Being a landlord has many rewards, but navigating the legal landscape can feel like an uphill battle. One of the least exciting, yet crucially important, aspects of managing your property portfolio is staying on top of legal compliance.
This means ensuring you have the right checks and certifications in place to keep your tenants safe and avoid hefty fines, and even the risk of imprisonment.
Don't let the acronyms scare you! This blog post will break down the essential checks you need to know about, highlight the potential dangers of non-compliance, and share how a property management agent (Hi, that's us ) can take the burden off your shoulders.
Here are the key checks you need to remember:
- Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs): These mandatory checks assess the electrical safety of your property every five years. Faulty wiring poses a serious fire risk, so keeping your EICR up-to-date is crucial.
- Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs): An EPC measures your property's energy efficiency and is valid for ten years. Having a good EPC rating can attract tenants seeking energy-efficient homes and potentially reduce their energy bills.
- Gas Safety Checks (if applicable): If your property has gas appliances, they must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Leaky gas appliances can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, making this check vital for tenant safety.
- Portable Appliance Testing (PAT tests) (if applicable): If you provide electrical appliances in your rental property, they need PAT testing regularly (usually every year) to ensure they're safe for use.
Think beyond certifications:
While these checks are essential, staying compliant also involves ensuring your property meets safety standards. This includes having functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the right places and removing any non-compliant features like open bannisters, polystyrene ceiling tiles, or low-lying, single-glazed, un-toughened glass.
Ignoring your legal obligations can have severe consequences:
- Fines: Non-compliance with safety regulations can lead to hefty fines, running into thousands of pounds.
- Imprisonment: In extreme cases, neglecting tenant safety can even result in criminal charges and imprisonment.
- Tenant disputes: Unhappy tenants due to safety concerns or lack of basic amenities can lead to disputes and potential legal action.
- Invalidated Insurance: Non-compliant properties can result in your Landlord Insurance being invalidated, causing big problems in the event of a claim.
Managing compliance can be a complex and time-consuming task. This is where a property management agent can be your hero:
- We take care of everything: From arranging and managing checks to keeping records and ensuring timely renewals, we handle all the compliance hassle for you.
- We stay updated: We keep track of changing regulations and ensure your property always meets the latest standards.
- We have the expertise: We have established relationships with qualified engineers and inspectors, ensuring reliable and efficient service.
- We find solutions: If the checks fail for any reason, we put together a plan of action to promptly rectify the situation and discuss the best course of action with you.
- We give you peace of mind: Knowing your property is compliant and tenants are safe allows you to focus on other aspects of your investment.