Rights and responsibilities
You can find information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords on the GOV.UK website. The information includes:
- Top tips for landlords: Assured shorthold tenancies
- Letting your home
- Letting rooms in your home – a guide for resident landlords
- Gaining possession of a privately rented property let on an assured shorthold tenancy
There is also a general section on ‘Being a landlord’ on the GOV.UK website which covers other useful issues. Go to www.gov.uk.
Information about your legal responsibility to keep gas appliances in safe working order is available from the Health and Safety Executive’s website at www.hse.gov.uk.
Information about electrical safety obligations is available from the Electrical Safety Council’s website atwww.esc.org.uk.
Checking immigration status
From 1 December 2014, if you let private rented accommodation to a new tenant in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, you must check that their immigration status is lawful before allowing them to rent the property.
More about immigration checks by landlords
A landlords association may also be able to help you. Landlords associations include the National Landlords Association at www.landlords.org.uk and the Residential Landlords Association atwww.rla.org.uk.
Model assured shorthold tenancy agreement
The government has produced a model tenancy agreement for assured shorthold tenancies. It may be of particular use for longer tenancies of two years or more.
Landlords can choose whether or not to use the model agreement, but it is available at no cost and it comes with accompanying guidance. Both are available on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.
Private rented sector code of practice
A code of practice has been produced for landlords and agents in the private rented sector. It sets out your legal requirements.
It’s a voluntary code but a number of organisations support it. This means that if you are a member of any of the organisations which have signed up to the code, you should follow it.
To find out which organisations support the code and to look at the code itself, go to the website of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors at www.rics.org.
Complaining about a lettings or property management agency
From 1 October 2014, agencies that let or manage private rented accommodation on behalf of a landlord must belong to a government approved redress scheme for dealing with complaints.
If you have a complaint which hasn’t been resolved using the agency’s own complaints procedure, you can complain to the scheme that the agency belongs to. There are three approved schemes:
- The Property Ombudsman – further information can be found on its website at www.tpos.co.uk
- Ombudsman Services: Property – further information can be found on its website atwww.ombudsman-services.org.uk
- Property Redress Scheme – further information can be found on its website at www.theprs.co.uk.
If you aren’t living in the property you rent out, it’s important to keep the Land Registry updated of your contact address. This helps to reduce the risk of property fraud. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk