Becoming a landlord continues to remain an attractive prospect for many. With regular income from rentals alongside future capital growth, it is easy to understand why. However, the occupation is not without its challenges. Landlords have faced a barrage of new laws and regulatory changes in the last few years, which have proved difficult to keep up-to-date with. Many landlords have turned to specialist letting agencies to aid them navigate this complicated market and rental laws.
New research has highlighted that many landlords do not know the correct, current rules for renting out rooms or entire properties, with many landlords still uneducated about issues such as giving notice before entering a property, smoke alarms and tenancy deposits.
For example, who should you send prescribed information to when the landlord takes a deposit from the tenant? According to recent research, 91 per cent of the landlords questioned did not know how to follow the right process when dealing with a tenant’s deposit.
Prescribed information is defined as the specific information in regard to the protection of a tenant’s deposit, and it must be sent to all parties which contributed to the deposit financially.
Surprisingly, the study also discovered that over half of landlords, at 51 per cent, were incorrect in their understanding of how often a gas safety certificate must be applied for.
As a landlord, you must ensure that gas safety checks are conducted on an annual basis by a Gas Safe registered engineer. After the check, you must issue tenants with a certificate to prove the inspection has taken place within 30 days.
Landlords are also required to assess the risk of exposure of tenants to the legionella bacteria. Normally, a landlord has no reason to conduct a risk assessment themselves, and they should employ a consultant with legionella training.
The research also highlighted that less than one third of landlords, at 32 per cent, had the necessary knowledge of the legal requirements for smoke alarms in their rental properties. The legal requirements are that landlords have one smoke alarm installed on each storey of their rental property.
At 82 per cent, the majority of landlords are unaware of the minimum legal size requirements of a room which can be let to an individual person. For a single adult, the room size must be a minimum of 6.51 square metres. These rules apply to HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) and rooms are legally required to be a minimum size of 10.22 square metres for a couple, and a minimum of 4.64 square metres for a child less than 10 years old.
As part of this research, landlords were quizzed on how much notice a landlord must give tenants legally before entering the rental property for a routine inspection. Just a mere 18 per cent of those questioned knew that they must provide their tenants with a minimum of 24 hours notice before requesting access to the rental property, according to the law.
Urban.co.uk, the online estate agent, conducted the research, and the firm’s director, Adam Male, when commenting on the research, explained that with a raft of even more legislation being put into effect, and existing legislation being amended, it is often difficult for landlords to remain up-to-date.
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