Key landlord mistakes when renting to tenants

Becoming a landlord can be lucrative, however, many landlords still assume that they have little to do other than collect the rent and this can create problems. This has never been the case and increasingly the authorities are becoming more stringent when it comes to enforcing regulation that is designed to guide the actions of landlords. These are some of the key landlord mistakes when renting to tenants that should be avoided at all costs.

Not having an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property

It doesn’t seem like a particularly significant problem not to have an EPC but new rules require a landlord to provide this to tenants. Not providing an EPC could attract a significant fine and will also mean that it’s not possible to use the section 21 eviction procedure to remove tenants from the property.

Failing to provide an annual gas safety certificate

Landlords are required to ensure that a gas safety check is carried out annually on a property and that a gas safety certificate is provided to the tenants. There are obvious benefits to doing this for landlords who want to ensure the gas systems are safe. However, there are also consequences to not ensuring this takes place – if you haven’t provided a gas safety certificate then you can’t use section 21 to remove tenants. Plus, you could be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.

Poor tenant research

Many landlords underestimate just how difficult it can be to remove a tenant from a property if the relationship begins to fail. Tenant checks are essential to ensure that you’re signing a contract with a tenant who can afford to make the rent payments and who has a positive rental history. Otherwise you could face months of conflict trying to get your property back.

Failing to have a tenancy agreement

Casual arrangements just don’t work when it comes to landlords and tenants. It doesn’t matter if you’re renting to your sibling or to a friend’s child, you must always make sure that the process is properly documented. This will not only ensure that your legal rights are protected, but will help to avoid disputes because you’ll have clarity on exactly what was agreed and what the relationship is.

Not registering the tenancy deposit

We are more than a decade past the point at which it became a legal requirement to protect tenancy deposits so there is no excuse for landlords who don’t do this now. Deposits must be protected within 30 days of the money being received and the prescribed information served in the same timeframe. If not, the section 21 procedure can’t be used and tenants could sue.

Failing to comply with HMO requirements

Many landlords simply don’t realise that their property is an HMO – unfortunately this is no excuse for a lack of compliance with HMO requirements and can still result in significant fines. There are regulations to comply with and you may even need to obtain a licence. Landlords who aren’t compliant could find themselves repaying up to a year’s rent back to tenants as a result of a Rent Repayment Order, as well as paying fines.