1. Your mortgage
Many mortgage agreements state borrowers need written consent from lenders before they rent out property.
Take a look at your mortgage agreement or ask your mortgage lender directly to find out whether you need consent.
2. Screening tenants
3. Written tenancy agreement
Having a signed tenancy agreement will make it easier to deal with any disputes, should they arise. Find a solicitor who specialises in landlord-tenant law for advice.
4. Energy Performance Certificate
All new rental properties in the UK now require EPCs. Rules vary by jurisdiction. For more information, read Guide to Energy Performance Certificates (England and Wales), or visit NI Direct (Northern Ireland) or Scottish Building Standards (Scotland).
5. Property license
Houses in Multiple Occupation are subject to mandatory licensing by local authorities. Again, rules vary by jurisdiction. Click on a link below for further information:
6. Local authority registration
Scottish landlords must register with their local authorities. For more information, visit Better Renting Scotland.
England, Northern Ireland, and Wales do not have mandatory landlord registration schemes, but that could change soon.
7. Gas & electrics
Landlords must maintain all gas appliances and arrange and pay for an annual safety check by an engineer certified by Gas Safe (Great Britain and the Isle of Man) or CORGI (Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands). For more information, read Gas Safety Regulations.
In addition, landlords should ensure the electrical system and all appliances are safe to use. For more information, read Guide to Electrical Safety.
8. Fire safety
All landlords must comply with UK fire safety regulations. For more information, read Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Requirements and LACORS' Fire Safety Guide.
9. Repairs, maintenance, & health and safety
Rules on repairs and maintenance vary by jurisdiction:
- For property in England and Wales, read: (1) Assured Shorthold Tenancies; (2) Repairs; and (3) Housing Health and Safety Rating System
- For property in Northern Ireland, read: (1) Private Tenancies; and (2) Repairs
- For property in Scotland, visit the Private Rented Housing Panel website and read: (1) Private Renting; (2) Repairs; and (3) if common property is an issue (e.g., you own a tenement ), Common Sense, Common Property
10. Rental deposit protection
In England and Wales, almost all deposits should be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS). For more information, visit Directgov.
Scotland passed legislation to introduce mandatory TDPS in 2006; however, the Scottish Government has delayed implementation and encouraged landlords to join a voluntary accreditation scheme instead.
Currently, there is no mandatory TDPS in Northern Ireland, but the Northern Ireland Executive recently announced it is being considered.
11. Property management companies
All of the above legal responsibilities should be dealt with before you let your property. If you do not have time to do everything, you should consider paying a property management company to do it for you.
12. Landlord Insurance
Obtain comprehensive landlord insurance to protect your property.
** Additional Information & Advice **
For comprehensive information and advice about becoming a landlord, you should seek out a solicitor who specialises in property law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.