Are you a landlord in the UK market? There’s many important factors to consider. One is, are your tenants happy? You’ll want to ensure that your tenants aren’t in a rush to move out, especially if they’re good ones who look after the property. If they contact you about a broken appliance, get it fixed as soon as possible.
Other factors important to being a landlord are abiding by the rules in the UK and keeping on top of any new regulations coming in. You must stay compliant when you own a buy-to-let property, and there are some rules easily missed. This blog covers 5 of the compliance rules which some landlords break without realising.
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Tenant Fees Ban
This ban ensures landlords can’t surprise tenants with unexpected costs, the full costing must be advertised. The Tenant Fees Ban came into play in June 2019 and ensures that the deposit for a rental property can’t be more than 5 weeks’ worth of rent, or 6 weeks’ if the total annual rent is above £50,000.
It bans all fees, with a few specific exceptions. These are utility and council tax fluctuations, contract addendum fees, costs where the tenant is at fault, and changes in tenancy.
Examples of fees which aren’t permitted anymore are those for references, inventory and credit checks.
If this rule isn’t abided by, and you’re passing other costs to your tenants, you could be fined up to £5,000 with civil penalties up to £30,000.
Fitness for Habitation Act
It’s not new that a landlord is responsible for making their property suitable for people to live in without hazards.
In March 2019, tenants were provided the opportunity to take action against property owners in court.
Some of the property issues which landlords overlook are:
- instability in structure
- unsafe/inadequate water supply
- draining/sewage problems
HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. The definition for an HMO before October 2018 was a home with 3 or more storeys and 5 or more inhabitants who were not related. Alternatively, it could be 2 families who share the same facilities.
Now, however, an HMO includes properties with any number of storeys. Landlords who previously didn’t need an HMO license may do after this change to the rule. If they don’t they could meet legal action like not being allowed to evict tenants.
As you may have noticed, new builds are often smaller than older houses. This is because the UK housing shortage has resulted in the average home in the UK being around 71 square meters.
Now, due to the average size of homes being smaller, there are new regulations to avoid overcrowding of tenants.
It’s illegal to let a bedroom which is too small. A bedroom which has an individual living in can’t be smaller than 6.51 square meters, and for two people it can’t be less than 10.22 square meters. If children under the age of 10 are using a room, it can’t be under 4.64 square meters.
Paperwork must be kept on file. If you need to evict a tenants using a Section 21, you need to have a valid EPC, a how to rent guide, a Gas Safety Record, the value of the tenants’ deposit and how it’s protected, a deposit protection leaflet, a deposit certificate, and an HMO license (if needed).
What about the future?
In 2020, we are going to see some more changes. People who own properties aren’t allowed to deduct mortgage interest, and the buildings must be compliant to at least a rating of E in their EPC rating. There are more rules coming in, so if you’re a landlord keep your eyes peeled to ensure you’re still compliant.
I began writing for Property Press Online in October 2019. Particular areas of interest are housing market news and new developments in the market.