Landlords are by law required to adhere to all properties regulations set by their local authorities, however many of these laws have recently changed and these changes may have slipped under some landlord’s radars.
One of the newest changes to landlord legislation concerning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms could leave landlords with a hefty £5,000 fine. So, whether it’s a case of simply making adjustments or completely starting from scratch, its crucial landlords ensure their property is and continues to be ‘rental ready’.
When preparing a property to hit the housing market, you need to ensure it meets all the legal requirements for buy-to-let accommodation.
All soft furnishings need to meet the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations and comply with fire safety standards. If you’re planning on renting out a furnished property, check for fire safety labels on all soft furnishings before you buy. The regulations extend beyond just sofas and armchairs to include furniture such as beanbags and upholstered headboards, so be careful not to overlook smaller items.
Landlords are required to ensure all their buy-to-let properties are in line with the Gas Safety Regulations and can face imprisonment, as well as a £20,000 fine, if you choose not to maintain your tenants’ gas appliances. As a landlord, your main gas safety responsibilities include:
- Ensuring all gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition.
- Making sure annual safety checks are carried out on each flue and gas appliance.
- Have all maintenance, installation and safety checks carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Keep a record of every safety check for at least two years.
- Send a copy of the most recent safety check to existing tenants within 28 days of the check taking place, or to any new tenant before they move in.
As a landlord, you need to ensure all electrics are safe and are regularly checked by a qualified electrician. These safety requirements stretch to both the electrical system, for instance plug sockets and light fittings, and electrical appliances. Landlords are required to supply both operating instructions and safety notices in their properties.
On top of the soft furnishings regulations, there are also other fire safety measures landlords need to comply with:
- Supply a fire alarm on each storey of the property and fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with usable fireplaces or wood burners.
- Ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working at the start of each new tenancy.
- Carry out fire risk assessments in all areas of their properties
- If the property is large, the landlord will also be required to provide fire alarms and extinguishers
Legal requirements for rental properties vary depending on their size, so it’s important that you research if there are any specific safety requirements for your rental property.
Once you’re sure your property satisfies all the legal safety requirements, you can start thinking about how you can make it attractive to prospective tenants. However, this doesn’t mean you need to kit out your property with the latest gadgets; in fact, most renters are looking for accommodation that’s practical and easy to maintain.
Decorating your property with neutral colours will tend to make it more appealing for a larger number of people, especially if you’re leaving the property unfurnished. The majority of tenants won’t be expecting to have to make any alterations, so it’s a good idea to refresh the décor at the start of each new tenancy.
Aside from giving the property a fresh lick of paint, it’s essential the accommodation has been cleaned before a new tenant arrives. You might want to consider giving the property a professional clean to ensure the property is as appealing as possible.
If your property comes with outside space, you may want to ensure that it’s as easy to maintain as possible. The majority of tenants won’t be willing to put too much effort into the upkeep of a garden which isn’t theirs, so using paving or decking could be a better alternative to grass.
When furnishing your property, it’s worth considering your target market. If you think your accommodation is more suited to families, it’s sensible to fill it with child friendly furnishings to present it as a practical space. However, if you’re aiming to attract couples, you may want to consider more of a design element to your layout.
Sometimes, the outside of a property can be just as important as the inside, especially as it determines a tenant’s first impression of a house. Simply repainting the front door and tidying up the front garden can change a tenant’s perception of a property and help get them through the door.
Aldermore offer a range of buy-to-let mortgages for a variety of properties to help both budding landlords and those with extensive property portfolios. Visit our property investment hub or get in touch with a member of our team to find our more.
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