falls under the responsibilities of the landlord – e.g. peeling paint, broken door knobs, and wobbly stairs are all problems that you need to fix. You will also be required to make sure that ample electricity and hot water are provided to your tenants, in addition to ensuring that the heating and sanitary systems in the house/apartment are in order.
In addition to this, there are certain special regulations that you need to bear in mind – failing to comply with these is a criminal offence. Out of these, the safety responsibilities are of prime importance. As a landlord, it is your duty to ensure the safety of your tenants, and keep the property you have rented out free of health hazards.
Ensuring the fire safety of your tenants requires you to adhere to all fire safety regulations, such as providing alternate escape routes in case of a fire, and making sure that there are ample fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers available on the property. In addition, you also need to make sure that the furniture and furnishings (basically all items containing upholstery) you provide your tenants are fire-safe; check for fire-safety labels on the furnishings you purchase for the house/apartment you plan to rent out.
Maintaining the electrical safety of the rented property is also one of your responsibilities as a landlord. Make sure the electrical wiring system of the house is in working order (this includes all light fittings, and electrical sockets) – you can have a certified electrician look it over before renting out the property, and have safety checks done at least twice a year. As a landlord, you are also responsible for ensuring that all the electrical appliances you supply are completely safe – however, you are not responsible for the appliances owned by the tenants.
Gas safety is another important matter which you need to take care of as a landlord. Make sure that all the gas fittings and flues on the property are installed by a qualified engineer, and serviced regularly in order to maintain them. An annual safety check needs to be conducted in this regard, and the record of these safety checks needs to be kept, and provided to the tenants either within 28 days of the check, or when they move in. In addition, all gas appliances should be completely safe to use and in perfect working condition. This is of utmost importance, as failure to ensure gas safety may result in the loss of life.
In addition to safety measures, landlords also need to take a number of other responsibilities into account – e.g. they need to accommodate and make adjustments for tenants who are disabled, and acquire special licenses if they wish to rent their property out as a shared house.
Along with taking care of all these factors, you need to keep in mind that if you are planning to rent out a home you did not originally intend to let, it is a good idea to get a special insurance policy for landlords – these do not cost much more than regular home insurance policies, which will not cover you completely in case of an emergency. While you must fulfill all your legal responsibilities, it is also wise to be prepared in case something goes wrong.