From 6 April 2007, all deposits (for rent up to £25,000 per annum) taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Landlords and agents have a choice of three schemes providers, offering two types of scheme to protect the deposit.
Money is held by the scheme until it is time for it to be repaid at the end of the tenancy. The custodial scheme is free to use. The landlord simply puts the deposit into the scheme at the beginning of the tenancy. There is one custodial scheme provider.
Under the insurance schemes the landlord keeps the deposit, and pays the insurance scheme to insure against the landlord failing to repay the tenant any money due to him. There is a choice of two insurance-based schemes.
From October 2008 EPCs (energy efficiency packs) will be required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The certificate provides 'A' to 'G' ratings for the building, with 'A' being the most energy efficient and 'G' being the least, with the average up to now being 'D'.
Accredited energy assessors produce EPCs alongside an associated report which suggests improvements to make a building more energy efficient.
As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 specifically deal with the duties of landlords to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants' use are safe. Landlords should:
- ensure installation pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition
- ensure an annual safety check is carried out on each appliance and/or flue that you provide for tenants use
- ensure maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a CORGI registered installer
- keep a record of each safety check for 2 years
- issue a copy of the safety check to each existing tenant within 28 days of check being completed and to any new tenant before they move in
- ensure all gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting
- If a managing agent is used to help the landlord in meeting their duties, make sure that the management contract clearly specifies who is to make arrangements for maintenance and safety checks to be carried out and for keeping records. However, the landlord maintains overall responsibility for ensuring duties are met, irrespective of whether a managing agent is employed
- ensure that anyone carrying out work on gas appliances/fittings and/or flues provided for tenants use has the required competence and that only CORGI registered installers are used
Imagine the type of people you want to rent your property to and then dress the place.