MAKE SURE YOUR PROPERTIES ARE LEGAL

Being organized and keeping on top of your admin is an important part of being a landlord. If you can get systemized it will make you that much more efficient and will make your life a lot easier.

My humble portfolio of 4 rentals is easy to manage and I use a basic spreadsheet to keep all relevant information up to date and easy to access.

This wasn’t always the case and back when I had a negative attitude towards property and in particular my negative equity rentals, my admin was all over the place.

It was that bad that one of my rentals wasn’t insured for a short period. Without me realizing, it wasn’t insured for over 3 years. Luckily nothing bad happened like a fire or any other serious damage. If something expensive happened with it not being insured it might have put me off property for life.

As I mentioned last week, the UK Government don’t make things easy for us Landlords and the sustained regulatory squeeze is very frustrating.

The latest legal change is that Landlords and agents will need to ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020 or from 1 April 2021 for all existing tenancies.

What this means for Landlords is that they must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested every 5 years by a qualified Electrician.

For any new tenants moving in after the 1 July 2020, us Landlords will have to provide an Electrical Safety Certificate.

Whilst reading ‘The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020’ something grabbed my attention under the ‘Enforcement’ section. Proven breaches of the Regulations can result in the local housing authority imposing a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

This means that I will personally be playing the game and getting my rentals up to date with regards to this latest regulation.

The old me would have had a good moan about this and it could have been another excuse not to continue to buy rentals going forward. The new me accepts the legal changes and will continue to be positive about the rental sector despite the UK Government.

Property Legal Obligations

  1. Ensure you have the correct tenancy agreement in-place (e.g. AST – Assured Shorthold Tenancy)
  2. House insurance – get a landlords policy and make sure all of your properties are insured – to save some money change your policy each year – I haven’t done this at all in almost two decades but it is on my radar as my OCD is starting to really kick in – an efficient way of doing this is to have one policy for multiple properties
  3. Gas safety – Gas safety check every 12 months
  4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulation – at least one smoke alarm on each storey / level – Carbon Monoxide Alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel appliances are contained
  5. Electrical Safety Certificate – ensure you are familiar with the latest Electrical Safety Standards introduced in 2020
  6. Ensure Minimum Energy Efficiency Rating (EPC) – since April 2018, the minimum rating is E
  7. Declare rental income – this is something to discuss with your accountant
  8. Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) – Place Tenants deposit in TDP within 30 days of new tenancy
  9. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) consideration – use tenancy agreements that take GDPR into consideration – it is important that Landlords process and control their tenants information in a transparent fashion
  10.  BE AWARE OF GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION – keep your eyes open for any recent changes and changes going forward

If you have rentals or are thinking about it, keep the legal side of things at the forefront of your mind. You might be ok and avoid any large penalties by staying under the radar or you might get a fine that will tear your financial world apart. The choice is completely up to the individual.

Risk it for a biscuit or be a good little Landlord.

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