Buying a house to let is a profitable investment that is very different from owning your own home. It’s a small business and as a landlord you have some important legal responsibilities.
As a landlord you must:
- keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
- provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- check your tenant has the right to rent your property if it’s in England
- give your tenant a copy of the How to rent checklist when they start renting from you (you can email it to them)
It’s your responsibility to:
- fit and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
- follow fire safety regulations for property in a purpose-built block of flats or for houses and property adapted into flats
Health and safety inspections
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used by your council to make sure that properties in its area are safe for the people who live there. This involves inspecting your property for possible hazards, such as uneven stairs.
If you own a property and rent it out, the council may decide to do an HHSRS inspection because:
- your tenants have asked for an inspection
- the council has done a survey of local properties and thinks your property might be hazardous
HHSRS hazard ratings
Inspectors look at 29 health and safety areas and score each hazard they find as category 1 or 2, according to its seriousness.
You must take action on enforcement notices from your council. You also have the right to appeal enforcement notices.
The council can do any of the following if they find a serious hazard:
- issue an improvement notice
- fix the hazard themselves and bill you for the cost
- stop you or anyone else from using part or all of the property
You have to pay:
- Income Tax on your rental income, minus your day-to-day running expenses
- Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do renting out property counts as running a business
- If you have a mortgage on the property you want to rent out, you must get permission from your mortgage lender.